Arnold Schwarzeneggers tragic struggle with critical surgery: ‘Couldnt see way back

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Tonight, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in the iconic 1990 classic Total Recall, which airs at 10.45pm on ITV. Also featuring Sharon Stone, the science-fiction thriller follows construction worker Douglas Quaid, who has been suffering from a series of harrowing visions about Mars. He soon finds out that the mysterious planet may actually hold the key to his true identity.

At the time of its release, Total Recall was heralded for its storytelling and special effects, the latter of which claimed an Academy Award in 1991.

It is among the most expensive films ever made and is as a result is considered responsible for the rise in movie costs.

It could be argued it was a price worth paying, as reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes named it among its 300 essential films to watch, while it was also listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

The film cemented Schwarzenegger’s status among Hollywood’s elite, and at the time he was among the biggest box office draws.

His appearances in the Terminator franchise, as well as Predator series, cemented his stardom, while he later showed his range by working in comedies such as Twins and Kindergarten Cop.

While his career has been celebrated, Schwarzenegger has spoken passionately about his health, and the pressure he endured as a former professional bodybuilder.

This included in 2018, when in an interview with CNN, the Golden Globe winner discussed how he felt after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery to replace a pulmonic valve.

He said: “I underwent open-heart surgery this spring, I had to use a walker.

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“I had to do breathing exercises five times a day to retrain my lungs.

“I was frustrated and angry, and in my worst moments, I couldn’t see the way back to my old self.”

The 75-year-old has often spoken candidly about his health, particularly during the early part of his career when he was a bodybuilder and weightlifter.

Schwarzenegger won four Mr Universe titles, as well as seven Mr Olympia crowns, a record until Lee Haney won eight in a row in 1991.

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His exploits in competition were highlighted during a 2016 interview with Hello Giggles, where the Austrian-born legend discussed how he would still do at least 30 minutes weightlifting a day.

He said: “When I looked in the mirror, I threw up. And I was already so critical of myself, even when I was in top physical shape.

“I’d look in the mirror after I won one Mr Olympia after another and think, ‘How did this pile of s— win?'”

Sadly, Schwarzenegger even admitted to “never seeing the perfection” of his physique.

He added: “There was always something lacking.

“I could always find a million things wrong with myself and that’s what got me back into the gym — because I started out with that mentality.”

However, Schwarzenegger explained that by exercising and keeping in his routine, he was able to take back control of his confidence.

This, he described, helped him both physically and mentally: “I do lack confidence, but I do the reps and do them enough that the thing itself will be doable when it’s time.

“When I was competing at bodybuilding, I did so many hours of reps — on the weights, practising the poses — that when I got onstage, I was comfortable and confident.”

Total Recall airs from 10.45pm on ITV tonight.

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