Christina Applegate made a surprise and moving appearance at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, her first major public outing since announcing her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis in 2021. Her arrival on stage was met with a lengthy standing ovation from the star-studded audience, recognizing her courage and determination in the face of her health struggles.
Overview of Applegate’s Emmys Appearance
Applegate walked out early in the ceremony along with co-presenter Linda Cardellini to present the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for their shared show, “Dead to Me.” She injected some humor into the emotional moment, joking “I have to address the elephant in the room which is people just thinking I’m here to get one last handout.” But she then graciously thanked everyone, saying “you’re gonna make me cry.”
|Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
|Linda Cardellini (Applegate’s “Dead to Me” co-star)
|Plunging red velvet gown by designer Christian Siriano
|Length of Standing Ovation
|Roughly a minute
Applegate appeared visibly moved during the lengthy applause, at times placing her hands to her heart in gratitude. There were audible shouts and words of encouragement from the audience as well.
Her gown for the evening was designed by Christian Siriano, who has custom-created accessible clothing options for Applegate since her diagnosis. Featuring a low plunging neckline and velvet fabric, the dress earned praise as another beautiful collaboration between the designer and actress.
Background on Applegate’s MS Diagnosis
In August 2021, Applegate revealed she had been diagnosed with MS just a few months prior, calling it a “tough road.” MS is an autoimmune condition affecting the central nervous system, often leading to mobility issues and chronic pain.
She has been open about how the diagnosis impacted filming the final season of “Dead to Me,” requiring accommodations like wheelchairs and walking sticks. But she was determined to finish the show for her co-stars and fans.
“There was the sense of, ‘Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better,’” Applegate told the New York Times of early reactions. “And there is no better with this disease. But I needed to process my loss before I could even think about dealing with that.”
Significance of Her First Public Appearance
The Emmys ceremony marked Applegate’s first major public appearance since revealing her condition in 2021. Fans and colleagues alike were thrilled to see her attending the awards, recognizing it as an inspiration and testament to her strength.
Her friend and “Dead to Me” co-star James Marsden called it a “big night for Christina,” and highlighted the immense courage it required.
“She’s so incredibly brave and generous to come and not only participate tonight but to allow us to really celebrate all that she’s accomplished on this show,” Marsden told Entertainment Tonight. “She’s family. I’m so protective over her…it’s so great to have her here.”
The overwhelmingly positive response indicates that Applegate remains a beloved figure in Hollywood despite her condition. Many were simply moved to see her publicly again and handling it with characteristic humor and grace.
Applegate as a Symbol of Progress
More broadly, advocates praised Applegate’s presence at the Emmys as a significant step for disabilities representation in the entertainment industry. Her prominent appearance along with acknowledging her limitations blazed a public trail for others with disabilities.
While there is still room for progress, Applegate showed that success and disability aren’t mutually exclusive, and celebrities dealing with health issues deserve support.
“Having Christina Applegate on stage, acknowledging the reality of living with MS and disability, shows we don’t have to erase disability to celebrate tremendous actors,” wrote disability advocate Rebecca Cokley on Twitter.
Alongside highlighting Applegate as an inspiration, many also thanked her for candidly addressing the ableism that many experience. Her lighthearted jokes about not seeking pity alluded to ongoing stigmas, which her presence challenged simply by being there.
Signs Applegate Is on the Path to Regaining Her Strength
Perhaps most encouragingly, signs indicate that Applegate is making strides in managing her MS symptoms and slowly regaining mobility. In an October 2022 interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said:
“I’m not going to be, like, scaling mountains, but I can shuffle around.”
Her physical therapist also noted that she is getting stronger, and Applegate said she is able to stand on her tippy toes again:
“It’s the little things that matter.”
While her condition is still ongoing, these are extremely positive reports on her health amid a very challenging couple of years. Fans are overjoyed to see glimpses of her returning strength just in time for the Emmys.
What This Means for Applegate’s Future
Applegate also hinted that this appearance may mark a gradual return to public life after a period of seclusion and rest following her diagnosis.
In an Access Hollywood interview after leaving the stage, Applegate referenced thinking it could be another 10 years before attending another award show due to her health.
But now, she says:
“I may never be here again, so it’s kind of nice.”
While she underscored that she has to listen to her body and may still require significant time off, Applegate seems positive about having reached a milestone in her MS journey. Fans are optimistic this means there are brighter days ahead, with more public appearances possible as she continues regaining strength.
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