Former "Baywatch" star Brooke Burns, who broke her neck last month after diving into her backyard pool, credits a friend, a paramedic firefighter, with saving her life.

"I literally broke my neck. It's a classic neck break from chin to chest," the actress told "Access Hollywood" in an interview that was set to air Monday night. "If I had been alone, I would probably be dead."

Burns said her friend "saw me dive in, and he wrapped a wet towel around my neck and basically immobilized me and floated me in the pool until the paramedics came, so he saved my life."

"If I had been with anyone else that tried to move me, I would be at least half-paralyzed, if not completely paraplegic," she said.

Burns said that since her Nov. 10 accident, she has been closer to ex-husband Julian McMahon, star of FX's "Nip/Tuck." The couple, who divorced in 2001, have a 5-year-old daughter.

"I think he was the first one at the hospital," she said of McMahon. "He just really came through for me, and we really had a great talk. Family is family, and a piece of paper means nothing ... that is what we kind of came down to."

Burns co-stars with Rebecca Romijn in the upcoming WB series "Pepper Dennis."