In honor of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), Kathy Ireland opened up to Entertainment Tonight about celebrities, Dame Elizabeth Taylor in particular, who had an instrumental role in helping HIV-positive patients.
The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model told ET that the legendary actress, who founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991, developed a secret underground network that provided experimental HIV drugs to patients.
“Talk about fearless in her home in Bel-Air,” Ireland said. “It was a safe house. A lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives. It was in a time when it was not something to do. Business associates pleaded with her, ‘Leave this thing alone.'”
Ireland added, “She received death threats. Friends hung up on her when she asked for help, but something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage.”
Ireland also offered words of support to Charlie Sheen, who recently confirmed that he is HIV positive.
“My heart and our prayers go out to [Sheen] and for everybody who is dealing with this,” Ireland said. “It’s heartbreaking.”