Selma Blair Wants to Keep Acting Following MS Diagnosis But Thinks It May Be ‘Too Late’

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Selma Blair is opening up about living with multiple sclerosis.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Blair, 46, reveals that she hasn't lost any of her desire to act following her diagnosis with the incurable, potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord last August. 

“I don’t know if I believed in myself or had the ambition before my diagnosis,” Blair says of continuing her career, which is marked by films including Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde. “And oddly now I do, and I don’t know if it’s too late.”

Blair's uncertainty surrounding her career post-MS diagnosis follows five years of uncertainty about what could be causing her symptoms, which included neck pain, vertigo, loss of feeling in her leg, anxiety and depression. All of the doctors' declarations that Blair was being "dramatic" about her symptoms came to an end when a new physician ordered an M.R.I., which revealed 20 lesions covering her brain.

Blair tells the magazine that she listened to Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason" while in the machine, cried for 10 minutes following the diagnosis and then got back to living her life. She revealed her disease to the public in an October Instagram post and just made her first public appearance since the announcement at Vanity Fair's Oscars party on Sunday.

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I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis . I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix , I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it . And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends , especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar @realfreddieprinze @tarasubkoff . My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something. #chrisregina #aaronmartin and every crew member... thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok. But if you see me , dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges. And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that mri. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know. And share. 🖤 my instagram family... you know who you are.

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“It wasn’t about announcing a dramatic diagnosis. I had no idea, for some reason, that news outlets would pick it up or anything,” Blair says. “When they did, I was kind of uncomfortable. Then I was worried, thinking, Will anyone hire me?”

“... I’m pretty much a nobody in Hollywood,” she adds. “But when I read comments on Instagram from people who were suffering, whether it was from MS, or anything, I thought, 'Holy s**t, there’s a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognizable.'”

After going public, Blair quips that she "reconnected with so many people who thought I might drop dead soon,” including Amy Schumer, Marc Jacobs and Kris Jenner.

Jenner, whom Blair portrayed in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, sent Blair flowers that "were more expensive than my mortgage." The gesture reconnected the two women and Jenner has come to greatly admire Blair.

“She really is sharing something so vulnerable, and so scary,” Jenner says. “She showed me what courage is, and how to be brave. I changed a bit of the way I live my life because of her.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Blair's Cruel Intentions co-star, also speaks highly of her longtime friend, revealing that "there's a calmness to her" since the diagnosis.

"I think now she knows she can’t do everything, and it’s OK, some days, if she can’t," Gellar says. "… It’s been wonderful to watch her be more settled, more content, and almost more in control of herself in a weird way.”

Blair's new physical limitations -- which include having trouble dressing, uncontrollable noises from her body and an inability to raise her arms to brush her hair (hence her new bob) -- have resulted in a new closeness to her 7-year-old son Arthur and a "humility and a joy... albeit a fatigued joy."

“He wants to be closer to my body more, and I can tell he wants to make sure I’m still here inside," she says. "I used to be so athletic with him. Now I fall in front of him.”

Along with her MS diagnosis, Blair says “there were a couple of experiences in my recent adult life that transformed me.” One of those was a 2016 incident on a plane where she was removed from the aircraft when she blacked out after mistakenly taking an Ambien pill that she thought was her anxiety medication. When a doctor told Blair that her diagnosis would cause her life to "forever be different," Blair says she thought, "Well, thank God."

Though she says she wasn't drinking during the plane incident, it did prompt her to quit drinking, something she previously used to self-soothe in order to combat her emotional pain and cover up her unexplained physical discomfort.

“After I had my son and he’d go to his dad’s [fashion designer Jason Bleick], I started drinking because of the pain, one, of him not being with me, and two, my physical pain was so extreme that I would drink by myself," she admits. "That was also a warning to me. I’ve never been one who handled alcohol like a lady. I was self-medicating.”

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There are moments that define us. This is one of those indelibly watermarked in my heart. This is #troynankin ; my former publicist turned manager , best friend , and fake husband. We joke. I have become a different woman in the last few years, through struggles and the intense pride of motherhood. @vanityfair has always been a champion of mine, like Troy. And yet, I have not fully realized my capabilities as an actress. I wanted to be at this red carpet to remember my first time attending with a not yet famous friend, @jakegyllenhaal . I believed in him and his career and wanted him there. And this dinner always symbolizes so much. And I kept going because it was always a night in hollywood that was full of hollywood dreams with all the talent present in their glory. I loved to watch. I was invited this year. I am featured in March issue . Thank you @radhikajones @kristasmith @samiranasr #juliemiller @cassblackbird . So this was a streak of light. To say I am here. I am still in an exacerbation so there was some nervousness. I don’t do anything the way I was once able. I will though. I can regain much. Mommas gotta work. And I will be able to do so much more on my own, But this man. Until that comes ...This man and a host of others light the way and hold the moon @thetexastroya was a hero. Wanting me to shine brightly in a time that can be so challenging. He knew I wanted to be able to stand proudly as the woman I have become and hope to be. To be a part of something so special when my body won’t move clearly yet. And then I felt the love from the photographers who have watched me goof around on red carpets since I was in my twenties. I felt the warmth of the bulbs. The strength of my gown. His attentive touch. And still I hoped my brain could send signals for the remainder of my time there. And I sobbed. And I appreciated every single second. Every surprising tear, he was there. As he has always been. And that is the reason I could. Thank you Troy. We got me just where I wanted to be. For a night. And I later pushed my way into a family photo with @dianaross (omg) . So much to post but not before this one. True love. Right here. Forever.

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Though Blair "never thought" her MS would "get this bad," she's focusing her efforts on bringing attention to people with disabilities.

"I really feel like people with disabilities are invisible to a lot of people," she says. "Because they’re uncomfortable, or don’t have the energy to dress up, don’t want to be seen... I wasn’t sensitive to it before I became like this.”

“I would like to partner with someone like Christian Siriano on a line for everyone, not just people who necessarily need adaptive clothing, but for those who want comfort, too," she adds. "It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style."

Through the struggles of navigating her MS, Blair remains firm that "there's no tragedy for me."

"I’m happy, and if I can help anyone be more comfortable in their skin, it’s more than I’ve ever done before," she says.


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