Christina Applegate Credits Her Sick Sense of Humor With Helping Her Through MS Battle: 'It's How I Live'

The 'Dead to Me' star was diagnosed with MS in 2021.

Christina Applegate is shedding light on her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis (MS) by using her trademark humor and candor.

Diagnosed with MS in 2021, the 52-year-old actress has been navigating the challenges of the degenerative neurological condition with resilience and wit. 

During Monday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Dead to Me star walked onto the set with a cane, poking fun at her health struggles. "I was thinking, 'Wouldn't it be funny if I came out and I did a somersault like Willy Wonka?'" she joked. "And then I was like, 'ta-da.' You'd be... 'She is such a liar.' I'm not. I literally am disabled."

In noting their previous text exchanges, host Jimmy Kimmel acknowledged Applegate's "sick sense of humor," to which she admitted, "It's how I live. It's how I keep myself OK." She emphasized the importance of finding laughter even in the face of adversity. "If I wasn't laughing, I'd be crying all the time," she confessed.

However, Applegate didn't shy away from acknowledging the harsh reality of living with MS. "I mean, it sucks. I'm not going to lie," she candidly remarked. "And I think anyone who has MS isn't going to be like, 'This is the best thing that ever happened to me.'"

Despite the challenges, Applegate finds solace in humor, a coping mechanism she demonstrated on JKL. She teased the audience as she discussed wearing absorbent underwear due to her reduced mobility, quipping, "It was a joke. You guys don't get me!"

Following a five-month hiatus on Dead to Me production, during which she received treatment, Applegate -- who had first appeared on screen at three months old -- insisted on finishing the show. According to the Times, however, it was not easy for Applegate, who needed a wheelchair to go to set, struggled with the steps to her trailer, and whose character opened doors so she could lean on them. 

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"Shooting the show," she said during a remote appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, "was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life."

For her first public appearance since her diagnosis, Applegate stepped out with a walking stick to accept her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "Oh, by the way, I have a disease," she quipped during her speech. "Did you not notice? I'm not wearing shoes! Anywho, you're supposed to laugh at that."

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Despite the difficulties she's faced, Applegate forged ahead into the 2023 awards season as she earned Emmy, Critics' Choice, and SAG Award nominations for her final performance as Jen Harding. She stepped out, walking stick in hand, for all three. The SAG Awards were particularly special as it was potentially her final time attending as an actor. 

"It’s my last awards show as an actor probably, so it’s kind of a big deal," she told the Los Angeles Times. "Right now, I couldn’t imagine getting up at 5 a.m. and spending 12 to 14 hours on a set; I don’t have that in me at this moment."

Following the postponement of the 2023 Emmys to January 2024, Applegate received the warmest of welcomes when she stepped out onto the stage as the first presenter that night, accompanied by host Anthony Anderson, to a standing ovation. 

She is now co-hosting a podcast with Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who also has MS, called MeSsy, which is about their condition.