Christina Applegate Tears Up Recalling First Learning of Her MS Diagnosis

The 'Dead to Me' star says she believes she's had MS for years before being diagnosed.

Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are opening up about their lives since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a way they never have before. In an intimate sit-down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Applegate, 52, and Sigler, 42, reflect on the bond they've developed over the incurable disease, with which Applegate was diagnosed in 2021, and Sigler was diagnosed in 2001.

Applegate first went public with her diagnosis in August 2021. The then-49-year-old actress shared the news on Twitter, writing, "Hi friends. 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."

After coming forward about her MS, Applegate -- who began in the entertainment industry as a baby -- was met with an outpouring of support, including from her The Sweetest Thing co-star, Selma Blair, who was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, as well as Josh Gad, Sean Maguire and many others.

As Applegate explains to Roberts, her MS diagnosis was discovered after she was unable to walk on her own while filming the final season of her hit Netflix show, Dead to Me.

"My symptoms had started in the early part of 2021, and it was, like, literally just tingling on my toes," Applegate recalls. "And by the time we started shooting in the summer of that same year, I was being brought to set in a wheelchair. Like, I couldn't walk that far."

Applegate credits Blair with urging her to get tested for the disease. "She goes, 'You need to be checked for MS,' and I said, 'No.' I said, 'Really? The odds? The two of us from the same movie? Come on, that's not gonna be -- that doesn't happen,'" Applegate shares, adding of Blair, "She knew. If not for her, it could have been way worse."


According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis is "a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system)." Other celebrities who have also gone public with their MS battles aside from the Dead to Me actress and Blair include Jack Osbourne and Montel Williams. 

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. In addition to having no known cause and no known cure, MS can be hard to recognize.

Applegate shares that she believes she had been suffering from MS for "years" before being officially diagnosed, citing incidents of possible symptoms when filming the first season of Dead to Me

"I really just kind of put it off as being tired, or I'm dehydrated, or it's the weather," she reveals, adding that her legs would sometimes give out from under her. "And then nothing would happen for, like, months, and I didn't pay attention."

Reflecting on how much her life has changed since her diagnosis, Applegate tells Roberts, "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."

"I live kind of in hell," she adds. "I'm not out a lot, so this is a little difficult just for my system." 

Although Sigler publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2016, she had been diagnosed 15 years earlier, when she was 20 years old and starring in The Sopranos. The mother of two tells Roberts that as someone who tends to be more optimistic about the debilitating disease, her friendship with Applegate encouraged her to be more honest and vulnerable.

"For so long, I have been celebrated for being the strong one and the positive one that it felt like I was not that if I would admit that some days were hard," Sigler says. "But she really pushed me to be able to say that, because I thought I was letting people down if I would talk about how hard it was sometimes."

It was their bond that led to their new podcast, MeSsy, which is debuting on March 19. 


The duo will share their journey with MS, which Sigler describes as having the listener "eavesdropping" on their intimate conversations.

"That's all it is, and to me, those are my favorite podcasts, where you feel like you just got to, like, somehow listen in on a conversation with people," she shares. "There's no format, no agenda, no questions that were coming, and it's messy. It's for sure a mess."

Applegate says she hopes listeners will feel seen and heard about their own issues, whether they have MS or something else. 

"I've been playing a character called Christina for 40 years, who I wanted everybody to think I was because it's easier," she says, admitting that she is opening up in a way she never has before. "But this is, it's kind of my coming out party. Like, this is... the person I've been this whole time. I was kind of putting on a little act for everybody for so long because I just thought that was easier -- be light, be funny ... don't make people uncomfortable. And I don't care anymore."

It wasn't the first time Applegate, who is mom to 13-year-old daughter Sadie with husband Martyn LeNoble, has battled a health issue. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and had a double mastectomy later that same year. Applegate's foundation, Right Action for Women, offers free MRIs for high-risk women.