Val Kilmer seems to be on the mend from his mysterious health condition.
The Top Gun actor, 57, made his first red carpet appearance in almost two years on Thursday night, attending W magazine’s pre-Golden Globes party at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. Most notable about his arrival is that he wasn’t wearing a scarf, which has been his staple accessory since late 2014 — around the time he started suffering from an undisclosed illness.
At the magazine’s big bash, Kilmer didn’t try to stand out with his attire, dressing in neutrals — black, gray, and white. The star of The Doors also looked on the thin side (though his weight has famously fluctuated through the years).
Rumors about Kilmer’s heath started swirling in late 2014. After he lost a tremendous amount of weight, he was hospitalized in January 2015 after he began bleeding from his throat. At the time, his rep said he was being tested for a possible tumor, but he later denied that, posting on Facebook, “I have not had a tumor, or a tumor operations, or any operation.”
However, Kilmer continued to wear scarves — and sometimes masks — during outings and public appearances. During a trip to a grocery store in December 2015, the scarf he was wearing around his neck slipped, revealing a tracheostomy tube. He routinely denied there was anything wrong, though. (In June 2015, he wrote on Facebook, “I am perfectly well folks… I do not have cancer or a tumor.” Four months later, after he was reportedly in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center, he posted on Facebook, “There’s a rumor that I’m unwell again and in hospital which is untrue. I was in to verify I have no tumor or infection of any kind.”) It was rumored that he wasn’t getting treatment for his illness due to his Christian Scientist beliefs, but he denied that as well.
Amid the drama, he stopped making red carpet appearances. One of the last we could find was in September 2015, when he attended the black tie inaugural dinner for the museum The Broad wearing a pink kerchief.
Michael Douglas actually got rumors swirling again just months ago. During an interview in October, the Oscar winner said his co-star from The Ghost and the Darkness had tongue cancer, which Douglas himself beat in 2011. “Things don’t look too good for him,” the Wall Street star said. Kilmer immediately denied Douglas’s claims, calling him “misinformed.” He later said Douglas reached out to apologize.
In November, Kilmer’s struggles were public when he attended a screening of the film version of his play Citizen Twain in Los Angeles. According to reports, he was slurring his words, dabbing at his mouth, and at times gasping for breath during a Q&A with the audience. Kilmer, who skipped a scarf for that appearance, also told the crowd that he was “still recovering” and that his tongue was still swollen from his illness.
Kilmer’s promotion of the Citizen Twain movie also stirred up rumors in December. A tabloid reported that he looked especially sickly while in San Diego, and, fed up, he took to Facebook again to set the record straight. “I’ve said many times … I have no cancer,” insisted the star, who noted that he made three movies in 2016. “And I’ve written this and said this because it’s true, many many times. Lord.”
He ended with, “There’s no story here folks. I swear to God.”
Perhaps Kilmer’s new MO is instead of telling the world he’s doing all right, he’s going to show the world. Well, that’s what he did last night on the red carpet at the W magazine bash.