A chronic disease that affects the central nervous system and occurs when the immune system attacks nerve fibers and sheathing in the brain and spinal cord, starting with this Emmy-winning actress… In August 2021, Christina Applegate revealed on Twitter that she’d been diagnosed with MS “a few months” earlier: “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,” she wrote. (Five months later, the “Married… With Children” alum, who’s also a breast cancer survivor, acknowledged that both she and “The Sweetest Thing” co-star Selma Blair have MS, writing that shooting the 2002 comedy was “so fun” and that it’s “sad both of us have MS.”) During an interview with The New York Timesin the fall of 2022 to promote the third and final season of “Dead to Me,” the Emmy winner revealed that production on the Netflix series took a five-month break for her to focus on her health: “There was the sense of, ‘Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better.’ There is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process the loss of my life, my loss of that part of me,” she said, adding that she’s angry and is “never going to accept” her diagnosis, which comes with new mobility issues. She went on to reveal that she depended on a wheelchair to navigate the show’s set, struggled to shoot on warmer days, and was unable to walk or stand without support. “This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am. 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,” she said. “If people hate [the new season] , if people love it, if all they can concentrate on is, ‘Ooh, look at the cripple,’ that’s not up to me. I’m sure that people are going to be, like, ‘I can’t get past it.’ Fine, don’t get past it, then. But hopefully, people can get past it and just enjoy the ride and say goodbye to [the characters] .” She also took to Twitter to share a photo of her new collection of walking sticks. “[They] are now part of my new normal,” shewrote in the caption.
In 2018, Selma Blair publicly shared that she’d been diagnosed with MS. A year later, she arrived at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party and walked the red carpet with a cane. Since then, the “Cruel Intentions” and “Legally Blonde” actress — who competed on “Dancing With the Stars” in the fall of 2022 but had to drop out during week 5 after doctors determined her body had “taken a hit” and the exertion had become “way too much for the safety of my bones,” Selma explained — has been incredibly candid about living with the disease and has given fans an inside look at her life in her book “Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up,” which was published in 2022. “Living with MS is not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s also way worse, she wrote, as reported by The Guardian. “My particular experience with this disease is that it has affected every inch of my body, from scalp to marrow. If I stand up too quickly, I fall. If I’m triggered by anything where I don’t know the outcome, I can’t speak. I sweat through my clothes, but I’m freezing.” She continued, “If I don’t take my meds, I cannot feel my body. I don’t know if I’m sopping wet or getting frostbite. Without my meds, I also lose the ability to speak. When I’m in a flare, I sound like a tantrum-throwing toddler, distraught and gasping for breath. I sometimes choke when I eat. I am sometimes incontinent.”
In October 2022, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” alum Emma Caulfield Ford revealed in an interview with Vanity Fairthat she was diagnosed with MS 12 years earlier. “I woke up one morning and the left side of my face felt like a million ants were crawling on it,” the “WandaVision” and, “Agatha: Coven of Chaos” actress said. “It was like an out-of-body experience… I’m like, ‘No, that’s not possible.’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ [The doctor] was very matter-of-fact about it. It was a kind of nightmare.” The “WandaVision” actress initially hid her condition from those she worked with because she “didn’t want to allow anyone not to hire me.” She explained, “There are already plenty of reasons to not hire people, reasons most actors don’t even know. ‘You look like my ex-girlfriend… You’re too short. You’re too tall. You look mean. You look too nice. You don’t have the right color eyes.’ I knew in my bones that if you talk about this, you were just going to stop working. That’s it.” Despite the challenges of the disease, Emma’s spirits are high. “Truthfully, my attitude is not crumbling under the fear of ‘what if’ or ‘what can,’ or ‘what has’ for other people,” she said. “I just have to keep going.”
Jack Osbourne was 26 when he was diagnosed with relapse-remitting MS in 2012. The news came just weeks after his first child, daughter Pearl, was born. Nearly a decade later, the former MTV reality TV star told People that he was feeling “great” despite his diagnosis. “I’m feeling well, you know, I haven’t had any significant MS flare-ups in a long time. I exercise a lot. I do a bunch of jujitsu. I’m great.”
