Kaley Cuoco was nervous to call Big Bang Theory creator after nearly losing her leg in ‘serious’ horse accident

Actor had just started playing Penny on the hit series when the incident occured

Annabel Nugent
Tuesday 06 June 2023 07:43 BST
The Big Bang Theory season 12 trailer

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Kaley Cuoco has recalled a “horrible” horse accident she suffered when she had just started filming The Big Bang Theory.

Cuoco played Penny on the hit comedy series, which ran for 12 seasons from 2007 to 2018.

The actor was 22 and had just begun starring in the series when she suffered a riding injury.

She recalled the details of her accident during an appearance on the SmartLess podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett.

“It was a very bad accident,” Cuoco, 37, told the trio of hosts.

Speaking about the surgery she had, she added that “it was really serious” and that she had to “go under” anaesthesia.

Cuoco said she had to “sign” papers, agreeing that she would not sue if the doctor amputated her leg during the operation.

“Luckily I came out and I [was fine],” she said, adding that the first thing she did when she woke up was check to see if her leg was still attached to her body.


The Flight Attendant star went on to explain that the injury was a compound fracture, in which two bones – the tibia and fibula – came out of her lower leg after the horse stepped on her.

She said: “When [the horse] stepped on me – and I remember clear as day, cause it takes a second when something is that bad – I was like, ‘Did I just fall on a whole [pile] of leaves?’ because I heard all the cracking.

“It took me like five or 10 seconds to actually realise it wasn’t just 400 leaves, it was my bones.”

(CBS Television Distribution)

After the surgery – which left Cuoco with pins and rods in her leg – the actor had been nervous to call The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre to tell him she wouldn’t be able to walk for three months.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Within two weeks, however, she was “back to work”, said Cuoco, adding that her speedy recovery had been “miraculous”.

Cuoco went on to divulge she still has some “good scars” from the accident, stating that it makes “you feel like you’re bada**”.

Cuoco starred in The Big Bang Theory with Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Simon Helberg.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in