When comedienne Melissa McCarthy read the script for Spy, she didn’t expect she would actually have to cling to the bottom of a helicopter in midair — yet she spent three days doing just that!

“I thought there’d be some movie magic,” Melissa confided to Closer at the film’s LA premiere. “I was like, ‘How are we going to do that helicopter scene?’”

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Melissa in Spy.

But while most mere mortals would be terrified by the stunt, Melissa, 44, was delighted. “I just loved all the stunts. I just loved it,” she told Closer.

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Melissa has every reason to be loving life these days. Beyond her high-flying career, the fearless star has been in a solid marriage for nearly 10 years with fellow actor Ben Falcone, is mom to two great kids and — after losing 50 pounds — is healthier than ever.

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Melissa and her husband, Ben, in June 2014.

“The second I knew I was doing the movie, I started training with an amazing martial artist,” shares Melissa, who stands just 5-foot-2 and is estimated to have once weighed as much as 220 pounds. “I think anytime you go into a project and you feel like you’ve prepared as much as you can, it gives you confidence,” she says.

As a plus-sized woman in Hollywood, Melissa has needed all the confidence she could muster. “When she did the film Identity Thief, one NYC critic referred to her as a ‘female hippo’ and a ‘tractor-sized’ actress,” recalls one insider. “It’s not only rude, it causes women to feel they have to be stick-thin in order to be attractive.”

To read the full story on Melissa, pick up the new issue of ‘Closer Weekly,’ on newsstands now!