As reported, Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was at the height of her fame on HBO’s The Sopranos. Although she confided in her late co-star James Gandolfini, who played her father on the show, Jamie-Lynn said that she wasn’t ready to open up about her diagnosis.
Now, Sigler has received interest by speaking out about her diagnosis. In a new interview, the actress and mother of a 2-year-old boy Beau, said that she felt misunderstood by her diagnosis.
According to E!’s Maria Menounos, Sigler said that people who have multiple sclerosis often feel misunderstood when it comes to understanding M.S.
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To elaborate, she spoke about a recent doctor’s visit, and how leaving the office with good news, was at times frustrating.
“For six years my symptoms in the disease for me have been stable. I actually went to my doctor about three months ago for a check-up, and he said, ‘You know, if you came in today I wouldn’t diagnose you with M.S..”
Even though she received a good bill of health, Sigler said she felt frustrated.
“I still feel it and I still feel like things are wrong,. They’re not right…while that’s great news and encouraging for my doctor to say, I think a lot of people with M.S…you feel really misunderstood.”
That said, Sigler detailed that living with multiple sclerosis is a catch-22. She said that she didn’t want to complain all of the time, but at the same time she still doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body because it doesn’t feel normal to her.
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If her own insecurity wasn’t enough, Sigler said that she was also advised to keep her illness a secret from those in the industry, because her career at the time was red hot. The 34-year-old told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show, that when she was first diagnosed at 20-years-old, she was bossed around on how to deal with it.
“I know they were looking out for me at the time but they said, ‘I’m going to 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,’ And I took that advice. I was 20 years old and I was scared and I thought that was the best thing.”
At the end of the day, it caused her to live with the secret. That said, she’s no longer living with the disease alone, and this is her way to claim her own power over the situation. Of opening up publicly about her M.S. diagnosis, Sigler said, “I feel a great weight off my shoulders.”
Although she received some bad advice from a big wig in the business, Sigler only had fond words for her Sopranos family. “Them and my friends and my family, they have fiercely protected me over these years. They wanted me to come out, and encouraged me and I just wasn’t ready.”
Although she does seem like she’s thriving, Sigler did say that she has struggled with symptoms over the past five years, and that the disease itself slowly takes things away from you that you could do before the diagnosis. Often, Sigler said that it can, “chip away at your self worth and you can feel less than and a lot of negative feelings.”
The actress said that at times she’s not as coordinated as she used to be and the right side of her body has some weaknesses.
[Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Feld Entertainment]