Jeremy Renner Covers the July/August Issue of MEN’S HEALTH Magazine!

Posted on June 26, 2024

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Jeremy Renner broke over 38 bones on January 1, 2023, when he was run over by a large snow plow weighing over 14,000 pounds. That’s not counting severe injuries to his lung, liver, ear drum, and eye, among various other vital organs and limbs.

But somehow, around a year-and-a-half after being afflicted by immense trauma that any man would struggle to rebound from, the 53-year-old is back from the dead and stronger than ever before. Featured on the cover of the July/August issue of MEN’S HEALTH, the Mayor of Kingstown and crossbow-carrying Avenger explains in detail how he found the strength and grit to recover from the accident that actually sort of killed him. Plus, in his episode of the Men’s Health “Gym & Fridge” video series, Renner  shares how his recovery has impacted his diet (lots of protein) and his workout routing (everyday is leg day), and how he has stayed so mentally strong. through it all.

 

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On recollections of his January 2023 accident, which pulled his body under the weight of his 14,000-pound snow groomer:

“It undulates, because there’s four sections of tires with these metal tracks—it pulls it like a tank. I remember every undulation. I remember my head cracking on the thing and it just pressing on me—it’s exactly like you think it would feel. An immovable object and a crushing force, and something’s gotta give. But thank God my skull didn’t fully give. And then it kept going. Undulate, undulate, undulate, undulate. Cheekbone broke, eye socket broke, and then from the crushing of getting run over by the machine, my eye bulged out. I could see my left eyeball with my right eyeball. I was screaming for a breath. I needed to shove all my energy of air out just so I could suck air back in. There was no breathing happening. It was a muscle I had to use to press, and it’s hard to use your stomach muscles when you have 14 broken ribs and a popped lung. I don’t know this at the time—I just needed to get air. I was going through the checklist of my body, figuring it the f*ck out. The first five minutes were about how I’m going to breathe… I started getting really tired. My heart rate’s going lower, lower, lower. Huooohohh, huooohohh, just this exhaustive breathing for 45 minutes. But with the exhaustion there was almost peace. The EMTs arrived and I thought, I have to give my body up to them, because I’m cooked. I’m not getting up. These aren’t just cramps. I’m not gonna walk back down the driveway to see my family.”

On the hours and days following the accident:

“What a f*cking disaster, dude. Showering, going to the bathroom—everything was a disaster. Whooooooooo! They give you medications so you don’t go to the bathroom, so you get constipated. And you pee in a jar. It was awful. That’s when you know things aren’t going great—you’re peeing in a plastic jug. It took me 17 minutes to get out of bed. I was happy to sometimes sit up and push myself into a chair and move a little bit. But a shower—everything took like half a day. I couldn’t get stuff wet. Your hair gets super greasy and gross and you stink, but I had all these staples I couldn’t wet, and I wasn’t going to f*cking risk infection. So I had sponge baths.”

This is what he does, how he thinks. He devises ways to view his situation from unexpected angles, angles that might be helpful to him. He thinks his way out of thoughts, changes his point of view, trains his brain to take left turns.

“I have to get better than I was today. That’s all that f*cking matters. I’m not setting a high bar here.”

On being introduced to all kinds of religions by his father, a theologian, while he was growing up:

“I tried ’em all. I was in the tent with snakes. I was at Mormon summer camps. Little bit of everything. It’s not for me, but at least I got all that information.”

On exposing himself to fears in an attempt to crush them:

“I made them tangible so I could own them and they wouldn’t own me.”

On why loss is no longer on his list of fears:

“I realized you can’t fear loss. You can mourn loss. You should fear not being able to mourn loss. If you don’t feel bad after the loss, then you didn’t spend the time to connect with the person. Shoulda, woulda, coulda—fear that. Dive more into people. Love them fully. Don’t dip your toe in sh*t.”

On how he thinks, a bit of Buddhism which has become a mantra for him since the accident:

“The only thing we can control in our lives is our perspective.”

On seeing his family when he regained consciousness while he was in the hospital”

“When I got conscious, my family was there, squeezing my toes and sh*t. I woke up and they’re all at the foot of the bed, and I signed that I was sorry. I said give me a pencil—I was fully intubated, got the giant hose in me—I wrote, ‘Holy f*ck. I’m so sorry. I love you all so much.’ Seemed like a weird thing to say, but that was the driving energy of me waking in the first place, brother.”

