Hilary Swank is opening up about prioritizing family. In a cover story for Health’s September issue, the Oscar-winner reveals that she stepped away from the spotlight in 2014 to spend time with her father Stephen, who needed a lung transplant.

While she was planning to return quickly, she soon realized she had to become her father’s “health advocate.”

Swank says: “It was supposed to be a year, because it takes a year to see if an organ transplant takes. A lung transplant is the most difficult of all, as it’s an incredibly delicate organ. The plan was to take off a year. I became my dad’s health advocate. One year quickly turned into two and then three. And, thank God, prayers were answered. He is healthy and doing really well five-plus years later.”

She adds that while it can be “overwhelming,” it’s worthwhile: “It takes a lot of energy, love and edifying yourself on the matter at hand. The ups and downs are so challenging and can be overwhelming. Make sure that you’re taking time for yourself and that you vocalize what your needs are to the people who are around you so they can help support you.”

Swank returned to Hollywood in 2018 for FX’s Trust, and can next be seen in the Netflix space drama, Away.

The new show is personal for her, she reveals: “Before being an actor, I wanted to be an astronaut. I had such passion for, and respect for, astronauts and people who are exploring something that’s so much bigger than all of us. Something else, which was just as significant to me when I read Away, was that the script was unique in its inclusion of so many multiethnic characters.”

Away is available to stream Sept. 4 on Netflix.