Sharon Stone ''lost everything'' and felt ''forgotten'' after suffering a stroke.

The 61-year-old actress experienced a huge health scare in 2001 and was treated in a ''brutally unkind'' way by a number of people in the aftermath and admitted it took her ''about seven years'' to fully recover at a time when she was also stricken by professional and personal loss.

Sharon - who has become an advocate for brain-aging diseases that disproportionally affect women - said: ''This is why I do it: My mother had a stroke. My grandmother had a stroke. I had a massive stroke -- and a nine-day brain bleed.

''People treated me in a way that was brutally unkind.

''From other women in my own business to the female judge who handled my custody case, I don't think anyone grasps how dangerous a stroke is for women and what it takes to recover -- it took me about seven years.''

Sharon received visitation rights to her son Roan, now 19, in 2004, a year after splitting from husband Phil Bronstein, and also had to remortgage her house in the wake of suffering her stroke.

On the losses she experienced, she added: ''[From] trying to keep custody of my son to just functioning -- to be able to work at all.

''I was so grateful to [LVMH head and now the second-richest person in the world] Bernard Arnault, who rescued me by giving me a Dior contract. But I had to remortgage my house. I lost everything I had. I lost my place in the business. I was like the hottest movie star, you know?

''It was like Miss Princess Diana and I were so famous -- and she died and I had a stroke. And we were forgotten.''

The 'Basic Instinct' star - who also has Laird, 14, and Quinn, 13 - was given just a 1% chance of survival because she didn't seek treatment right away so has urged other women to go to hospital if they experience a ''really bad headache''.

Speaking to Variety at a Women's Brain Health Initiative event earlier this week, she said: ''If you have a really bad headache, you need to go to the hospital.

I didn't get to the hospital until day three or four of my stroke. Most people die. I had a 1% chance of living by the time I got surgery -- and they wouldn't know for a month if I would live.

''No one told me -- I read it in a magazine.''