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Christina Applegate reveals how she uses humour to cope with ‘incredibly hard’ MS battle

The actor first revealed that she had MS in August 2021.

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 23 December 2022 22:40 GMT
Christina Applegate reveals how she uses humour to cope with ‘incredibly hard’ MS battle

Christina Applegate says she uses her sense of humour to “deflect” from her difficult battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Applegate, 51, shared what makes her feel better when she’s going through a hard time during an interview this week on The Kelly Clarkson Show. After TV host Kelly Clarkson said that she turns to “dark humour” as a coping mechanism, the actor confessed that she does the same thing.

“My humour shield keeps me ok,” Applegate said. “But of course, down on the insides, you feel the things. I do it to kind of deflect and then also make people not be scared to be around me.”

The Married... with Children star went on to explain how she uses humour to talk to her peers about her MS.

“When people see me now as a disabled person, I want them to feel comfortable. That we can laugh about it,” she added.

She gave an example and revealed that she wrote a Christmas song about her medical condition. She then shared some of the lyrics, singing: “Disabey baby, hurry down the chimney tonight. I can’t. ‘Cause my wheelchair won’t fit down it.”

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a “potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord” that causes “communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It can eventually cause permanent damage to the body’s nerves. As noted by the National MS Society, more than 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the immune disorder.

Applegate recalled to Clarkson that when she was first diagnosed with MS, she didn’t want to interact with others.

“To be honest, 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 continued.

The actor noted that while she was not “forced” to go to work, she still wanted to do everything she could to finish filming season three of her show, Dead to Me.

“It was like a part of my family. Linda Cardellini, Liz Feldman, everyone there is my family, and there’s a story that we didn’t get to finish,” she said. “And I pushed as hard as I could for that. So it was really incredibly difficult.”

Applegate confessed that when filming was over, she stayed out of the public eye. When she returned to the spotlight, she said she knew that people would view her differently because of her condition.

“I went to sleep for a few months, and then all of a sudden, now I had to come out again and be this person,” she added. “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 don’t want to be the fish in the fish tank, you know, but I’m going to do my best.”

In August 2021, the Bad Moms star took to Twitter to reveal that she had MS, writing: “A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS. It’s been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition. It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some a**hole blocks it.”

In November, she made her first public appearance since announcing her diagnosis, as she accepted her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Elsewhere in her interview with Clarkson, she shared the NSFW reaction she had to learning that she had the condition.

“Can I say it sucked balls?” she asked the talk show host, before emphasising how difficult it was for her to film Dead to Me and revealing that she has been experiencing symptoms of MS as early as four years ago. “Shooting the show was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life because I was diagnosed during shooting and I didn’t know what was happening. 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.’ I found out on a Monday after work that I had MS, a disease that I’m going to have for the rest of my life.”

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