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An emotional Christina Applegate receives a standing ovation at the Emmys

Christina Applegate at the 75th Emmy Awards.
Kevin Winter
Getty Images
Christina Applegate at the 75th Emmy Awards.

Actor Christina Applegate has stayed mostly out of the public eye since she announced she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021. But she came out at Monday night's Emmys to present the first award, and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Who is she?

  • Applegate is best known as Kelly Bundy from the long-running sitcom Married...with Children — and came to the stage on Monday night to the show's theme song — though she's had a pretty wide and varied career since.
  • She memorably played Veronica Corningstone in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, won an Emmy for her guest stint on an episode of Friends, and most recently starred in the Netflix series Dead to Me as a real estate agent whose husband has been killed by a hit-and-run driver (for which she was nominated for an Emmy on Monday).

What's the big deal?

  • Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, disrupting communication between the brain and the body. Its symptoms include weakness, fatigue, chronic pain and difficulty walking. There is currently no cure, but there are treatments that can slow its progression. Symptoms can vary widely.

  • Applegate hasn't made many appearances since she went public with her diagnosis. But at the Emmys, she showed her sense of humor hasn't gone anywhere. As she came up on stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, she became visibly emotional before jokingly telling the cheering crowd: "You're totally shaming me, with disability, by standing up."

What are people saying?

  • The audience response to Applegate was one of the highlights of Monday's show, with people's appreciation for her continuing into Tuesday. The Atlantic called her appearance: "The most truthful moment of the Emmys."
  • Applegate has previously talked about taking time off from filming the final season of Dead to Me after getting her diagnosis. "I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me," she told The New York Times in 2022. "Although it's not like I came on the other side of it, like, 'Woohoo, I'm totally fine.'"

Learn more:

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.