Giving birth should be an exciting time in a mama’s life! But for new mom Tiffany Chen, welcoming her first child with long-time partner Robert De Niro quickly took a scary turn. The 45-year-old had to go to the hospital one week after coming home with the couple’s daughter, Gia Virginia. Tiffany spoke exclusively to Gayle King about the complication, and it sounds like it was very challenging for the new mama.
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Tiffany Described Experiencing Stroke-Like Symptoms
CBS shared a preview of the interview on Thursday, giving viewers insight into what Tiffany experienced when she and Gia initially went home from the hospital. “When I went home, I started to feel like… my tongue felt strange,” she begins her story.
“It felt a little tingly, just starting to get a little bit numb,” Tiffany continued from behind a pair of oversized sunglasses that were likely meant to hide the ongoing effects of her medical condition. “And then I realized my face just felt weird. I didn’t know what the feeling was that I was having. It felt weird.”
She Immediately Noticed a Change in Her Appearance
Gayle asked the new mom what she saw when she looked in the mirror. “When I got home, it was like everything was starting to just fall down on itself. Like, my face was melting on itself,” Tiffany responded.
A week later, it became clear something was seriously wrong when Tiffany struggled to feed herself. “I went to put a fork of food in my mouth and everything came out,” she continued. “I couldn’t eat. And then I was starting to slur. So I said, ‘There’s something really going on here.’”
We can’t imagine how scary that must’ve been, especially with a new baby at home! Luckily, Tiffany’s doctor was on top of things and told her to go directly to the hospital for treatment.
Tiffany Was Quickly Admitted to the Hospital
Everything went from bad to worse once she arrived at the medical facility. “And I lost all facial function the minute I got into the hospital,” Tiffany told Gayle, who looked concerned by the visible changes in the martial arts instructor’s appearance.
Tiffany revealed she had been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a condition that causes sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face.” 1
While the exact cause remains unknown, the website notes it’s believed to be brought on by a viral infection that causes “swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face.” Other risk factors include pregnancy, with those in their final trimester or those who have just given birth being especially at risk.1
Fortunately for Tiffany, the condition usually completely resolves within six months and rarely occurs more than once.1
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We Hope Tiffany and Gia Are Doing Well
Tiffany went through a few scary weeks after giving birth. But it seems like Gia has been happy and healthy since her arrival on April 6. This was the first child for Tiffany and Robert and the seventh for the “Casino” star. We hope he told her postpartum life isn’t always this scary (if they someday want to give Gia a little brother or sister)!
Fans can watch the full interview on CBS Mornings when it airs on Friday, July 14. Until then, our thoughts are with Tiffany, and we hope she continues to recover from Bell’s Palsy.