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Emilia Clarke Pauses Fan Selfies After Being Approached Mid-Panic Attack

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Emilia Clarke is taking a much-needed break from selfies with her fans

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is speaking out after being approached by a fan asking for a selfie with her while she was having a panic attack.

During an interview with Jessie Ware on the Table Manners podcast, Clarke opened up about the incident, saying it’s changed her outlook and willingness to take pics with fans. “I was genuinely walking through an airport and I suddenly started having what I can only believe to be a panic attack brought on by complete exhaustion,” she said. “I was on my own, I was on the phone to my mum saying, ‘I feel like I can’t breathe, I don’t know what’s going on.'”

She continued: “I’m there and the tears are coming out. I’m crying and crying, this guy’s like, ‘Can I get a selfie?’ And I was like, ‘I can’t breathe, I’m really sorry. Just having a minute.’ It was after a few moments like that where I was like, ‘I don’t know how to do this.’”

The actress, who recently starred in the box office hit movie Last Christmas alongside Henry Golding, hasn’t been shy about her past struggles. During the filming of Game of Thrones, Clarke suffered two aneurysms. “The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain,” she wrote in a piece for The New Yorker. “I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture.” She underwent brain surgery and extensive therapy in order to recover.

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Clarke has admitted in the past her sudden rise to fame after playing Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO hit series brought on anxiety. “I like human interaction. I value it, I appreciate it. It’s what makes me feel happy. So when that is taken away with someone looking at you in a different guise, it can be incredibly difficult,” she said. “It can be anxiety inducing.”

The exchange during her panic attack has forced the star to reevaluate how she interacts with fans moving forward. Though she’s understandably taking a break from constant fan selfies, she’s still looking forward to signing autographs for fans when appropriately asked.

“When you do that, you have to have an interaction with that person, as opposed to someone just going, ‘Oi, give us a selfie, goodbye,’” explained Clarke, saying she is looking for the connection with her fans as much as they are. “Then you have a chat and you’re actually having a truthful human-to-human thing, as opposed to it being this other thing that probably isn’t nice for them and isn’t nice to you.”