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Christina Applegate said that she set more boundaries when it came to her MS diagnosis and work commitments than she did following her breast cancer diagnosis while starring in Samantha Who?
Speaking to Vanity Fair as part of an interview promoting Dead to Me that published during the first Emmy-voting window, the actress opened up about the status of the animated Married … With Children project, missing her Netflix series castmates and getting support from fellow actresses like Selma Blair and Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
During the sit-down, she also spoke about the adjustments to her daily life following her diagnosis. That now includes in-home caregivers and a “purgatory” pile of items at the top of her home’s stairs, which are brought down by her non-disabled friends since MS has affected Applegate’s balance.
While discussing the larger changes in her life and her appreciation that she no longer has to push herself through on-set working days with her condition, the Dead to Me star reflected on how she responded to her breast cancer diagnosis differently while working on the sitcom Samantha Who?, which debuted on ABC in 2007. Part of that response was waiting five weeks to tell anyone on set she had been diagnosed.
“I didn’t speak up for my boundaries back then,” she said. “I should have asked for some more time after one of my surgeries. I went back to work two weeks after my reconstruction. And that was really difficult for me to do.”
Applegate said part of her decision to return when she did was related to those she was working for who “were not very sympathetic or empathetic human beings.” Applegate clarified this was not the showrunners, but “the people at the network.”
“I didn’t feel like I could have that voice to be like, ‘You know what, it’s only been two weeks, and I’m in a lot of pain and maybe we should just let me have a second?'” she added.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to ABC for comment.
Applegate went on to say that with Dead to Me and her MS diagnosis, she had friends who were fellow actresses — Blair and Sigler — with MS who expressed regrets about not advocating for themselves earlier.
“They’ve said, ‘I wish someone had told me back at the beginning to say, ‘I need this. I need these boundaries.’ One of my friends has had it for 20 years. She’s an actress, and she hid it for 10 years and then pushed through and suffered because of it. She was like, ‘You need to tell them [what you need] now that you’ve let it out of the bag,” Applegate said, clarifying that the friend she was referring to was Sigler.
During the interview, Applegate also addressed why she called out Candace Owens on Twitter after the conservative political commentator criticized Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand for featuring a model who uses a wheelchair as part of an ad campaign.
“I had to say it because it’s crap,” she said. “I know how hard I tried to get my bra on today and I was stuck. And thank God Skims, the beautiful company that has adaptive clothing for people, sent me the one that you can just put on like a vest and it has things in the front for you to clip. With the underwear, you can just pull it up one leg and clip it on the other. We sometimes sit on the toilet for an hour because we can’t get our pants on.”
She added, “It was sad that that person — whose name I don’t speak — took so much space in my fucking energy field.”
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