Selma Blair, Christina Applegate, And More Who Have Spoken About Their MS Diagnosis

 Introducing Selma Blair doc and Christina Applegate in Dead To Me.
Introducing Selma Blair doc and Christina Applegate in Dead To Me.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects your brain, spinal cord, and your eyes’ optic nerves. Everyone with MS experiences different symptoms and varying ranges of severity. From Selma Blair to Christina Applegate and more, here are a number of celebrities who have told their stories about what it was like when they were first diagnosed with MS.

christina applegate on dead to me
christina applegate on dead to me

Christina Applegate

Known for starring in sitcoms like Married…with Children and movies like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, actress Christina Applegate joined one of Netflix’s best shows, Dead to Me, in 2019, which went on for three seasons. Shockingly enough, Applegate revealed on Good Morning America that it was during her run on this black comedy-drama that she first noticed the symptoms of multiple sclerosis:

I probably had it for six or seven years, I think. I noticed, especially the first season [of Dead to Me], we’d be shooting and my leg would buckle. I really just put it off as being tired, or I’m dehydrated, or it’s the weather. Then nothing would happen for months, and I didn’t pay attention. But when it hit this hard, I had to pay attention.

The Primetime Emmy Award winner endured challenges during her time on the Netflix series such as having trouble walking and even having a sound department crew member hold her legs while standing. Applegate’s debilitating symptoms may have made live-action acting a challenge for her, but the Anchorman actress said on an episode of Armchair Expert how she plans on supporting herself and her daughter through voiceover work:

As long as I can speak, I'd love to do that. That'd be fun. Mama needs to do something.

Selma Blair as Vivian in Legally Blonde
Selma Blair as Vivian in Legally Blonde

Selma Blair

You may recognize Selma Blair from her roles in Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, and playing Kris Jenner in FX’s American Crime Story. In 2018, Blair shared with her fans on Instagram that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis:

I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of [Dr. Jason Berkley] trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know.

Blair has done plenty to raise awareness of her disease such as putting out a clothing line for people with MS and being the subject of the documentary Introducing, Selma Blair about her life following her diagnosis. She explained on ABC News that it was through telling her own story of MS she saw how important disability awareness was:

I became a kind of face for the disease, an advocate for something that matters to me. Though it’s a role I never thought I would play, it has become who I am. It is important to talk about it. When it comes to chronic illnesses, there’s a lot of shame in disclosing one’s experiences.

Jack Osbourne in Jack's Most Haunted
Jack Osbourne in Jack's Most Haunted

Jack Osbourne

When TV and music star Jack Osbourne was 26, BBC reported he went through a series of tests due to losing 60% of vision in his right eye. Once the British star was told he had multiple sclerosis, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for him considering his daughter, Pearl, was born three weeks before:

The timing was so bad. I'd just had a baby, work was going great - I kept thinking: 'Why now?'

With a “mild form” of the condition, Osbourne competed on Dancing with the Stars a year later, in Season 17, placing third. While the media personality was forced to leave the reality series Special Forces in late 2023 due to heart-related issues, he told Entertainment Weekly the message that he wants people with MS to hear:

For me, I know what I need, I know what I require. I know, and it's taken time, and I've been able to maintain my physicality as best I can. The other most important thing is to communicate about it, because mental health issues are a huge component when you have multiple sclerosis, and it's something that gets overlooked because it's not necessarily an outward physical issue. That's the internal side of it, and that weighs heavy.

Anya in Buffy Season 6
Anya in Buffy Season 6

Emma Caulfield Ford

Emma Caulfield Ford is most well known for playing former demon Anya Jenkins in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, the American actress told Vanity Fair that she woke up one morning back in 2010 feeling like “there were a million ants crawling” on the left side of her face. While originally thinking it was all work stress, a neurologist gave her the shocking diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Ford didn’t reveal her MS publicly until 2022, in fear she wouldn’t be hired in Hollywood:

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’re just going to stop working. That’s it.

As for how Caulfield Ford is doing now, she spoke to People in March 2024 and said that her symptoms are very mild, while she still experiences slight sensitivity to heat and stress. Fortunately, she hasn’t experienced debilitating symptoms associated with MS like flare-ups, muscle weakness, and fatigue:

I’m very, very fortunate. But I’m also aware that, with MS, this could all change tomorrow…. I’m stable — and I’ve made it a huge priority to do things so I stay that way.

These celebrities are all incredibly brave and admirable for sharing their stories of first being diagnosed with a disease as debilitating as MS. Based on each celebrity's account, symptoms are unpredictable and differ in severity for each person. But, one thing these celebrity stories have in common is the ability to find a positive outlook on life and use their experiences to raise awareness of this chronic disease.