Christina Applegate Detailed The Early Symptoms Of MS She Shrugged Off As "Being Tired" Before Her Official Diagnosis

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Christina Applegate will always be one of my favorite actors. From her iconic TV roles in Married... with Children to her recent Emmy-nominated turn as Jen Harding in Dead to Me, Christina always knows how to deliver a knockout performance.

Christina Applegate sitting on a couch with her on screen dad and brother in a scene from
Christina Applegate sitting on a couch with her on screen dad and brother in a scene from
Christina Applegate in character is seated at a bar with a thoughtful expression and holding a drink
Christina Applegate in character is seated at a bar with a thoughtful expression and holding a drink

Fox / Everett Collection, Netflix / Everett Collection

Recently, Christina has also been very candid about living with multiple sclerosis, which she was officially diagnosed with in 2021 while filming the final season of Dead to Me.

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini arm in arm in Dead to Me

Since the release of the show's final season, Christina earned multiple awards nominations, attended red carpets, got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and most recently received a standing ovation at the 2023 Emmy Awards where she presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Christina walking on stage at the Emmy Awards with Anthony Anderson

Upon the audience giving her rousing applause, Christina joked, "We don't have to applaud every time I do something."

Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images

And now, Christina sat down alongside The Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who also has multiple sclerosis, for a candid interview with Robin Roberts. This marked the first time the two actors have discussed their health journeys at length.

Jamie-Lynn and Christina holding hands during an interview

Speaking about her initial diagnosis, Christina said her symptoms started in early 2021, and it was "just tingling on [her] toes." She added, "And by the time we started shooting [Dead to Me] in the summer of that same year, I was being brought to set in a wheelchair. Like, I couldn't walk that far."

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini sitting side by side in a scene from Dead to Me
Netflix / Everett Collection

According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis "attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerve fibers."

Signs and symptoms of MS "vary widely between patients and depend on the location and severity of nerve fiber damage in the central nervous system." According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are also multiple types of MS, with "four disease courses" being identified.

Actor Selma Blair, who was diagnosis with MS in 2019 and starred with Christina in The Sweetest Thing in 2002, was the one who encouraged Christina to get tested for MS. "She knew. If not for her, it could have been way worse," Christina told Robin.

Closeup of Christina Applegate and Selma Blair at an event

Christina even added that she remembers telling Selma, "Really? The odds? The two of us from the same movie. Come on, that's not gonna be — that doesn't happen."

Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

Now, Christina said she believes she may have had MS for "as long as seven years" before her official diagnosis. For a while she shrugged off the symptoms as "being tired."

Christina stands at a doorway in an elegant velvet dress with a trailing skirt

She added, "And then nothing would happen for, like, months, and I didn't pay attention."

John Shearer / Getty Images for ABA

"They call it the invisible disease. It can be very lonely because it's hard to explain to people. I'm in excruciating pain, but I'm just used to it now," Christina said, adding that living with MS is "kind of hell."

A closeup of Christina Applegate on the red carpet

Speaking openly about having to be hospitalized for her MS symptoms, Christina told People in a new interview, "They don’t know what’s wrong, but we’re pretty sure my stomach and my intestines are not very good friends. It causes me intense pain and vomiting. I gained 45 lbs. when I was diagnosed, from steroids and lack of mobility. It’s just a body that doesn’t feel right."

Christina Applegate sitting next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

She continued, saying, "And I’ve lost 30-something. People are like, 'What have you been doing?' And I’m like, 'Vomiting.' Not Ozempic. Barfing."

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

Now at this stage of her diagnosis, Christina has learned to lean on Jamie-Lynn and others who understand what it's like living with MS. The duo were reportedly put in touch by their mutual friend Lance Bass in 2021 after Christina was diagnosed.

Jamie-Lynn and Christina holding hands during an interview

"[Jamie-Lynn] keeps me going because...I'm flipping the bird all day long at this thing and I'm angry. I'm really, really pissed," Christina began. "She's like, 'OK, I have you, and you are going to be OK. Like, you're going to be OK.' And if not for her...I really honestly don't know."

Jamie-Lynn and Christina holding hands during an interview

In a recent interview with People, Jamie-Lynn said of her friendship with Christina, "We’re in two very different places with MS, but we help each other. Christina opened me up."

Closeup of Christina Applegate
Closeup of Christina Applegate
Jamie-Lynn Sigler on
Jamie-Lynn Sigler on

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for Critics Choice Association, Scott Gries / BRAVO / Getty Images

She continued, "I didn’t realize how desperately I needed to stop trying to be perfect. One thing I haven’t done in the last 23 years is admit it was hard, because I didn’t want to let anyone down."

After calling her MS diagnosis "devastating," Christina openly discussed how she's dealing with it today, saying she's still "real pissed off about it all," but she calls Jamie-Lynn her "hero" in all of this.

Jamie-Lynn and Christina holding hands during an interview

The duo have now started a podcast together called MeSsy where they talk about "the curveballs that life can throw...theirs just happens to be MS," per the show's official log line.

Previously, Christina said Dead to Me will likely be her last on-camera acting project, due to the demands of filming. She expressed interest in doing voice acting and more that wouldn't require her to be on set for such long hours.

Speaking about the podcast, Christina said in her interview with Robin, "I've been playing a character called Christina for 40 years, who I wanted everybody to think I was because it's easier. But this is, it's kind of my coming out party. Like, this is...the person I've been this whole time."

Christina added, "I know I’ll live a long enough life...to experience my kid and the things she’s going to do. And I need to be here, so I’ve got to fight. I got to fight." ❤️

Christina Applegate holding hands and posing with her daughter on a red carpet
Emma Mcintyre / FilmMagic / Getty Images

You can check out Christina and Jamie-Lynn's full interviews with both Robin Roberts and People here and here.