Rita Wilson on her coronavirus recovery and raising money with "Hip Hop Hooray" remix

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were two of the first celebrities to disclose they had the coronavirus. Hanks returned to TV Saturday to guest host "Saturday Night Live" from their kitchen.

In her first interview since her diagnosis, Wilson told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King that she's feeling great — and giving back. She's teaming up with Naughty by Nature to remix their hit song "Hip Hop Hooray" to raise money for musicians affected by the pandemic.

Read part of King's conversation with Wilson below.


Rita Wilson: I was very tired. ... I felt extremely achy, uncomfortable, didn't want to be touched, and then the fever started. Chills like I've never had before. ... Looking back, I also realized that I was losing my sense of taste and smell, which I didn't realize it at the time.

Gayle King: How high was your fever?

Wilson: I think it got close to 102. … About day nine, they gave me chloroquine. And I know people have been talking about this drug, but I can only tell you that I don't know if the drug worked or it was just time for the fever to break.

King: To run its course.

Wilson: But my fever did break. But the chloroquine had such extreme side effects. I was completely nauseous, and I had vertigo. I could not walk, and my muscles felt very weak. ... I think people have to be very considerate about that drug. We don't really know if it's helpful in this case.

King: Did Tom have similar symptoms to you? Were your symptoms different?

Wilson: He had milder symptoms. He didn't have as high a fever. ... He did not lose his sense of taste or smell. … But, it still took us the same time to get through it.

King: Do you think you gave it to him, or he gave it to you? Or do you know how either of you got it?

Wilson: It was somebody, they said, that Tom and I were both exposed to at the same time. We don't know when that could've been or where. ... But, all I can say is all of our close contacts, family ... on our work team, no one has tested positive.

King: Have the doctors told you that now that you all have it, that you're now immune from it? Do you know?

Wilson: Well, that's what they told us and that's what the belief is. We recently have been part of a study where we've donated our blood, and we're waiting to hear back if our antibodies will be helpful in developing a vaccine. But also, if we are able to donate plasma that can be used as donation to other people who are suffering from the virus because we are immune.

King: When you came out online with Naughty by Nature, Rita, while you're still in recovery, that went viral just like that.

Wilson: I love that song, "Hip Hop Hooray" by the amazing rap legends Naughty by Nature. … Here's the story behind it. I did this movie called "Boy Genius." … This character that I played gets to sing "Hip Hop Hooray," … It took me a month to learn that song, Gayle. One month because it is so intricate. It's like learning foreign rhythms, foreign languages. ... I had to go onto the urban slang dictionary to learn what certain things meant. And then I just — I was sitting there in quarantine. … And I thought, "Oh, maybe I should do this for a brain exercise and see if I still remember the lyrics." ... I thought, "Well, maybe if I just post this, it could be something fun and show people that we're okay." … And I think the thing that made me feel really good was that Naughty by Nature had commented on it and said that they liked it. … And then this idea came up that we should do a remix of it. 

And this was great because any time you stream it, that translates into money, and all of that money will go into the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. 

King: But this is the thing. This is what I want people to know about you, Rita Wilson, 'cause I'm not late to the Rita Wilson party. You've got four albums. I've got all four of them. ... The New York Times: "Rita Wilson has a catch in her voice that conveys yearning."

Wilson: About seven years ago, I started writing music, … and I realized that I had found this thing that I loved, that felt like the truest part of myself.

King: But this is the thing, Rita, "Hip Hop Hooray" … Your version went viral for a couple of reasons. One, it was you. Number two, you had such attitude when you were doing it. … Where did that come from, Rita Wilson? That's what I thought was so great about it.

Wilson: I don't know.

King: A whole different audience is seeing you now for the first time. 

Wilson: I think that music … it's healing, … and so if something is giving someone comfort or peace, I'm thankful to be a part of it, really.