Inspired by Uma's story, many viewers wrote letters of support and thanked the star for revealing the truth about her private life. Jamie from Bloomington, Indiana, wrote, "Hearing Uma speak so openly and vulnerably about her own pain touched my heart and had me smiling through my tears. … Thank you, Uma, for reminding me that I'm not alone in this heartache."
Uma says she's moved by the overwhelming response. "It's deeply gratifying," she says. Is Uma in a better place after the divorce? "I hope so," she says. "It's hard to tell…I'm sure I am."
Uma, who stars in a new movie called My Super Ex-Girlfriend opposite Luke Wilson, says she finds her acting to be especially rewarding. "My work relationship has given me back at least as much as I've given it," she says. "It's been the fairest relationship I've ever been in, it's been the most nurturing relationship, the most gallant relationship. It's a wonderful thing to do something you love and get to feel valuable and make it…feel like you can make some contribution that isn't worthless."
"I just love doing comedy," she says. "My first love is drama, but comedy is becoming this passion. … When you're at work and you're, like, 'Oh, I know what I'll do next. I'll bash my head into the refrigerator—that will make it work.' I never had that as a career option before."
After surviving a public breakup, Uma says she needed to laugh again. At the screening of My Super Ex-Girlfriend, she even surprised herself. "I am the most self-critical person," she says. "I usually get extremely uptight, and it's really, really unpleasant for me to watch [my] movie the first time…if I ever watch it. And I was really laughing!"
While undergoing chemotherapy, Maxine says she knew she needed to come up with something other than traditional meditation to get through treatments. "I thought, 'Wow, I can't think about butterflies and beaches. I've got to fight,'" she says. "I thought, 'Who's my hero? Uma in Kill Bill because she survived beyond all means."
Instead of picturing her cancer cells being "gobbled up" like doctors suggested, Maxine says she imagined Uma kicking cancer's butt. She even named her tumor "Bill."
"Every night I would say, 'Uma, I don't have the strength, but you do. So take your Honshu sword and just keep an eye on 'Bill.'"