Christina Applegate was on the set of Dead to Me Season 3 in the summer of 2021 when she received the news: she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and central nervous system.
The show couldn't continue without Applegate as Jen Harding, so when the 50-year-old actress was diagnosed, Netflix almost canceled the rest of the season. But she insisted on finishing the series and completing the story of two unlikely but inseparable friends, Jen and Judy (Linda Cardellini).
Christina Applegate 'Pissed' At Her Diagnosis
Although there is no known cure for MS, therapies can assist patients in recovering more quickly from episodes and alter the course of the illness. For five months, the team stopped work on Dead to Me Season 3 while Applegate started receiving treatment.
"There was the sense of, 'Well, let's get her some medicine so she can get better,'" Applegate explained to the New York Times. "And there is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me. So I needed that time."
MS varies greatly amongst individuals. Some patients with severe MS lose their ability to walk, while others may go for long periods of time without experiencing any new symptoms. The award-winning actor shared that completing Dead to Me Season 3 was the most difficult thing she's ever had to accomplish.
"Although it's not like I came on the other side of it, like, 'Woohoo, I'm totally fine,'" she continued. "Acceptance? No. I'm never going to accept this. I'm pissed."
Applegate shared a photo of her numerous walking sticks on Oct. 27. She revealed to her followers that she never longer leaves the house without one. Walking sticks have become a part of her "new normal," she said.
Dead to Me Season 3 Almost Got Shelved
Applegate claimed that the producers of Dead to Me discussed canceling the rest of Season 3's filming. She persisted in starting the third and final season, though, and seeing it through.
The Dead to Me Season 3 script only had minor blocking revisions (staging the actors). In order for Jen to lean against them, Jen would open doors rather than Judy. The team also cut down on the number of shots of Jen entering rooms.
"I had an obligation to Liz and to Linda, to our story," Applegate continued to the outlet. "The powers that be were like, 'Let's just stop. We don't need to finish it. Let's put a few episodes together.' I said, 'No. We're going to do it, but we're going to do it on my terms.'"
Dead to Me Season 3 premieres Nov. 17 on Netflix.