Christina Applegate shares more about her MS diagnosis.
The 50-year-old actress spoke to Variety for his final season Dead to me, now streaming on Netflix, and how as production began, she experienced “scary” symptoms that eventually led to her diagnosis. MS is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain that can cause unpredictable physical, mental and emotional symptoms.
“I’m not going to say any of it was easy,” Applegate, 50, said of finishing the show. “I started having symptoms in January 2021 — very minor, something you could just get over. Right before we started filming [in May 2021]it was like being hit by a truck and not knowing what was going on.”
She called it “very scary for me, because this body I knew was no longer mine.” At first, they had to “work around” her mysterious symptoms “until, finally, I got answers. I found out I had multiple sclerosis while we were filming on Monday. I went home and the doctor said, ‘I need to make this appointment with you. ». I had a feeling this Zoom wouldn’t be good news. It was a mess, I’m not going to lie.”
After Applegate’s diagnosis, the show went off the air for five months, so Married with children alum could process the news and begin healing. However, “There is no cure for having a lifelong degenerative disease,” he said. “Maybe other people could have been accepted. I’m only a year old, so I’m still in that grieving process.”
She credits her co-star Linda Cardellini and the Liz Feldman show, on which she was interviewed, for helping her complete the series. By the time he returned to the set – which he insisted on doing – he needed a wheelchair. He had to be physically restrained, by an off-camera crew member, for shots. He would take a nap to get through the long days of filming. Sometimes, he just had to leave and go home.
“If I didn’t have those two ladies, especially, I don’t know what I would do,” Applegate said.
Applegate had the option not to return. Feldman said he would make up whatever was needed to close the story of two widowed best friends. The Emmy-winning actress said ending it “was personal.”
“The conversation had come up, like, ‘Should we stop?’ I was like, ‘No, we have to finish this on our own. We have to tell our story. And I’m going to do my best — I’m just going to need your help,'” she said. “When I was like, ‘Hey, you know what? I can’t work today,” they’d say, “Okay, we won’t work today,” or, “We’ll find other scenes.” I was deeply grateful to be able to say, “I need half an hour,” or, “I have to go lie down — I can’t walk . All that other stuff doesn’t matter.”
Applegate now uses a cane to get around and has gained 40 pounds since her diagnosis. She said while doing the show, she “wouldn’t look in the mirror anymore” while making arrangements with the costume designer.
Asked what she learned while doing the show, Applegate — not afraid to crack jokes about her diagnosis — quipped, “That I have multiple sclerosis. Just kidding — it never gets old!”
Then he got serious, saying, “I don’t wax poetic about life. I don’t introspect. I’ve always been go, go, go, go, go. I’m almost 51 years old. I’ve been at SAG since 1976. I’ve worked a long time. During this, my some incredibly difficult things happened in the middle of work and work always got me through it.I broke my leg while living my dream of being on Broadway [in Sweet Charity]. I had breast cancer while I was on my favorite show at the time, Samantha Who? A boy [Lee Grivas] he also died that year.’
He continued, “Having the biggest [MS] happen to me during this, I must appreciate the help. I got to feel the pain that I think I always wanted to feel for all these other things, that I wasn’t allowed to because I wasn’t given an amazing space to do it. I had pushed it all down for so long. Through these characters — get a chance to not have to be all the time, be funny or reach the pedal line. To be able to play these characters who are so broken, who feel so deeply and so painfully — it really taught me: Christina, you have to be able to honor that in yourself sometimes.”
Applegate isn’t sure what the future holds for her acting, she’ll definitely continue to produce, but she said “the gift of my life” was co-starring alongside Cardellini in this show. “I hope that wasn’t my swan song gift. But if it was, I’m so glad it’s done with me [her].”
Earlier this week, Applegate made her first public appearance since her diagnosis, attending her star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She sported her new cane and performed without shoes, as footwear can be limiting for people with multiple sclerosis. Her former TV mom from Married with childrenKatey Sagal held her to help keep her balance on the podium.
Applegate was joined by Cardellini and Feldman, who both spoke on her behalf, as well as Sagal and David Faustino. Applegate’s husband, Porno musician Martyn LeNoble of Pyros, 11-year-old daughter Sadie and her stepdaughter were among those who honored her.
She shadowed the illness that caused her to lose control of her body and made it clear she’s not accepting any of it, rocking a special manicure for the occasion that read: ‘FU MS’.