Christina Applegate Opened Up About the Day She Received Her MS Diagnosis

The actress recalled what it was like to receive the news after a day of filming.

Christina Applegate MS diagnosis
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Christina Applegate has been candid about her experiences with multiple sclerosis ever since announcing she'd been diagnosed with the neurological disease in August 2021. Most recently, Applegate told host Kelly Clarkson about what it was like to learn she'd been diagnosed with the incurable disorder in a new interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

The Dead to Me star previously told The New York Times she'd received her diagnosis when she was filming the third and final season of the hit Netflix series. In her new interview with Clarkson, she shared more details about the day she was diagnosed. "Shooting the show was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life because I was diagnosed during shooting," the Married With Children alum told Clarkson. "I didn't know what was happening to me. I couldn't walk. They had to use a wheelchair to get me to set. I was freaking out until someone was like 'You need an MRI.' And then, I found out on a Monday after work that I had MS, you know, a disease that I am going to have for the rest of my life."

Applegate recalled having "very small symptoms" in the four years prior to her diagnosis, including feeling tired or weakness in her legs. "It presented itself a few years ago," the 51-year-old noted. When Clarkson empathized with how "hard" it must have been to learn what was causing her symptoms while working, Applegate joked, "It sucked balls. Can I say that?" Clarkson laughed and replied, "You can say whatever the hell you want."

"My humor shield keeps me okay," the Bad Moms star, who is also a breast cancer survivor, told Clarkson. "But of course, down on the insides, you feel the things. I do it to kind of deflect and also make people not scared to be around me."

While it was challenging Applegate carried on with filming the show after receiving the diagnosis, she recounted. "Being diagnosed with MS last year and what happened to my body, to my mind, to my spirit, to my everything, of course I didn't want to be around anyone or talk about it, but I had to go to work," she told Clarkson. "I was not forced to go to work, but I made sure that we finished the show."

"It was really incredibly difficult, and then I went to sleep for a few months," she continued. "And then all of a sudden now I had to come out again and be this person. And people had seen me as this other person for the last almost 40 years, and I'm different now, and it's incredibly hard. I'm going to do my best to get through it, I suppose."

The mom of one also mentioned that there are "four different kinds of MS so not everyone is the same," adding, "Everyone's symptoms are different, everyone's experience with it is different." The chronic autoimmune disease can affect communication between the brain and the body, and can be potentially disabling due to its impacts on the brain and spinal cord, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can cause myriad symptoms to varying degrees, and treatments (such as anti-inflammatory drugs and plasma exchanges) can help patients manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Applegate's openness will no doubt help others who might be experiencing similar chronic health conditions feel a little less alone — and a little more buoyed by humor — in their own health journeys.

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