The actor, who was born two months early, revealed that his health condition lasted until he was about a year old.
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Penn Badgley is opening up about how a childhood health scare forever changed his perspective on life and parenthood.

The actor, who returns as the villainous Joe in season 4 of You next month, recently revealed that he was born two months premature and required his mother to resuscitate him "multiple times a day" during the first year of his life.

"My heart and lungs would stop," Badgley said on a new episode of the HypocondriActor podcast, explaining that doctors routinely rendered lifesaving aid to him "for the first couple of weeks" after his birth but that his mother had to learn "how to resuscitate me, like, viscerally" once he was ready to be sent home. 

Actor Penn Badgley visits the SiriusXM Studios on January 8, 2020 in New York City.
Penn Badgley says his heart and lungs would stop multiple times a day during the first year of his life.
| Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

"I was on a monitor that would just beep very loudly," he told hosts Sean Hayes and Priyanka Wali. "[The doctors] basically said, like, 'This will happen immediately, so you're going to have to [resuscitate him],' and [it occurred] until about [the age of] 1."

He added that his cousins often tell stories about how they would literally bring him back to life during that time. "I would be in the back seat, you know, in a car seat hooked up to the monitor, and it would go off, and all anybody had to do is just touch me," Badgley recalled. "Just human touch would wake me up."

Eventually, his condition "faded away," but Badgley said he's interested in revisiting that period because of the effect it had on him. "I'm extremely sensitive to touch," he explained. "I just noticed that in my life, and I realized later that it's probably pretty significant."

It has also impacted how he views death. "Death doesn't scare me," he said. "That sounds weird to say, but... there's some aspect to that where I feel like there's a gravity to the earliest experiences I had... like, I can have a mode that is very solitary and meditative."

Now, as the parent of a 2-year-old son, Badgley has come to see his ailment from an entirely new vantage point. "I started to think throughout the first year [of my son's life], like, if that was me, I was constantly flatlining," he said. "You have so much personality and consciousness going on even by the time you're a couple of months old, but especially a year old."

And, he realized, it might have left a larger impression on his life than he'd originally thought. "Thinking of my toddler now, I realize it actually did affect me. It affected my sense of what life is like, what life is not like," he said. "My toddler is so joyful, and I think I might've been too, but it would mark him."

Listen to Badgley discuss his health in the podcast above.

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