Christina Applegate has revealed she has gained 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and suffered a rapid decline in mobility since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
While filming the third and final season of Dead to Me in August 2021, Applegate was diagnosed with MS and production was halted for five months so she could begin her treatment.
In light of her health news, Netflix considered cancelling the show indefinitely during the production pause. However, Applegate felt she "had an obligation" to both Dead to Me creator Liz Feldman and her friend and co-star Linda Cardellini, as well as the story, to complete the season.
In an interview with The New York Times, the 50-year-old acknowledged that the show's concluding chapter, which airs on 17 November, will be the first time the public has seen her since her diagnosis.
"This is the first time anyone has seen me as I am. I gained 40 pounds and now need a cane to walk. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that," she said.
She also expressed her hope that Dead to Me viewers will be able to look past her new appearance, although the publication notes that her "illness is nearly invisible onscreen" thanks to clever camera tricks.
"If people hate it, if people love it, if all they can concentrate on is, 'Ooh, look at the cripple,' that's not up to me," she stated. "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 these two girls."
During the interview, Applegate also revealed there were early signs of the disease, mentioning losing her balance in a dance scene during the first season. She later noticed her tennis game was lacking, but told herself that she simply needed to work harder.