Jeremy Renner Shares How Daughter Ava Has Helped His Recovery After Snowplow Accident (Exclusive)

The 53-year-old actor said he 'got better because of Ava' following his near-fatal accident on New Year's Day 2023.

Jeremy Renner's recovery from a near-fatal snowplow accident just over a year ago has been nothing short of a miracle. And that miracle, as it turns out, has a name, and she's 11-year-old Ava.

The Mayor of Kingstown star practically glowed while praising his daughter for being his "ally" and "champion" amid his recovery and the driving force behind easing his immense pain, both literally and figuratively. Speaking to ET's Kevin Frazier, the 53-year-old actor beamed with pride not just at how far he's come along in his recovery but also how far Ava's come along on that same journey.

"She is everything. She's my life force. I felt such guilt for not wanting to come back 'cause I was OK not coming back to this planet, but I felt so bad because I forgot about my daughter," Renner admitted to ET. "I forgot about everybody else, but she's my life force, man. It took me away from any pain. I would feel, 'So, all I have to do is get better for her' [because] when you do that, you're not worried about yourself and how you're feeling and how broken you are. It's like, 'How do I help my daughter not be scared that her dad's not doing so well?' So, it was quite a blessing to have her as my ally, my champion through this, and she became a much stronger young woman because of that."

It was back in April when Renner -- who shares Ava with his ex-wife, Sonni Pacheco -- made his triumphant return to the red carpet for the first time since the New Year's Day accident near his home in the Mt. Rose Highway area of Reno, Nevada. He donned a blue suit while Ava, 10 at the time, wore a matching navy blue gown. She held his hand while Renner walked with the help of a cane, which he held with his other hand.

Renner spent weeks in the hospital -- he even celebrated his 52nd birthday there -- after he had to be airlifted there before  undergoing chest surgery due to his injuries from being crushed by a snowplow. In the 911 call placed by a neighbor to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Renner can be heard moaning in agony as the neighbor does his best to explain the situation to the operator, and reassure the injured actor that help was on the way.

Jeremy Renner and Ava Berlin Renner attend the Los Angeles premiere of his Disney+ show, Rennervations, at Regency Village Theatre on April 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. - Getty

As a result of the accident, Renner suffered a number of horrific injuries, including eight ribs broken in 14 places, a broken right knee and ankle, a broken left leg, tibia and left ankle, as well as a broken right shoulder. He also suffered a collapsed lung, which was pierced from the rib bone. All in all, Renner broke more than 30 bones. The medical emergency was so dire, Renner's mom told Diane Sawyer that her son even began writing his final words to his family.

Renner's relentless determination to mend his broken body -- fueled by Ava's presence -- was evident just months later when he started posting videos of his intense workouts. And it wouldn't be long before Renner started jogging and running on the treadmill. But getting to this point required time, and trust on both his and Ava's part. Renner told ET he spends his weekends with Ava, and he'd do his part during the week to get better, and that kind of weekly progress ultimately lifted Ava's spirits as she saw her father get better and better.

"We share the weekends together, so I can kind of get better through the week and every week I'd show her how much I'm improving, and that would alleviate a lot of the fears and terror in her. And she had to trust me more. I asked her to wait for me, and if you wait for me, I will promise you I'll get better and I'll be stronger than I was before, I promise you," Renner said. "And that is my fuel, right? And she's growing as a young lady."

The discussions they had on his hospital bed carried over to a similar hospital bed setup at his home. Renner said they'd often lie on that bed with their dogs and "kind of sit there, feet to feet, and chat about things and perspectives."

"And I really enjoyed this, really, grown-up time with her," Renner added. "And then the real payout to it is, after all this time, there's all these milestones that happened with her -- pick her up from school, surprising her and taking her to parent-teacher conference, all these kind of things. And then doing the [Super Bowl] commercial was pretty awesome."

In short, Renner kept his promise. He got better. So much better, actually.

"'Look at where we are now, Ava. What'd I tell you?'" Renner recalled telling his daughter. "I reminded her, 'If you wait for me. Remember what we're doing now. We're doing a Super Bowl commercial together.' So, all these wonderful payouts to having her trust me, if you wait for me, I'll get better. And she did. And what'd I do? I got better, and I got better because of her."

Renner has since partnered with Brooks to launch their new global platform, "Let's Run There," which celebrates the power of the run and invites everyone to reach their own destination, or "there," in whatever form it takes. Renner's off and running with Brooks running shoes. It is now his hope that the spot he filmed for the apparel company serves to inspire others.

"What it does for me is it really cements hope. The kindness in people, the unification of goodness and kindness," he said. "I think there's a congregation, if you will, of that. And I think that keeps me going. I hope people feel inspired by goodness. I hope they feel not overwhelmed by obstacles. We're living in a very difficult time right now. There's a lot of tough things going on. A lot of obstacles in all of our lives on this planet, in this country. It's a lot of bad news, and this to me is human. It just feels like we unite together with a common cause. And a common belief that we can do better and together we can move mountains."

More than a year after his snowplow accident, Renner is also cognizant that no progress comes without its setbacks. And that's OK. That, in and of itself, is also part of the progress.

"There’s always setbacks but the progress is, I pay a lot of attention to it and it gives me a really good fuel to keep going and feeling strong," he said. "Just from like the beginning of the show. Let's say Mayor of Kingstown starting on Jan. 8, not doing so good back then, but cut to here, mid-May, feeling a lot stronger, you gotta do this commercial with Brooks, a running commercial. Not something I thought I could do, but, yeah, pretty great, man. Feeling really, really strong. As long as I stay on program with moving around a lot, then I do all right. As soon as I stop moving, I think things lock up."

And his recovery isn't purely a physical one. There's also a mental battle he's working hard to conquer.

"I have such a great relationship with pain, so if my legs are in a lot of pain, I don't think about it," he said. "It's just sort of a thing that's there. I can deal with swelling and inflammation, and those type of things [are] typical things that a lot of people have to deal with, so I don't feel that much I have to do compared to what I did have to do."