Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler has bravely revealed she has been battling multiple sclerosis for the past 15 years.
Just days after her wedding to baseball player Cutter Dykstra, 26, the actress told how she was diagnosed with the degenerative disease when she was just 19-years-old.
Jamie-Lynn, who has a two-year-old son Beau, told how she wasn’t ready to reveal her condition to the public until now.
In an emotional interview with People magazine at her Hollywood Hills home, she said: “I wasn’t ready until now. You’d think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it’s still hard to accept.’
Jamie-Lynn said she first realized there was a problem when she experienced a tingling sensation and heaviness in her legs, but the diagnosis of MS came as a shock and she feared she would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Shortly after her diagnosis, she married her first husband, manager Abraxas (A.J.) Discala in 2003 but the pair divorced three years later.
She told People it was after their split her health deteriorated and she became reclusive as a result.
‘I was having a lot of weakness in my right side and things that are awful and embarrassing like incontinence, ‘ she said.
The 34-year-old actress has since appeared in stage productions of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, but says her symptoms have worsened over the past decade.
She said: ‘I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting.
‘I cannot run. No superhero roles for me. 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.’
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system.
The disease disrupts the flow of information within the brain itself, as well as between the brain and the rest of the body.
The Sopranos actress portrayed Meadow Soprano throughout the HBO show’s six seasons and she said she confided in a few cast members, including her on screen father, the late James Gandolfini, who ‘was very aware and protective in general, but especially after I told him. ‘
Jamie-Lynn said she told her new husband, Cutter, who she married on Saturday in Palm Springs, CA, a week into dating.
Cutter told People: ‘I know she was nervous in telling me. But I just wanted to make her not feel so alone… to know that I would always be there.’
Jamie-Lynn told the magazine she has tried a wide range of medication for the condition and she is now on Tecfidera which she takes twice a day.