Val Kilmer is proud to call himself a cancer survivor.
While the actor known for iconic roles in Top Gun, Batman Forever and more chose to keep his health struggles private, the 60-year-old is now ready to shed some light on his battle with throat cancer.
On Tuesday morning’s Good Morning America, Val appeared in a rare TV interview where he described how he was feeling today.
“I feel a lot better than I sound, but I feel wonderful. I was diagnosed with throat cancer, which healed very quickly,” he shared with ABC News. “This is a tracheotomy to help me breathe, because the glands in my throat swelled up as well.”
When asked what he misses most about his old voice, Val replied, “That I had one! And that I didn’t laugh like a pirate.”
Before his segment aired Tuesday morning, Val took to Instagram and shared a behind-the-scenes photo from the interview.
“This will be my first television interview in nearly 10 years and the first since being diagnosed and healed from throat cancer,” he wrote online. “You may notice I sound like I have a frog in my throat. It’s not. It’s a buffalo. Though being healed from cancer, I am slowly and surely regaining my speech. As I haven’t let the adversity stifle my voice as an artist.”
Val is speaking out as he celebrates the release of his new memoir titled I’m Your Huckleberry.
Through all the highs and lows of life, Val is grateful to be healthy and to have learned some valuable lessons during his illness.
“Well, something that was reaffirmed to me—on such a level, it was almost shocking—was a sense of universal love, a kind of power and a different sense of love,” he told Men’s Health. “It was coming into my consciousness and my body while I was at the hospital.”