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Whoopi Goldberg Recounts Saving Her Mother's Life From Attempted Suicide As A Young Child

Whoopi Goldberg Recounts Saving Her Mother's Life From Attempted Suicide As A Young Child

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Thank goodness for Whoopi Goldberg‘s incredible bravery and quick thinking when she was just a little kid.

The View co-host is set to release her groundbreaking autobiography next Tuesday. In Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me, Whoopi will recount much of her early life growing up in public housing in New York City alongside her brother Clyde and her mother Emma Johnson.

In the book, of which the US Sun received an advance copy, Whoopi — whose real name is Caryn Johnson — revealed stories about how the family was dirt poor in NYC. She and Clyde grew up in public housing, and they always struggled for money. But rather than go on welfare, their mother insisted she work as a nurse to provide for the family.

Related: Whoopi Defends Princess Catherine’s Photoshop Fail, But…

Tragically, one day when Whoopi was in elementary school, she came home in the afternoon after class to find her mom looking “disheveled,” as she wrote in the autobiography. Emma was wearing only a slip dress and a black trench coat, and was barefoot in the house. Whoopi wrote that Emma was “muttering incoherently” at the time, and hadn’t realized that her school-age daughter had gotten home from class.

What happened next was truly terrifying: her mother walked over to the kitchen’s oven and attempted suicide. The 68-year-old television star wrote:

“I watched as she went over to the oven, turned it on, and put her head in there. I was old enough to know this was really bad news. I ran over and grabbed her around the waist and pulled her out.”


So, so scary. Thankfully, Whoopi indeed managed to pull her out. Then, she called the police, and first responders came and wheeled Emma away on a gurney for treatment.

Sadly, the tragedy doesn’t end there. After Emma was taken to NYC’s Bellevue psychiatric hospital, the two children were pawned off to other family members for care and didn’t see their mom for more than two years. And when they finally saw her again, she wasn’t the same person. Whoopi writes in the book that Emma had undergone a significant and prolonged set of electric shock therapy treatments at the request of her estranged husband. Then, when her mom eventually returned home, both Whoopi and Clyde couldn’t understand for a long time why she didn’t seem like the same person, until they eventually got old enough years later to realize what she’d gone through.

Ugh. So, so sad. Her mom went on to live a long life before dying in 2010 of a stroke. Whoopi’s brother Clyde died five years later, in 2015, of a brain aneurysm. Like we said, Whoopi’s autobiography Bits and Pieces is set to be released next Tuesday — and it will look at her grief following their deaths, and her memories of them during their lives.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to

[Image via Whoopi Goldberg/Instagram/Joseph Marzullo/WENN]

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May 01, 2024 14:36pm PDT