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Christina Applegate on MS: “Acceptance? No. I’m Never Going to Accept This. I’m Pissed”

Season 3 of Dead to Me premieres November 17th on Netflix

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Christina Applegate, photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

    Christina Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) while filming the third and final season of Netflix’s Dead to Me, and in a revealing new interview with The New York Times, she spoke about the toll it’s taken on her body and mind.

    The interview also served as a reintroduction. “This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am,” she said. “I put on 40 pounds; I can’t walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that.”

    MS is an autoimmune disease which damages the myelin sheaths covering nerve cells, disrupting signals to and from the brain. It is not inherently fatal, though it can lead to dangerous complications with swallowing, bowel impairments, and more, as well as issues with speech, vision, and pain.

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    Applegate first sensed that something might be wrong while dealing with unexpected dizziness during a dance scene in Season 1 of Dead to Me, and later noted that she seemed to be getting worse at tennis. “I wish I had paid attention,” she said. “But who was I to know?”

    Over time, she noticed more and more a tingling and numbness in her fingers and toes, and in 2021 her doctors finally identified the cause. She had conversations with producers about canceling Season 3, but Applegate was determined to finish what she’d started. “I had an obligation to [series creator] Liz [Feldman] and to [co-star] Linda [Cardellini], to our story,” she said. “The powers that be were like, ‘Let’s just stop. We don’t need to finish it. Let’s put a few episodes together.’ I said, ‘No. We’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it on my terms.’”

    Applegate appeared as a baby in Days of Our Lives and joined the Screen Actors Guild in Kindergarten. She went straight from  Married… with Children to the title role on Jesse, and in a career that’s included two Anchorman films, Samantha Who? and an Emmy for a featured part on Friends, she has rarely stepped off-set. But before she finished Season 3 of Dead to Me, she took a five month break.

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