The Modern Family actress, 28, recently revealed in an interview with SELF that she underwent a second kidney transplant last year after the first one, donated from her father in 2012, failed. This time, her 23-year-old brother Ian donated his — but Hyland said the situation had her “contemplating suicide, because I didn’t want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad.”
Luckily, so far, the second transplant has been a success.
“I’m stable,” Hyland told the magazine. “I’m thriving. I’m super happy with life.”
A major source of support throughout the ordeal? Her friends and family, of course, but she also credits her boyfriend Adams, whom she met in person for the first time just three days before undergoing the second transplant in September 2017. (The two began flirting on Twitter that summer during his stint as the bartender in Bachelor in Paradise, but Hyland had been vocal about her not-so-secret crush on the radio DJ since his time vying for JoJo Fletcher‘s heart on season 12 of The Bachelorette in 2016.)
“He was texting me in the morning before I went into surgery, and we were FaceTiming the entire time I was in the hospital,” Hyland recalled.
Adams was also around for Hyland’s painful recovery post-transplant.
“He’s seen me at my worst,” she said. “He was there through all of that. I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that.”
According to the actress, the experience only brought them closer.
“It was a really intimate start to a relationship to have to go through those hurdles at the very, very, very beginning when you’re just even getting to know a person,” she said. “Also, falling in love with someone before you can really be intimate. I did not believe that that was a thing, but it is.”
These days, Hyland says she’s trying to keep everything in perspective.
“I have two of the most amazing dogs in the entire world. I have the best boyfriend ever, who has the third-most amazing dog in the entire world,” she said. “I have the greatest family one could ask for. I’m on a show that is absolutely unbelievable and surreal.”
A source told PEOPLE on Monday that Hyland — who also has endometriosis — is “doing great” overall, though she “still has her hard days.”
“Not only has all of this been physically demanding, but the emotional and mental demands have been just as challenging,” the source said. “She has a chronic illness and she will have to deal with it for the rest of her life. She’s still working through it all.”
“She always comes off so strong and bold, and she is. But this is also so crippling,” the source added. “Still, it’s made her a stronger person.”
And her bond with Adams is stronger than ever: The couple officially moved in together this summer, with Adams relocating from Nashville to Los Angeles to be with the actress.
“I think it’s brought us closer,” Hyland told PEOPLE in August. “I don’t think it’s been long enough to discover pet peeves with each other.”
“I think we’re in the honeymoon phase of living together,” she added. “He’s more anal and cleaner than I am, so it’s great for me!”
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