The actress, whose new novel I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughtswas released today, visited Watch What Happens Live and revealed that she wished she had sued CBS after the incident, which she said “practically killed” her.
“I didn’t do it out of fear and anxiety, so don’t ever let fear rule your life. I have long-standing injuries from that,” she said. “I wished I had listened to my dad, who said, ‘You’re gonna wanna do this.’ And we’re not the suing family, but when you’re practically killed…”
Chenoweth joined the CBS drama in 2012 and was set to star as a recurring character when she was struck by a piece of lighting equipment while filming a scene in Brooklyn. Following the accident, Chenoweth announced her departure from The Good Wife due to her injuries.
“I heard, like, a flagpole sound. I literally heard, ‘We’re losing the light.’ I heard, ‘Action.’ And I woke up at Bellevue [Hospital],” she told host Andy Cohen. “It hit me in the face and it threw me into a curb. Seven-inch skull fracture, hairline [fracture], and teeth and ribs.”
While she was treated on set by the show’s medical staff until EMS services arrived, Chenoweth noted that she actually received life-saving aid from a very unexpected source.
“My hair extensions, you know, made the hairline fracture go together. My doctor said, ‘What are these metal things?’ And I said, ‘They’re hair extensions.’ And he said, ‘They saved your life,'” she joked. “So, anyone who wants to get hair extensions should, for your health.”
Chenoweth previously discussed the accident in the 2022 essay collection My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves, in which she said she didn’t take legal action at the time because she didn’t want it to negatively affect her career.
“I was advised by a couple of folks on my team and outside of my team too that it would be unwise to attempt to hold CBS accountable for what was clearly their responsibility,” she wrote, per an excerpt obtained by Marie Claire. “I was told that I’d never work again if I sued a major network. And that scared me. I let fear take over and did what so many people do — especially women — in the face of going up against someone or something more powerful than they are. I shrunk.”
She continued, “I’m telling my story about what happened, and I really don’t care if CBS never hires me again. They knew I was hurt really badly, but they exploited the power they held over a person like me. I’m a working actor — keyword working. Unfortunately, the powers that be at CBS at the time did not take responsibility for what happened to me, but there’s a new regime at the network and they’re just lovely to work with. Leadership matters. Full stop.”