Bret Michaels

On the night of April 21, 2010, Bret says he felt something explode in his head. Doctors discovered Bret had suffered a brain hemorrhage, a serious condition that's often fatal, and they prepared his family for the worst. But Bret, a survivor in every sense of the word, lived to share his story. In his first television interview, Bret looks back at that terrifying night and looks forward to a full recovery. Bret says there were no warning signs that something was wrong on the night he almost lost his life. At about 11 p.m., while Kristi and his daughters slept, Bret felt a sudden pain and heard a loud pop. "I've never been shot, thank God, but I can tell you this: It sounded like a small handgun went off in the back of my head," he says. "They call it a thunderclap, and I've never instantaneously had a headache like that in my entire life. The word's not even a headache. It's like a migraine times 10." Bret was rushed to the hospital. As Bret laid in the hospital bed and watched a team of 10 or 11 doctors perform tests, he says his life did not flash before his eyes. "What happened was I got very sad. I went into completely just asking God, 'You've got to let me live through this,'" he says. "I was doing a lot of asking at that point. [I thought]: 'I know I've done a lot of rotten things. I'm asking for a break here, and if you could cut me a break just this time, I promise I'll be better in the future.'" Bret says the moment he realized he might die was "surreal." "It's funny because it puts things in perspective real quickly," he says. "People say this happens, but it really happened to me. [You think about] your immediate family, your kids, your best friends. At that point, you're not thinking about anything else." When Kristi, Bret's on-and-off girlfriend for more than 16 years, heard the prognosis, she says she couldn't imagine her daughters growing up without their dad. "It was horrible," she says. Raine, Bret's 9-year-old daughter, says she was scared her dad might die. "All these memories were just flashing through my head of him...the first time onstage with him, the first time singing in the mic with him, the first time playing basketball," she says. "To think that my dad wouldn't be growing up with me, and my dad wouldn't be walking me down the aisle for my wedding, it was just really heartbreaking." The love of family and friends helped Bret pull through. "It gave me this unsinkable strength. It gave me this amazing courage to want to survive," he says. "I'm one of those guys who truly believes in mind over matter." For three days, Bret drifted in and out of consciousness before his condition began to improve. But, even on these dark days, Bret stayed true to himself. In true rock star fashion, he wore his signature bandanna while confined to a hospital bed, hooked up to countless wires and tubes. "It's like Superman without the cape. I said: 'If I'm going out, I want to go out rockin'. All right?'" Bret says. "If I've got to go, I said, 'Leave the boots on, some form of the bandanna and a cape ... not in that hospital gown, no matter what happens.'"

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