In 2016, “The Sopranos” alum Jamie-Lynn Sigler publicly shared that she’d been secretly living with multiple sclerosis for 15 years at the time. “I can’t walk for a long period without rest. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me,” she told People magazine. “Stairs? I can do them, but they’re not the easiest. When I walk, I have to think about every single step, which is annoying and frustrating.” In 2019, Jamie-Lynn, who has two children with her husband Cutter Dykstra, penned an essay for Shondaland.com in which she said that MS has made her recognize how strong she is. “MS — any chronic illness becomes your whole family’s disease, not just your own. It affects our daily choices, and while sometimes I resent that, it has also made me see how strong I am,” she wrote. “I am there for [my kids] every day.”
Former talk show host Montel Williams revealed his MS diagnosis in 1999. At the time, he’d been living with the disease for 20 years. “I don’t consider myself a patient. I’m a survivor,” he said during the launch of “My MS: Second Act” in 2019. “It doesn’t make me any more special, but it’s allowed me to share with so many others who also suffer from MS.” Every time he was able to share his story, explained Montel — who founded The Montel Williams MS Foundation to help other survivors — “I got feedback from people who said it made a difference in their lives… It wasn’t like I had changed that much from before the diagnosis. But I also realized that by not being alone, by talking about it and sharing my experiences with others, I found people in similar circumstances.”
Comedian Richard Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. He lived with the increasingly debilitating disease for nearly 20 years, until he died in 2005 following his third heart attack. “MS is a very strange disease. I didn’t know anything was wrong at first, the s*** just crept up on me,” the lauded comic once told Entertainment Weekly, adding that “The MS started going downhill in 1990. … We take so much for granted, but man, lose the movement of your legs and you begin to take a closer look at life.”
Ann Romney, the wife of U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. An advocate for MS research, the former first lady of Massachusetts established the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 1999.
Oscar-nominated actress Teri Garr felt MS symptoms nearly 16 years before she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 1999. She went public with her diagnosis in 2002 when she appeared on “Larry King Life,” saying, “When things slowed down, it was either the MS or that I’m a stinking actress, so I chose to believe it’s the MS… There’s fear and misunderstanding out there about what MS is, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to me to go out and talk about it.”
Father-and-son singers Alan Osmond and David Osmond are both living with multiple sclerosis. Alan, a member of the famed family musical group The Osmonds, has primary-progressive MS, which is a less common type of the disease. David, who’s performed as a member of the Osmond Brothers Second Generation, has the most common form: relapse-remitting MS. “It took me some time before I was ready to take an active approach to treat MS. I eventually realized that I was just coping and not doing everything I could to actively manage the disease,” David told MS Focus Magazine. “Treating relapsing MS early is a crucial part of managing it… Everyone’s experience with relapsing MS is different, so I would encourage anyone living with the disease to talk with their doctor about which treatment option would be best for them.
Canadian R&B singer Tamia was diagnosed with MS in 2003. The “Into You” and “Officially Missing You” singer first felt symptoms around the same time her husband, former NBA player Grant Hill, was dealing with a knee injury. “Initially, I thought I was not going to tell anyone because I didn’t know exactly what it was,” she told Jet magazine. “I didn’t want anybody to take it as my being weak or anything. I just didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t have a lot of information on it.” The mom of two has since become more vocal about living with the autoimmune disease. “Ultimately one of the reasons that I could bounce back and get a grasp on my health right now is because I found it early. It’s important to know your body. If the doctors keep sending you home, keep going back until you get the answers that you need. That’s what I did.”
In 2019, Everclear rocker Art Alexakis penned an open letter to his fans revealing his MS diagnosis. The singer-guitarist discovered he had MS three years earlier following a car accident. He underwent a series of MRIs and other tests for the tingling and numbness he felt in his arm and was later told he has a relapse-remitting MS. “The more I found out about MS, the more a lot of things started making sense, he explained. “It explains why I have had balance and gait problems for the last 10 years, it helps explain why I have had a higher sensitivity to heat and cold, and why I don’t have the energy, vigor, and razor-sharp memory that I had 10 years ago. I thought it was just me getting older.”