'Celebrity Apprentice' winner Bret Michaels: I thought I was being fired
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/24/2010
After a month of major medical problems including an emergency appendectomy, a massive brain hemorrhage, and a warning stroke that revealed a hole in his heart, Bret Michaels attended last night's live The Celebrity Apprentice finale with the goal of winning -- however he thought Donald Trump was going to fire him.
"In your heart you go out there to win," said Michaels during a Monday appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly.
"At the end of it, when he looked over -- I know his pattern from the boardroom -- he went boom, boom, boom and I went, 'Oh my god, he's going to fire me.' I'm like, 'I have a hole in my heart, this is going to be bad. I'm on medication, you can't do this to me!'"
Instead, the former Rock of Love star and Poison frontman was crownedThe Celebrity Apprentice's third-season winner when Trump decided to hire him over actress Holly Robinson Peete.
"It took me a minute. It was live TV, so I'm like, 'I'm just going to act like I won,'" said Michaels, explaining he was initially unsure if Trump told him he was hired or fired.
"It was the hardest, best work I've ever done. I was happy to do it."
Even without taking into consideration that he was readmitted to the hospital last week following the warning stroke, Michaels said he thought the subarachnoid hemorrhage he suffered on April 21 would have prevented him from attending the live finale.
"When I had the hemorrhage, I thought it was over. At that point, it was three days until I came out of the semi-coma, whatever condition I was in. It was a week later until I was up and moving and walking," said Michaels during a Monday morning appearance on NBC's Today.
"I was so happy to have been there and I set my goal on it. Then last week I had this little mini stroke and I've got to be honest, in all my life I never thought about the hemorrhage, anything."
"The doctors said, 'It's not very smart to be here,' but I'm not a very smart guy in that capacity," said Michaels on Today.
"Dr. Zabramski -- who who's been with me since the beginning -- said, 'I've got to tell you that I don't think it's a great idea that you go there. It's a high risk.' I was kidding, but I said, 'With the luck I've been having, it seems like getting out of a chair is a risk lately.' So I really knew that I wanted to be there."
Despite all of his recent medical problems, Michaels' doctors have told him that they are not connected.
"Here was the scariest part for me. When I had the emergency appendectomy, I thought, 'That's a lot of pain.' But it's an appendectomy. You get it done, you move on," he explained on Today.
"But I think the 40 years of diabetes and some complications with the wear and tear of your body's internal organs. Maybe it's a domino effect."
The latest domino to fall was the warning stroke that revealed the hole in his heart, and Michaels said that was frightening since he thought his heart was healthy.
"When I went into the hospital again this last week, the strangest thing is the last test they did was for a hole in the heart," he said on Today.
"I was sitting there and I go, 'There's nothing wrong with my heart. I'm great.' You know when you look at somebody and their eyes get all serious, they were showing me on the ultrasound the air passing through my heart. I'm like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' I laugh about a lot of things, it's how I sort of defend myself. But that was pretty scary."
Despite the fact that he's "not back 100% yet," Michaels said he's "very driven" and plans to hit the road this weekend to continue his concert tour with a stop in Mississippi.
"I don't know that I'm ready yet and I'm going to take it in baby steps. I'm going to do a show and see how it goes," he said on Today.
"I've had so many amazing fans -- generations of fans for so many years. I've got to be honest with you, I'm ready to get out of the hospital and on the road. I don't want to be back in the hospital."
Due to all of the medications he's currently taking, Michaels will have to wait until the fall to have an operation to repair the hole in his heart. In the meantime, he's happy that he was able to finish what he started on The Celebrity Apprentice.
"When I went in there to do the show, I was committed 100%," he told Today.
"There's no other way to go onto The Celebrity Apprentice because everyone there is an A-type personality, everybody wants to win for their cause. I went in there and I had no intention to hurt anybody, My intention was to do the best job I could do."