Christina Applegate was honored for talent and bravery as she collected her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Dead to Me star, making her first public appearance since her multiple sclerosis diagnosis last year, debuted her walking stick at Monday's event, but leaned on her Married … With Children TV mom Katey Sagal, who helped Applegate to the podium and physically supported her during her speech. She attended the event sans shoes to be more comfortable amid her mobility challenges.
"I can't stand for too long so I'm going to thank the people I really need to thank," Applegate, 50, said at the start. As for Sagal's presence, Applegate said Sagal was "just gonna be here" holding her steady, joking it was"so Katey to steal [my] thunder."
Applegate — also known for the Anchorman films and TV's Jesse and Up All Night, to name a few— cracked jokes during her speech and did not directly mention the disease of the central nervous system. However, she alluded to the diagnosis she received in the summer of 2021, referring to herself at one point as "the disabled lady." Later, while thanking "the most important person in the world," her 11-year-old daughter, Sadie, with her musician husband, Martyn LeNoble (who were both there), she said, "Thank you for standing beside me during all this." Then, to the audience, she added, "Oh, by the way I have a disease. Did you not notice? I'm not even wearing shoes Anyhoo, You're supposed to laugh at this."
Applegate also suggested, as she's hinted previously, that she's done with acting as she navigates her health challenges. While thanking the stars who spoke on her behalf, she said, "I like that I started with you two — referring to Married … With Children's Sagal and David Faustino — "and ended with you two" — pointing to Dead to Me co-star Linda Cardellini and showrunner Liz Feldman — "and I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. You are my people." (Applegate has previously said she'd like to continue producing, but she can't do long days on the set.)
Applegate said that growing up in L.A., and getting her showbiz start as a young girl, she always "effing" wanted her own star. Feldman praised her as a "comic genius and and one of the greatest actors of her generation."
Sagal, whom Applegate still calls "Mommy," it was revealed, spoke of Applegate's grace and bravery overcoming her challenges, also including a breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.
"You know, sweetheart, some of us come into this life requiring broad shoulders because what's coming at us needs support to bear it," Sagal said. "Broad enough to hold what shows up. I've seen you — the high highs, the love and enormous success, coupled with extreme challenges. But you came in with those shoulders, and you bear the weight and you bend and you don't break. I continue to love you, laugh with you and to learn from you. ... You are not alone. We're all here. We love you."
Applegate was seated by her star — which is adjacent to those of Sagal and Married dad Ed O'Neill, who was unable to attend — as it was unveiled, playfully doing a little seated dance with her new cane that she shared a sneak peek of on Twitter last month. She later got down onto the ground for photos — solo shots as well as photos with her co-stars, past and present, and husband and daughter.
She later shared an image to Twitter of her view, looking down at her star. "Barefoot," she wrote. "For some with MS, the feeling of shoes may hurt or make us feel off balance. So today I was me. Barefoot."
Barefoot. For some with MS the feeling of shoes may hurt or make us feel off balance. So today I was me. Barefoot pic.twitter.com/eJBGg1Wyug— christina applegate (@1capplegate) November 15, 2022
Applegate expressed nervousness ahead of attending the event, which was supposed to take place in 2020 but was delayed by the pandemic. She relies on a cane and has gained weight since her MS diagnosis.
"Now my life is a different story," the actress told Variety. "People are going to see me for the first time as a disabled person, and it's very difficult. So, for me, two years ago would have been so much better!" However, getting the star has been a longtime goal. "This is something that is going to be there forever," she said. "And it’s something my daughter can go see when I'm gone."
Applegate also revealed that production on Dead to Me shut down for five months last year after her diagnosis. When it resumed, she needed a wheelchair on the set. She had to be physically propped up for scenes. She took naps to get through the long work days. However, she was determined to finish the final season, which premieres Nov. 17 on Netflix, to bring closure to fans of the show and the cast and crew.
As for the MS, Applegate told the New York Times she's "never going to accept" her diagnosis, adding, "I’m pissed."