Getting COVID was an especially scary experience for Jeff Bridges.

In a new interview with People, the 72-year-old actor opens up about contracting COVID while undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early 2021.

READ MORE: Jeff Bridges Says Cancer Is In Remission, Reveals He Also Had COVID-19

Jeff Bridges – Photo: Jeff Lipsky
Jeff Bridges – Photo: Jeff Lipsky

“I had no defences. That’s what chemo does — it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it,” he says. “COVID made my cancer look like nothing.”

Bridges recalls being in hospital for nearly five months, struggling with extreme pain and the inability to even roll over without getting a nurse to help him with his oxygen supply.

“I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.’ I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality,” the actor admits.

Thankfully, Bridges did manage to improve after receiving convalescent plasma treatment, in which blood is used from people who have previously recovered from an illness.

“I started taking baby steps,” he says, recalling that eventually he began doing physiotherapy to get back into shape.

READ MORE: Jeff Bridges Feels ‘Terrific’ After Lymphoma Battle

In the end, Bridges sees some positive in his frightening experience, including spending time with his wife, their daughters, and grandchildren.

“Who would say, ‘I’d love some cancer and give me a dose of COVID’? But my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened,” he says. “Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way.”