By Susan Stackpole
Rocker, Father, Lover, Apprentice, and Superman Bret Michaels is the poster child for defying the odds. Michaels’ big heart and love for his family motivated him to survive a life-threatening brain hemorrhage and champion a recently diagnosed hole in his heart. Michaels’ sheer determination brought him through a situation that results in death for most people. Michael triumphed and was recently crowned winner of The Celebrity Apprentice.
Bret Michaels, born Bret Michael Sychak, March 15, 1963 in Butler, PA rocketed to fame as Poison’s lead singer with the ’80’s rock ballad, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. Michaels, diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, disclosed his diabetic condition when press accused him of a drug addiction. Michaels went on to participate in various television projects, including being a judge on Nashville Star and headlining in several seasons of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, where women competed to win Michaels’ affection. When asked about fourth season for Rock of Love, Michaels referenced his on again off again girlfriend, Kristi Lynn Gibson, with whom he parents daughters, Raine Elizabeth Sychak (10) and Jorja Bleu Sychak (5). Michaels revealed, “If Kristi and I can’t work things out, and a year or two from now that’s where it goes, then awesome. If it isn’t, my acting skills are limited. I don’t want them scripting who I like and don’t like.”
Michaels’ film work includes A Letter from Death Row, for which he joined with Charlie Sheen creating the production company Sheen/Michaels Entertainment. They also produced No Code of Conduct,Free Money, starring Marlon Brando and Mira Sorvino, and In God’s Hands, in which Michaels had a small role. Michaels appeared in an episode of Yes, Dear and three episodes of The Chris Isaak Show. He later appeared on a special episode of Don’t Forget the Lyrics, during which he raised $200,000 for charity.
Recently crowned The Celebrity Apprentice by Donald Trump, Michaels was greeted to a standing ovation during the live finale of The Celebrity Apprentice. Michaels appeared despite medical warnings that it was unsafe for him to travel to attend the Apprentice finale so soon after his brain hemorrhage and within weeks of surviving an emergency appendectomy. Michaels claimed he was determined to be there to win the challenge for his charity, raising money for diabetes patients. Michaels joked to Trump that he’d take a vote any way he could get it since his competitor, Holly Robinson Pete, was playing the hotness card by wearing a “baby-making dress”. Robinson Pete’s son cheered for Michaels’, telling his mother he loved her though was routing for Michaels to win. Joan Rivers, comedienne, consumed by compassion, expressing she felt Michaels earned the winner vote on sheer emotion.
Michaels is famous for his trademark bandana, which he rocked throughout his medical challenges. Numerous celebrities, including Regis Filbin and Kelly Ripa referenced that he was wearing the bandana as seen in the official photo released of Michaels’ hospital stay. Michaels said it was like Weekend at Bernie’s, and that they were propping him up because he was so highly sedated. Michaels gifted Trump a personalized bandana, telling Entertainment Weekly, “I bedazzled it myself. He’s set up; He’s got it all ready to rock.”
Michaels was in the midst of filming Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, when his recent medical conditions occurred. The show depicts an inside view of Michaels’ life in Scottsdale, Arizona with his daughters, Raine and Jorja, and their mother, Kristi. A preview will air 31 May on VH1 with filming resuming in the fall. Michaels stated, “These are the roses and thorns of my entire life. It’s life on the road, life with my daughters, my on-and-off relationship with Kristi, and you see it unfold. I have a fun, crazy, up, down family life as well, and no one has really seen it.”
Michaels’ has held numerous interviews regarding his recent ordeal. Michaels describes the hemorrhage as feeling like being shot in the head. Michaels repeatedly credits a guardian angel for helping him defy the odds stating his experience has definitely given him new appreciation for his life. Michaels, when asked about his recent experiences spoke about his changed outlook, sharing, “As painful as this experience has been, I was given a second chance, right? I don’t want to sit around every night worrying this is going to happen again. What I want to do is make a positive bucket list and say, ‘I’m just gonna go for it.’ There’s just so much more I want to do and experience.”