Jamie Lynn Sigler is opening up about why her kept her multiple sclerosis diagnosis a secret for 15 years.
In a new interview with "Today's" Matt Lauer, the actress revealed it was an "industry professional" who advised her to hide the disease because they said it would affect her career.
"I know they were looking out for me at the time but they said, 'Pretend you didn't tell me that, and I don't think you should ever tell anyone that you have this disease. Because people will limit you, people will judge you and they won't hire you,'" she recalled. "And I took that advice. I was 20 years old, I was scared and I thought that was the best thing."
The "Sopranos" alum admitted that she told some of her costars, who vowed to keep the information private. "Them and my friends and my family, they have fiercely protected me over these years and they wanted me to come out. I just wasn't ready, I was afraid, but I'm not anymore," she said.
Now that Jamie's diagnosis is out in the open, she said she feels relieved.
"You know, I lived with this secret that caused me to have so many feelings of shame and guilt and fear for so many years and so I think to finally sort of feel like I'm claiming my power back and being confident with the person that I am, I feel a great weight off my shoulders," she declared.
Sigler also admitted that she felt ashamed for keeping such a big secret for so long. "It sounds crazy but when you hold a secret those feelings just come along with that, especially when you hold a secret as long as I did," she said. "And you know, with something like MS, you lose control over things that you once had and it's slowly taken away from you and that could chip away at your self-worth and you can feel less-than and a lot of negative feelings and you know, you have to ask for help sometimes – which is something I'm not good at doing, but you have to be able to reach out and when you have a good support system like I have I think it helps a lot."
The former child star isn't letting anything get in the way of her career.
"I'm excited about the future. I'm excited to go back to work without feeling that I have something to hide, I feel like I'll be a better actress for it now that I can show up and really be me," she said. "I understand that some people may not want to hire me and some people may and I'm open to it but I have every intention of continuing my career."