Christina Applegate on shooting ‘Dead to Me’ with MS: ‘It was like torture’

Christina Applegate said that filming her Netflix series “Dead to Me” while having multiple sclerosis (MS) was “like torture.” 

In a new interview with Variety, Applegate, 50, opened up about finding out her heartbreaking MS diagnosis while in the middle of filming. 

“I didn’t know what was happening to me. That January, my toes got numb, and I ignored it. The balls of my foot got numb, and I ignored it. All of a sudden, I’d be, like, falling over. People were like, ‘Oh, it’s just neuropathy.’ At this point, they had to take me with a wheelchair to set because I couldn’t walk if the set was far. I was sleeping all the time, and I gained 40 pounds — a lot of things happened,” she said.

 Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in "Dead To Me" on lounge chairs.
Linda Cardellini (left) and Christina Applegate in “Dead To Me.”
Saeed Adyani / Netflix
Christina Applegate smiling.
Christina Applegate talked about the difficulty of shooting her show with MS.
AFP via Getty Images
Christina Applegate in 2019.
Christina Applegate in 2019.
Getty Images for Netflix

After getting her diagnosis “while we were working,” she said, “I had to call everybody and be like, ‘I have multiple sclerosis, guys. Like, what the f-ck!’ And then it was about kind of learning — all of us learning — what I was going to capable of doing. It had to be cold, because heat is our kryptonite. Can’t work those 18-hour days, you know? It was impossible.” 

The Emmy winner has made her health battle public for over year now. 

“A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS,” she tweeted in August 2021. “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.”

Since then, other celebs have rallied around her, including Selma Blair, her former “The Sweetest Thing” co-star who also has MS.

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in "Dead to Me" Season 3 holding out a food dish smiling.
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in “Dead to Me” Season 3.
Saeed Adyani
Linda Cardellini, left, and Christina Applegate in "Dead to Me" Season 1 smiling in a doorway.
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in a scene from the show’s first season.
AP
Moderator Alyssa Mastromonaco and Christina Applegate attend "Dead To Me" For Your Consideration panel in 2019 sitting in chairs on a stage.
Moderator Alyssa Mastromonaco and Christina Applegate attend “Dead To Me” For Your Consideration panel in 2019.
Getty Images

“Dead to Me,” which premiered in 2019, is a black comedy about a friendship between Jen (Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), two widows who bond in a grief support group. 

Applegate also revealed that Netflix was going to “pull the plug” on the show after her diagnosis, but she insisted the show must go on. 

“But I was like, “No, no, no, no, no, no: We have to finish this story,” she said. “It’s too important to our hearts; too important to our souls. And we have to give this gift, not only to ourselves — there are people that love these characters, and we’ve got to let them have their closure too.’ So, if that meant me having to take a break in the middle of the day so I could go sleep — or me just leaving because I couldn’t do anymore — then that’s what we had to do.

The third and final season of “Dead to Me” premieres Nov. 17 on Netflix.






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