In a new interview with The New York Times, the actress opened up about the challenges she faced while shooting the third and final season of the Netflix series following her MS diagnosis, which she publicly revealed in August 2021.
Applegate said she had signs of MS years prior, including once becoming off-balance while shooting a dance scene for "Dead to Me" Season 1.
"I wish I had paid attention. But who was I to know?" she said.
After Applegate received her diagnosis in the summer of 2021, production on the third and final season of "Dead to Me" was halted for about five months so she could start undergoing treatment.
"There was the sense of, 'Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better," she told the NY 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."
"Although it’s not like I came on the other side of it, like, 'Woohoo, I’m totally fine,'" she said. "Acceptance? No. I'm never going to accept this. I'm pissed."
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It can impact the flow of information from the brain to the body -- though it manifests differently in different patients -- and is incurable.
Applegate said she decided to do the interview with The New York Times ahead of "Dead to Me's" release later this month so that viewers will understand why she may appear different.
"This is the first time anyone's going to see me the way I am," she said. "I put on 40 pounds; I can't walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that."
Despite her illness, the Emmy winner said she was determined to finish shooting the show, noting that she felt that she "had an obligation" to the show's creator Liz Feldman and her co-star Linda Cardellini.
"The powers that be were like, 'Let's just stop. We don't need to finish it. Let's put a few episodes together,'" she recalled. "I said, 'No. We're going to do it, but we're going to do it on my terms.'"
Applegate went on to share how her experience on set was different following her diagnosis. She said she wasn't able to work to the same extent or as long as she used to. She recalled having trouble getting down the stairs of her trailer, said a wheelchair would bring her to set and shared that a crew member -- and longtime friend -- would hold her legs up for her off-screen for certain scenes. The "Anchorman" star also revealed that there were some days she wasn't able to show up to set.
And while production had to make some blocking changes the script only rarely needed to be altered.
According to The New York Times, a large portion of the final season -- coincidentally -- centers on illness, per the outlet. Applegate admitted that filming those scenes proved to be even more challenging, saying, "When Linda and I would do those scenes, it crushed us sometimes."
However, the "Married with Children" alum praised her co-star for being her support system. "She was my champion, my warrior, my voice," Applegate said. "It was like having a mama bear."
Although she insisted on pushing through so the show could have a worthy conclusion, Applegate admitted that she likely won't watch the final season.
"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 said. "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."
The final season of "Dead to Me" hits Netflix on November 17.
Read more about other celebrities who have spoken out about their battles with MS in the post, below.