On the deep love running through his big, big, big, big family:

“I can say I’m f*ckin’ sorry, and they know what I mean. They’re just as gangster for me as I would be for them. They’ll murder people for me, my family. I got a stronnnnng, deep-love-running family, and it’s even deeper now… I’m not letting anybody get hurt on my watch. That’s why I put my f*ckin’ own life on the line for my nephew. I’m not gonna let that thing f*cking crush him! F*ck. That. Not happening. I couldn’t live with that. If it was the other way around, if I didn’t get back on that thing and then it crushed him? [He shakes his head, sounds almost pissed off.] Mm-mmm. I would not be a good man right now. I would not be a good man. I’d be f*cking haunted. Can you imagine? But also, I didn’t do it knowing I’d get hurt, man. I figured, No problem, I got this. I’ll just dive across these tracks, shut off a button, piece of cake!”

On whether the Avengers actors are truly are as close as they seem to be on social media:

“Oh, f*ck yeah, it’s a real thing—it’s not just for Instagram. We f*ckin’ hate that sh*t. No, we have a family chat and have for a long time. When you work with people—look, we all went through a culturally significant experience together. And there’s divorces and marriages and babies; a lot of stuff happened in these 12 years. In the films, we look like we’re at a costume party, and there’s ridiculous props and we’re doing these ridiculous things, but it’s also beautiful because we’re all connected. There’s a brotherhood or sisterhood or whatever the heck you want to call it. I just call it love. I love every one of them. I’d rather go to jail with Downey than go do something amazing by myself. I’d rather get in a car crash with Evans.”

Of his workouts with trainer Cat Cantella:

“Four months of abuse. Physical, mental, emotional. But I feel great and I look great!”

On the first day filming the new season, in a cemetery where it didn’t get above 40 degrees:

“I was pretty f*cking fragile when we started on January 8. We’re walking around on ice, and I have no energy. I was falling asleep. But I think it’ll be the best season yet because of it. Don’t get me wrong, Mike’s still Mike—he’s still the guy you want as your friend. But it’s more emotional, because I’m more emotional. Because, dude, the last thing I wanted to do—to be honest with you, I almost pulled shoot and doing this show—was fiction. Like, Oh wait, I don’t give a sh*t about fiction! Bullsh*t words and bullsh*t stories and bullsh*t character. It’s all bullsh*t. I gotta live in real reality here, because these bones and these joints—and I gotta go say fake lines and fake words and pretend to be . . . what? I got no time to f*cking pretend, man! So here’s how I shifted it, because I only have control of my perspective: I’m coming to Pittsburgh to recover in my body and get better every f*cking day, and I’m gonna do this show on the side. Instead of it being the other way around.”

On taking one step, one breath, at a time:

“Look, I’m 53. I’m on the downslide of trying to gain muscle. You get atrophy, testosterone level’s at 300, no growth hormone in me at all—everything’s going on a downslide. Protein helps with the muscles, so I’m on a higher-protein diet. The more strength I have, the more energy I have to keep going. People ask how. How do you do this? You just put in the work, man. Love yourself; be confident in yourself. How do you find confidence? You take one step, then you take another step, and then guess what, Hot Sauce? You’re walking! You know what I mean? You breathe out, then you breathe in, then you breathe out. Well now you’re breathing!”

On being better receiving love than he was before the accident:

“I’m a tough guy to love, I think? And I think my family and people put all that aside. There’s a lot of people that love me. And I had no idea. I had to learn how to receive all this love, and it’s not easy. From people you don’t even know, even. Why is this accident such a thing? But then I said, F*ck, stop asking why. Just receive it. I was famous for having a bow and arrow; now I’m famous for overcoming something as a man.”

On what he remembers about dying:

“Let this body die. Trust me: It was way better being out of it. Being dead. [laughing] But I’m glad I’m here, and I’m going to keep feeding what you take with you: those shared experiences with those you love. It’s eternal, and you take it with you. It’s connected. There’s no time, place, or space. It’s magnificent. It’s the mind’s eye. Not your vision. You don’t need vision—you’re dead. Vision is part of the stupid body thing. But the mind’s eye you take with you. You see in your mind—that’s being dead. That’s what it’s like being dead. What you can visualize with your eyes closed. It’s awesome. It’s awesome! And by the way, everyone’s in it! It’s what your imagination is. It was joy. It was exhilarating peace. Exhilarating peace. You’re connected to everything all at once. All the love from the third-grade teacher you fell in love with to the everything all at once. All that’s there. Continual. Perpetual. In perpetuity. It’s infinite. It’s magnificent.”

 

The July/August issue of Men’s Health featuring Jeremy Renner hits newsstands nationwide on July 2.

 

[Photo Credit: Benedict Evans for Men’s Health Magazine]

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