Frankie Muniz Can't Remember Being on "Malcolm in the Middle"—Here's Why
The star just gave a surprising update about his memory loss.
Frankie Muniz rose to fame in the early aughts as the title character of the hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. After earning Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as a gifted teen in a comically dysfunctional family, he quickly became one of the most popular child actors of his time. In the years during the show's filming, he worked on a range of other Hollywood projects, including Deuces Wild (2002), Big Fat Liar (2002), Agent Cody Banks (2003), and Racing Stripes (2005), appearing in only a handful of films in the years that followed.
When he once again stepped into the limelight to appear on Dancing with the Stars in 2017, he shared a surprising revelation about his health. Though Muniz's busy career took off in the year 2000, he disclosed that he can remember very little of that time in his life—including his work on Malcolm in the Middle. Read on to learn why Muniz can barely remember his years spent acting on the show and to hear a more recent update on his condition.
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The actor recently set the record straight about the cause of his memory loss.
When Muniz first admitted in interviews that he suffered from memory loss, he attributed it to having had nine concussions in his young life. He also shared that he believed he had suffered multiple transient ischemic attacks, or mini-strokes, between 2012 and 2013.
At the time, he opened up to People about living with memory loss. "I only know what it's like to be me. Or have my brain. So, I'm only reminded of how bad my memory is when people I see, they come to me and go, 'Oh, you remember when we did this? Remember we went on this trip to this country?'" he explained. "And I have no recollection of it, but in my head, it's not like I feel bad or sad about it," he added.
This month, Muniz shared that since those initial interviews, he's gotten more conclusive answers about his health and memory loss. The actor says he was ultimately diagnosed with intense aura-migraines, which explained his acute episodes of vision loss, pain, and numbness. "This is the first time that I've ever gotten to clarify," he said in the Dec. 2 episode of the podcast Steve-O's Wild Ride, noting that doctors mistook these migraines for mini-strokes. "I don't really remember [my time as Malcolm] but I wasn't saying I don't remember everything," he explained.
"If you search my name it's basically, 'Frankie is dying and he doesn't even know that he was Malcolm.' I'm like 'No, I know,'" Muniz quipped.
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He also now believes his hectic schedule led to his poor memory.
Besides his medical condition, which some experts have told him could have contributed to memory loss, Muniz now says he believes his poor memory also resulted from his busy schedule as a child actor.
"I've gone to a lot of doctors over it and looked into [my memory loss]. As weird as it sounds, I don't want to blame the concussions," he said on the podcast. "I just think it's the fact I did so much in that timeframe that, of course I don't remember all of it. A lot of my memories now are that I can't distinguish if it were a dream or if it was reality," the actor added. Given that Muniz was just 15 when the show premiered—and that he worked on several projects simultaneously—it's perhaps no surprise that his memories of that time are now vague, over two decades later.
Instead of "dwelling on the past," he's focused on his current pursuits.
Whatever the cause for his poor memory, Muniz says he chooses to focus on his current passions rather than dwelling on the past. "I've been fortunate to do, like, all my dream jobs I've ever wanted," he shared with People in 2019. In addition to being an actor, Muniz has been a race car driver, a drummer for the indie band Kingsfoil, and performer on Dancing with the Stars. The Cut reported that he bought an olive oil shop in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2019. "I got to do all these great things and it's because I have drive," Muniz told People of his varied projects.
"I just try to live the most fulfilling, best life I can," Muniz added. "I really try to take advantage of my time. And I've got a lot in my life."
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He says his wife helps him remember the important things in life.
In 2017, while on Dancing with the Stars, Muniz shared that his partner, Paige Price, helps him retain his memories by keeping a diary of their daily activities. "My girlfriend, Paige, writes every single day what we did, just because I love to be able to look back," he shared during an interview with Access Hollywood Live, admitting, "It makes me a little sad that it doesn't just pop back into my mind."
In 2020, Muniz and Price tied the knot after a two-year engagement. In March of this year, they welcomed their first child, son Mauz Mosley Muniz. Though Muniz admits there are still huge gaps in his memory—"I should've remembered going to Australia! That's something people should remember," he remarked to Access Hollywood—he now looks forward to making new memories with his growing family.
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