Christina Applegate will be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next week, and to mark the occasion she sat down with Variety for an extensive interview covering the past, present and uncertain future of her acting career in the wake of her multiple sclerosis diagnosis last year.
In addition, next week will also see the debut of the third and final season of Netflix comedy “Dead to Me”, a role that she describes as “a gift.”
Playing Jen Harding in the series, she admitted, could be the end of the line for her. That role, she mused, is “quite possibly the last one I’ll play. With my disease, I don’t know how capable I am.”
READ MORE: Christina Applegate Shares Support For Fellow ‘Immunocompromised’ Celebrity Selena Gomez After Watching Her Powerful Documentary ‘My Mind And Me’
She also opened up about receiving her MS diagnosis, admitting the experience was “as hard as you would possibly think it would be. I mean, I found out at work.”
She recalled the unusual symptoms she’d experienced prior to her diagnosis.
“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.
READ MORE: Christina Applegate Announces First Public Outing Since Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis
“I got diagnosed while we were working, and I had to call everybody and be like, ‘I have multiple sclerosis, guys. Like, what the f**k!” And then it was about kind of learning — all of us learning — what I was going to be 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. They were so loving: If I called them in the morning, and was like, ‘Guys, I can’t get down the stairs,’ they were like, ‘Okay! We won’t do today. We’ll do other stuff.’ Netflix even let us take a break for a couple of months so that I could mourn, and find treatment. They actually were looking at the dailies, going, ‘OK, we need we need to let her go, and take care of this right now.’ Because you can see the struggle, and you can see it through the whole season. You can see that I’m in pain.”
Despite her illness, Applegate was adamant that not completing the final season of “Dead to Me” was not an option.
READ MORE: Christina Applegate Wanted To Finish Filming ‘Dead To Me’ On ‘Her Own Terms’ Despite MS Diagnosis
“I haven’t watched it, and I don’t think I will, because it’s too hard for me,” she said of the upcoming third season. “But I couldn’t have done it without this need to tell our story. They were gonna pull the plug, you know? Because it was like torture — and they felt like they were torturing me, too. But I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no: We have to finish this story. 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.”
As for what the future holds, Applegate admits that remains an open question.
“It’s about finding what I’m capable of doing. I’m so new in this right now. It takes time to kind of figure out this disease, and figure out what’s bringing on symptoms. I’m just a newbie to all of this,” she explained. “So I’m trying to figure it out — and I’m also in mourning for the person that I was. I have to find a place that’s as loving as my set was, where they won’t think I’m a diva by saying, ‘Hey, I can only work five hours.'”
READ MORE: Christina Applegate Marks 50th Birthday By Sharing Message Of Hope To Everyone ‘Hurting’ Following MS Diagnosis
At the moment, she’s experiencing severe fatigue. “I’m very tired all the time. That’s the flare that I’m having now — I sleep,” she said, explaining that she takes her daughter to school in the morning, “and then I come home and sleep until I have to pick her up. I’m getting stronger. I’ve done the Peloton like six days in a row, which is amazing. That wouldn’t have happened eight months ago.”
However, Applegate is also cognizant of that fact that “Dead Like Me” may well be her final onscreen performance.
“I don’t know. I’m pretty convinced that this was it, you know?” she admitted. “But who knows — I’m probably gonna get real bored of being in my room. I’d like to develop stuff, I’d like to produce stuff. I’ve got a lot of ideas in my mind, and I just need to get them executed.”