The NCIS star was confronted by a "very psychotic homeless man" who threatened to kill her near her Hollywood home last year. David Merck was subsequently arrested and charged two felony counts of making a criminal threat and false imprisonment by violence.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently awaiting trial.

Pauley credits her work with the homeless community for giving her the skills she needed to handle herself in the situation - and stay alive.

"There were a lot of feelings and a lot of emotions, but I feel like at the end of it all, as strange as it sounds, if that incident had to happen in the universe, I feel like it had to be me," she tells People magazine. "I feel like it was supposed to be me somehow because I have a lot of experience working with the homeless, working with the mentally ill."

The 47-year-old actress has been working to get through the "extremely traumatic" event, and credits her "faith" for helping her deal with what happened.

"I think whatever the circumstances are, when you almost get killed, when someone almost kills you, and you're alive, and you walk away, it really gives you a lot of perspective," she says.