Christina Applegate Says Taking a Shower Is 'Frightening' with MS: 'Certain Things I Took for Granted'

“With the disease of MS, it’s never a good day,” said the actress, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August 2021

Leon Bennett/Getty
Leon Bennett/Getty

Christina Applegate is giving more insight on how much multiple sclerosis has impacted her everyday life.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the Dead to Me actress reflected on the little things she took for granted before she was diagnosed with MS in 2021.

"With the disease of MS, it's never a good day," the 51-year-old told the outlet. "You just have little shitty days. People are like, 'Well, why don't you take more showers?' Well, because getting in the shower is frightening. You can fall, you can slip, your legs can buckle. Especially because I have a glass shower. It's frightening to me to get in there."

"There are just certain things that people take for granted in their lives that I took for granted," she admitted. "Going down the stairs, carrying things — you can't do that anymore. It f—ing sucks."

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — and can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, feeling and thinking. Symptoms include: numbness, tremor or lack of coordination.

MS differs in each case, with some people going through life with only minor problems and others becoming seriously disabled.

Related: Christina Applegate Uses Cane with the Letters 'FU MS' at SAG Awards amid Battle with Multiple Sclerosis

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Related: Christina Applegate Says Her 'Humor Shield Keeps Me OK' Following 'Incredibly Hard' MS Diagnosis

Applegate told the outlet that she's still able to drive her car short distances and bring food upstairs to her 12-year-old daughter Sadie Grace. However, she emphasized that she's fine going "up, never down."

"Gravity can just pull you down and take everything down with you," she explained. "So we have this little thing at the top of the stairs that we call 'purgatory.' So if anyone's done with anything upstairs, we put it in purgatory so one of my able friends can bring it downstairs."

The actress added that although many assume she has a team of friends and family helping her with these everyday tasks, she's kept her circle small since her diagnosis.

"I actually don't want to be around a lot of people because I'm immunocompromised," Applegate continued. "I have my friend who lives here during the week and she helps me take care of Sadie. And then on the weekend I have a caretaker. I also don't want a lot of stimulation of the nervous system because it can be a little bit too much for me. I like to keep it as quiet and as mellow as possible.

"It's exhausting," she said of her symptoms. "Imagine just being in a crowd of people and how loud that is. It's like 5,000 times louder for anyone who has lesions on their brains."

Related: Christina Applegate Says She Gained 40 Lbs. Due to Medications: 'I Didn't Look Like Myself'

Related: Selma Blair Says She and Christina Applegate Support Each Other After Both Were Diagnosed with MS

The Bad Moms star was diagnosed with MS in August 2021, while she was filming the third season of her Netflix dramedy Dead to Me, and the show halted production so that she could begin treatment.

After wrapping up the series, she spoke to Variety about finishing the show with her symptoms, revealing it was "as hard as you would possibly think it would be."

​​"It's about finding what I'm capable of doing," she said of her acting future. "I'm so new in this right now. It takes time to kind of figure out this disease, and figure out what's bringing on symptoms. I'm just a newbie to all of this. So I'm trying to figure it out — and I'm also in mourning for the person who I was. I have to find a place that's as loving as my set was, where they won't think I'm a diva by saying, 'Hey, I can only work five hours.'"

The actress explained that she's seeking "a place that will allow me to [work five hours] if I'm not the star," and that starring in something might be off the table in the future. "There's no way I could do the work that I just came off again. I mean, it was so hard," she said.

"I'm pretty convinced that this was it, you know? But who knows — I'm probably gonna get real bored of being in my room. I'd like to develop stuff, I'd like to produce stuff," she added. "I've got a lot of ideas in my mind, and I just need to get them executed."

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