Whoopi Goldberg’s mum forgot who she was after enduring years of electroshock therapy

Whoopi Goldberg’s mum forgot who she was after being subjected to years of electroshock therapy.

The 68-year-old actress and comic opens up about how her mother Emma Harris, who died aged 78 in 2010 from a stroke, emerged from hospital with memory loss after getting the controversial treatment following a mental breakdown.

She says in her upcoming memoir ‘Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother and Me’, in an extract obtained by People: “(Mum) said, ‘I didn’t know who you were when I got out of the hospital.’”

Whoopi added she replied at the time: “I’m sorry, what? I’m sorry, what?”

Emma then told her daughter – who was around eight years old in the early 1960s when her mum had the hospital treatment: “Yeah, I had no idea who you were. I just knew I never wanted to go back to that hospital. So I had to do everything I could.

“If they said the sky was green, and I could see it wasn’t green, and it was blue, I’d say, ‘Yes, the sky is green.’ ’Cause I never wanted it again.’”

At the time of her mum’s treatment, studies around women’s mental health were almost non-existent, leading to the overuse of prescription drugs and electroshock for sufferers.

Emma didn’t tell Whoopi she forgot who her children were until around 40 years after her hospitalisation.

Whoopi elaborated on the trauma during an appearance on ‘The View’, saying her dad and grandfather had “OK’d” her mum getting the shock treatment for “two years” because “there was a time in this country when… any man involved in your life could make medical decisions for you”.

The comic’s co-hosts Sara Haines, 46, and Sunny Hostin, 55, expressed their “shock” at the treatment.

Whoopi’s autobiography is out next Tuesday (07.05.24), with the book also delving into how her brother Clyde K Johnson died aged 66 in 2015 from a brain aneurysm, five years after her mum.

She said on ‘The View’: “They’ve been gone awhile now… so I think I just was starting to forget a lot of stuff.

“Everyone’s gone, and so I have memories of things that happened, but I don’t have specific dates or times.”

Whoopi has also said she feels “lucky” to have outlived her sibling.