After more than a decade of keeping quiet, Jamie-Lynn Sigler is finally ready to share something personal with the world. In an interview with People, the actor, best known for her work on The Sopranos, opened up about her health. The magazine revealed that Sigler has battled multiple sclerosis for the past 15 years, after being diagnosed at age 20. The 34-year-old recently made headlines for her marriage to long-time boyfriend Cutter Dykstra, and it's actually because of her wedding that she decided to open up. She told People,
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... I'm at a point in my life with my son, with my new marriage, it's a new me. I don't want to hold a secret where it feels like I have something to be ashamed of or have something to hide. It's part of me, but it's not who I am.
That last line is especially poignant; while she accepts having the debilitating disease, she also doesn't want it to define her. Sigler has a 2-year-old son, Beau, with Dykstra. Speaking of her son, she said, "I didn't want him to get to an age where he felt like he had to keep this secret for me as well. I wanted to be an example to him of strength and courage." She's certainly succeeding at that last part — she's so courageous.
Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is an incurable illness that attacks the central nervous system. It's incredibly brave for Sigler to be so open about struggling with the heartbreaking condition. Reportedly her symptoms have been stable for six years and she takes a twice-daily pill called Tecfidera. She said, "Things are manageable now. It takes a fighting attitude to deal with all this. This disease can absolutely take over your life if you let it."
Explaining how MS has affected her acting career, Sigler told People,
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.
All in all, Sigler is brave for not giving up and having a "fighting attitude," just as she says herself. By opening up about the disease, she proves it's nothing to be ashamed of and can set a courageous example for others battling MS. Plus, by sharing her story, she helps raise awareness, which in turn can hopefully lead to increased funding and finally finding a cure.