Lance O’Brien, the longtime partner of Tanya Roberts, theorized on what may have led to her publicist telling reporters that the actress had died while being treated at Los Angeles’ Cedars Sinai for an unknown ailment.
Roberts, who is best known for her role on “That 70’s Show,” did not die, but is still hospitalized.
He said he was finally allowed to see her days after she was hospitalized. He said he thought she was “coming around,” but nurses told him she was close to death.
“I finally make it to the elevator because no one [wants] to help you out of there whatsoever — you’re in a vast hospital with no employees around — and I go down the elevator, I didn’t know where I was at and a security guard took me to find [Roberts’ publicist] Michael [Pingel].”
O’Brien recalled Pingel asking him what had happened during the visit, and he told him that he had “just said goodbye to Tanya.”
Pingel on Sunday confirmed to multiple outlets and on Facebook that the “That ’70s Show” star had died at the age of 65 after being hospitalized in Los Angeles.
However, on Monday, it was revealed that Roberts was still alive in the hospital.
“It may be just some miscommunication somehow,” O’Brien told Fox News of the reporting snafu.
“Next thing I know, I get home and on my cell phone, there’s a [notification] that Tanya Roberts passed away,” recalled O’Brien, later adding: “That’s the honest-to-God truth, exactly what happened.”
After the devastating evening on Sunday, O’Brien agreed to speak with Inside Edition about the ordeal in order to air his grievances with Cedars, but mid-interview, he got a call from the hospital.
“They want to talk to me about Tonya Roberts … I was a little pissed off, I go, ‘Well, she died. What are you talking about? She’s dead,'” he recalled. “[They said,] ‘No, she’s not dead, she’s right here.'”
O’Brien admits that he doesn’t remember much from the moment, but Inside Edition published the video interview, and his emotions are visible.
“I was, like, out of my mind,” he said.
On Monday, the publicist told The Hollywood Reporter that he “did get confirmation [of her death], but that was from a very distraught person [O’Brien].”
According to the Associated Press, O’Brien told Pingel that Roberts “seemed for him to slip away.”
On Dec. 30, Roberts had come down with a bug she thought could be coronavirus, so she set up an appointment to get tested, but at 4 a.m. the next day, O’Brien said he woke up and found her on the floor and unable to get up.
Paramedics arrived and treated her with oxygen. They take her to the hospital.
“When they get to Cedars-Sinai, that’s the last I hear from her,” he said. “They tell me she’s getting oxygen and I can’t talk to her and that I can’t come visit her because no one’s allowed in there and they don’t know if she has COVID or not.”
(He said she tested negative about 48 hours later.)
“They’ve got her in intensive care, but not ‘intensive care,'” O’Brien said. He compared the room to a cafeteria and said it was “terrible.”
O’Brien said it was difficult to get updates on her condition.
The Los Angeles Times reported that hospitals in the city have been inundated with COVID-19 cases. The report said that EMS workers have been advised to cut back on oxygen use and avoid transporting patients who have virtually no chance to recover.
Roberts had been in “perfect health,” according to O’Brien. He said she had been on a “four- or five-hour hike in Hollywood Hills” shortly before her hospitalization.
Pingel originally told The Hollywood Reporter that Roberts had been hospitalized since Dec. 24 after she collapsed while walking her dogs, though O’Brien said “there was nothing wrong with her” before her incident on New Year’s Eve, other than “some stomach problems.”
Cedars-Sinai and Pingel did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.