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Christina Applegate Discusses the Difficulties of Watching Herself in “Dead to Me” After MS Diagnosis

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Christina Applegate, who confirmed her MS diagnosis in 2021, disclosed that she found it challenging to watch her performance in Dead to Me due to her multiple sclerosis. The actress, who gained 40 lbs. because of inactivity and medications, waited for months before watching the Netflix comedy after season three was released. “I don’t like seeing myself struggling,” she said, “and I didn’t look like myself, and I didn’t feel like myself.” When she eventually watched the show, she had to stop periodically as it became too painful.

“At some point I was able to distance myself from my own ego, and realize what a beautiful piece of television it was,” Applegate told the outlet. “All the scenes I wasn’t in were so much fun to see and experience for the very first time.”

Despite Applegate’s performance in Dead to Me earning her a number of nominations, including her sixth-ever SAG nomination for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series, she admitted that the upcoming SAG Awards will most likely be her last as she continues to deal with the impacts from the disease. “It’s my last awards show as an actor probably, so it’s kind of a big deal,” Applegate shared. “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.”

Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August 2021 while filming the third season of her Netflix dramedy Dead to Me. In a virtual appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show back in December, she revealed that she typically uses her job as an actress to distract her from any of her real-life problems. “I’ve probably been going through grief and trauma my whole life, and acting was the place that I got to go to not feel it, you know?” she said at the time, adding that she used acting to avoid dealing with past breakups, trauma, deaths and breast cancer.

“The beauty of Dead to Me is that it gave me almost this weird platform of dealing with it, where I didn’t have to be on all the time and I didn’t have to make all the jokes and I could fall apart in a scene,” Applegate explained. “And it was, like, me. It was my soul actually falling apart, unfortunately, in front of the world, but it was cathartic in a beautiful way.”

The Bad Moms star said she also copes with the diagnosis with humor so others can treat her the same as before her MS was public. “Yeah, my humor shields keep me OK, but, of course, down on the insides, you feel the things,” she said on the show. “And I do it to kind of deflect and then also make people not be scared to be around me, you know? When people see me now as a disabled person, I want them to feel comfortable that we can laugh about it.”