Frasier’s Jean Smart urges fans to ‘listen to body’ after recovering from fatal heart surgery

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Jean Smart has announced she is recovering from heart surgery.

The Emmy-winning actor, known for her role as Lana Gardner in Frasier and as Deborah Vance in Hacks, shared the news with her followers on Instagram on Thursday (23 February).

It’s the first time Smart, 71, has opened up about her health issues.

Sharing a new Instagram post to mark American Heart Month, which takes place each February in the US. she urged fans to seek advice from their doctor if they suspect any health issues.

In an Instagram post, she wrote: “February is American Heart Month – a time when the nation spotlights heart health, so it feels important to share with all of you that I am recovering from a recent successful heart procedure.”

She continued: “I am fortunate to have excellent care and support from family and friends while I continue to recuperate.”

Concluding with a message of advice for her fans, Smart added: “Please listen to your body and talk to your doctor – I’m very glad I did!”

The Babylon actor was met with supportive messages from fans and friends. Queer as Folk actor John Sibilly wrote: “We love you,” with a red love heart.

“Thank you for being candid about health issues in recent posts. And that whole genius actress thing, too!” one follower added.

Another wrote: “So glad you’re recovering well! I’m a 40 year bypass survivor and still going strong.”

The Hacks star was in the middle of shooting the Emmy-nominated comedy’s debut season in March 2021 when her husband, Richard Gilliland, died unexpectedly of a heart condition, aged 71.

In December, she opened up about how she had been coping with grief, telling Rolling Stone about the loneliness of her “new life”.

“He made me laugh all the time. That’s going to be hard to live without,” she said at the time, adding that she never would’ve “dreamed” it would’ve happened “so soon”.

Jean Smart’s husband, Richard Gilliland, died unexpectedly in 2021 (Getty Images)
Jean Smart’s husband, Richard Gilliland, died unexpectedly in 2021 (Getty Images)

“I find it almost harder now, a year and a half later, because you’re kind of running on adrenaline and grief for a while, making sure your kids are OK, just getting things done,” the actor, who also appeared in 24 and Mare of Easttown, explained.

“Now, slowly, the reality of my new life is setting in, and I find that very, very, very, very sad, very lonely.”

“It’s shocking,” Smart said of his sudden death. “You hear about it happening to other people all the time, but when it happens to you, it absolutely knocks you sideways.”

Gilliland was also an actor, best known for his recurring role in 1986 sitcom Designing Women, where he met Smart, who led the series alongside Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts and Meshach Taylor.