Selma Blair Says This Is the Exact Moment She Realized She Had MS
Her most notable symptom came at a moment when all eyes were on her.
Selma Blair has been very open about her life with multiple sclerosis (MS), and that candor has paved the way for other celebrities, like her friend Christina Applegate, to be honest about their own experiences with the illness. Blair is even inviting the public behind-the-scenes of her battle with MS in the upcoming documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which hits theaters Oct. 15. The 49-year-old actor and mother of one recently shared insight into the exact moment she realized she had MS. Read on to find out what warning sign let Blair know she was ill.
Selma Blair said she realized something was wrong when her leg gave out on a runway.
In 2018, Blair was diagnosed with MS after years of suffering from pain she didn't understand the source of. In a new interview with Variety, Blair said that after experiencing mysterious symptoms she couldn't piece together, her leg gave out while she was walking in a Christian Siriano fashion show. Blair knew then that something wasn't right, and that it wasn't just psychological, because she was happy to be on the runway, she told Variety.
Blair previously shared details of this experience with Town & Country in April. "It was on that runway, with the thrill of walking in the show, that I suddenly lost feeling in my left leg," she recalled at the time. "But I was on a runway and thinking, 'What do I do?'"
The MS diagnosis brought Blair relief after years of pain.
Blair told Variety that she wished she'd known she had MS sooner. "If I could have acknowledged that there was something real—a label that people understood—it would have just helped me emotionally," she said. "If I could have found this label and given myself some solace that I was actually a … trouper, I would have been much easier on myself." Blair revealed that she was very critical of herself and often "a miserable person."
This self-loathing intensified when her symptoms worsened after she had her son in 2011. Blair could hardly move due to the intense pain. She told Variety her inner monologue became that she was weak and lazy and couldn't handle what other mothers do. Blair was convinced that everyone lived in pain. "I didn't understand people didn't hurt every day," said Blair. "I've hurt since I can remember."
She received support from a number of people in Hollywood.
Blair's long journey, which began with her leg giving out on the runway and led to her long-awaited diagnosis and then to treatment, is something she refers to as a "loving miracle in this Hollywood community." A few months after the fashion show, Blair shared a video with Troy Nankin, her close friend and manager who produced the new documentary.
"Stuff was going wrong," Nankin told Variety. "And I—like a lot of people—was just blowing it off." However, he said after he received the video, he knew something deeper was going on. Blair's fellow actor and friend, Elizabeth Berkley, insisted that Blair see Berkley's brother, a neurologist. He subsequently diagnosed Blair with MS. Blair shared her diagnosis on Instagram, writing, "I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of [the neurologist] trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve."
Then, another star popped in to lend a helping hand to Blair. Jennifer Grey, who Blair said was essentially a stranger to her at the time, contacted Blair and insisted that she would visit her. Grey then told Blair about a treatment for autoimmune diseases that she'd heard about. Although Blair's first reaction was "not a chance," she eventually decided to try the treatment, a stem cell transplant. She also decided that it should be documented—and that became the first step in the documentary.
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Blair is now in remission following her stem cell transplant.
The stem cell transplant procedure lasts for two grueling months and involves chemotherapy that diminishes the immune system, Variety explains. After the chemotherapy brings the immune system down to 1 percent, harvested stem cells are transplanted back in to rebuild the immune system from scratch.
Blair is now in remission and has had no new lesions since the procedure two years ago. "You go into it thinking, 'Oh, it's going to be a cure.' But what is cure?" Blair told Variety. "It's just a period of acceptance that I'm changed. And that's fine; I'm lucky." Recently, the actor shared a post to Instagram saying she spent a week focusing on "health and healing."