Published on: August 26, 2004

Jane Pauley has admitted she secretly struggled with bipolar disorder for years -- but The ENQUIRER has uncovered the whole story: Her life was in danger during her desperate battle for sanity.

At her lowest point in 2001, Jane was in a Manhattan psychiatric clinic under a 24-hour suicide watch and had to sleep with a nurse sitting by her side -- because doctors were afraid she would kill herself!

The issue that goes on sale Friday reveals why the 53-year-old former "Dateline" host -- who is still on antidepressant medication -- was at high risk for suicide ... and much more.