As the final season of Netflix’s Dead to Me launches, series star Christina Applegate has talked about the challenges of filming the dark comedy. The pandemic brought delays and extra precautions, of course, but things became more difficult when Christina was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021.

“I’m never going to accept this,” says Christina, 50, who took a five-month break to receive treatment for this progressive autoimmune disease. But the time away from set became a blessing in disguise. “I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me,” says Christina, a breast cancer survivor.

Christina never considered not returning to film the final season of the show, which also stars Linda Cardellini as her best friend. “[Our characters] Jen and Judy support each other, love each other, help each other through things. Linda and Christina, the same thing,” says Linda.

But once production began again, Christina had to adjust to her new circumstances. “I put on 40 pounds; I can’t walk without a cane,” she says. On set, she often used a wheelchair to get around between scenes and sometimes needed help standing for long periods.

In a terrible irony, the show’s storyline, which was written long before Christina’s diagnosis, deals with illness. “When Linda and I would do those scenes, it crushed us sometimes,” says Christina, who is nonetheless proud to have completed filming.

She admits she’ll probably never watch Dead to Me’s final season because it’s so emotional for her, but she hopes viewers will appreciate it. “If people hate it, if people love it, if all they can concentrate on is, ‘Ooh, look at the cripple,’ that’s not up to me,” Christina says. “But hopefully people can get past it and just enjoy the ride and say goodbye to these two girls.”