How Christina Applegate's Multiple Sclerosis Impacted Filming 'Dead to Me'

The actress got candid about the disease in a new interview.

Christina Applegate
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Christina Applegate isn't sugarcoating anything. She's pissed.

The actress opened up about her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis and how it impacted filming the final season of the popular Netflix series she stars in, Dead to Me, in a new interview with The New York Times.

Looking back, Applegate saw signs that something was wrong before her official MS diagnosis in the summer of 2021. She felt off balance while filming a dance scene for the first season of Dead to Me, and she noticed her tennis skills were declining.

"I wish I had paid attention," she said in the interview. "But who was I to know?"

When she finally was diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that affects communication between the brain and the body, Applegate was in the middle of filming season three of the series, which premieres on Netflix on November 17, 2022.

Production shut down while she got treatment. “There was the sense of, ‘Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better,’” Applegate told The Times. “And there is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me. So I needed that time.”

There's no cure for MS, but treatments, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and plasma exchanges, are available to help patients manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While Applegate has spent time processing her diagnosis with a chronic illness, she got candid about how hard it's been. “Acceptance?" she said in the recent interview. "No. I’m never going to accept this. I’m pissed.”

When people suggested they put a stop to filming the final season of Dead to Me, Applegate insisted they continue. "I said, ‘No,'" she told the newspaper. "'We’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it on my terms.’”

So, filming continued with help from a supportive crew. Applegate couldn't work long hours and arrived on set in a wheelchair, according to the recent article. They filmed fewer scenes of the actress walking into rooms and had her opening doors so she could lean on them. Sometimes, a sound technician and friend would hold up her legs out of the camera's frame. She took days off when she needed them.

Castmates including Linda Cardellini, who stars alongside Applegate, also helped her through the challenging work. "She [Cardellini] was my champion, my warrior, my voice," said Applegate. "It was like having a mama bear."

Now, Applegate is preparing for the final season's release, noting that she doesn't think she'll ever watch it, as it would be too painful for her.

“This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am,” she said. “I put on 40 pounds; I can’t walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that.”

Although there's no doubt Applegate struggled to complete the final season of the popular Netflix series, fans of the actress are sure to be rooting for her on and off screen.

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