If you watched the finale of ‘Little People, Big World,’ you might have wondered how Matt Roloff is doing after his shocking collapse. Well, I’m here to tell you he’s alive and well and doing great! Turns out it was a bad case of vertigo — not a heart attack, as some viewers suspected.
I caught up with Roloff, who talked about what life has been like since the finale.
So my first question is, how are you doing?
I’m doing fine. It caught us by surprise, how much attention this thing got. It’s funny, because we don’t really watch the episodes [as they air]. We saw a rough cut months ago, but we put it out of our mind and never thought about it. I was off traveling to New York and doing my thing, and I’m getting on the airplane coming home, and people are like, “Oh, man, good to see you.” And I’m like, “What? Why?” And they’re like, “Everybody is saying you were dead!” But I’m here to tell you that I’m definitely alive and well.
So it wasn’t a heart attack?
No, it was a bad case of vertigo, which makes you dizzy. So I hit the floor.
By the time the episode aired, did your extended family know you were fine? Did you get any frantic phone calls?
I didn’t. People I keep in touch with knew I was fine, but a lot of my Facebook fans were sad or distressed over it.
More after the jump…
If something like that happens, does the camera crew continue shooting?
If there’s nobody else in the room, then yeah, they would have dropped the camera in a second and attended to me. In the past, we’ve had instances where the kids get hurt, and if it’s dire, then they do put the cameras down and jump in. But, for the most part, if they feel it’s under control, their job is to continue to roll.
It must be hard, though. Like the accident with the trebuchet a while back. Do you ever feel like saying, “Stop the cameras. This is too much”?
Oh yes, definitely. When the accident happened, they specifically said, “Can we go ahead and shoot it?” And in that few seconds we were rushing down there, I said, “Yes, but give us lots of space.” In other words, don’t be pushing us out of the way to get your camera shot. So they shot it from more of a distance than they might typically want to. But you develop a relationship with the crew where I can just wave and they know that means — turn the camera off and go away. But we try not to do that very often because we’re trying to share our life, all the good and the bad and the ugly and the dramatic and the not dramatic.
Has it gotten easier to deal with over the years — sharing your life on camera with the rest of the world?
Yes, over the years, we’ve become more accustomed to it. It’s easier to let them do their job while we go about the business of our life.
Plus, it seems like you’ve got the support of all of these people who are watching, too. Like when you lost Mike, did it feel like you had an extended family in the millions of viewers?
That is absolutely true. I mean, it’s humbling, and it just warms your heart to think how many people are so concerned about you out there. I feel bad because I don’t intentionally want to give anybody a scare, and the fact that they did the cliff hanger like that, you have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, you want to support the production of the show and what that’s all about with the drama. But on the other hand, you don’t want people to be scared. I just assumed that because I was on Facebook every day and people knew that the show ran a few months behind, that everybody would know I was fine.
And, like you said, you probably didn’t think too much about it. You were going on with your lives.
Yes, we moved on. I picked myself up off the ground and dusted myself off. I did go to the doctor and get some medication for my vertigo, which has kept it under control.
How are you feeling otherwise?
Overall, my health is pretty good right now. I’m doing a lot of things to try to keep on top of it, and I’m feeling pretty darn good lately.
I know you’ve had a lot of surgeries and medical issues. Do you ever just get tired of all the medical stuff?
Yes, I definitely get tired of the medical stuff. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just one of those things where you have to deal with things through life.
You and your wife Amy seem really down to earth. How do you manage to stay sane among all the publicity and everything?
It’s totally gone to my head! No, it’s hard because it does change your lives in ways that you don’t expect it. We’ve tried to just stay focused on our mission in life. Even when we’re shooting, we’re on our farm with our family, in our zone. And when we do go off the farm and travel, a lot of people stop us for photos, and it’s heartwarming. We love to interact with the public.
I know that you and Amy work with a lot of charities. Do you feel like you’re the voice for little people out there now?
I wouldn’t claim that we’re the voice, because we always say, “All little people are different, and they all have different needs and desires.” And we don’t claim to be the voice for any organization or group, but I do have CoDA, which is the Coalition of Dwarf Advocacy. It’s an important charity, and we’re doing some really cool stuff, like building custom-made bicycles for dwarf kids that can’t afford them otherwise, helping with adoptions and educational scholarships. That’s a very near-and-dear-to-our-heart effort.