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Christina Applegate jokes about MS diagnosis in teary-eyed Emmys speech

If there was one stand-out moment from Monday night’s 2023 Emmy Awards, for many it was the emphatic and unrelenting standing ovation given to actor Christina Applegate.

As part of her surprise appearance, Applegate, 52, presented the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series to The Bear star Ayo Edebiri.

Prior to doling out the prestigious award, Applegate, who in 2021 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), took to the stage using a cane wearing a crimson-coloured, velvet Christian Siriano gown. Emmys host Anthony Anderson escorted Applegate on stage to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s Love and Marriage, the theme song of the Applegate-led 1980s and ’90s sitcom, Married… with Children. 

Applegate at first hid her face against Anderson’s shoulder as the crowd of celebrities rose to their feet in cheers and applause.

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“Thank you so much. Oh my god,” Applegate gasped, visibly emotional.

Even still, the beloved actor cracked jokes, telling the audience that they were “shaming me with disability by standing up.”

Since her MS diagnosis, Applegate, like many patients, has had to use a wheelchair and other mobility aids to combat the degenerative autoimmune disease. MS, which impacts the brain and spinal cord, brings on a slew of symptoms, from muscle stiffness to vertigo and bladder issues. Currently, there is no cure.

When the audience laughed, Applegate boasted that her body was “not by Ozempic,” a jab at the popular weight-loss drug used by many celebrities.

As she spoke, the crowd continued to cheer for Applegate, who playfully chided, “We don’t have to applaud every time I do something.”

Applegate was nominated for an Emmy as best lead actress in a comedy for Dead to Me but lost out to Quinta Brunson of Abbott Elementary. 

Christian Siriano, who designed Applegate’s Emmys gown, shared a behind-thescenes glimpse of the actor in her glam before the Emmys ceremony.

“This incredible woman #christinaapplegate tonight in Siriano silk velvet for the #emmys. Let me tell you MS is a nasty disease and this beauty is so strong and just inspiring,” the designer wrote on Instagram. “Tonight she is nominated and so deserves this.”

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Applegate earlier said her last public appearance as an actor would be at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in February 2023.

In May, Applegate told Vanity Fair she will likely not return to acting due to her diagnosis, ending her decades-long successful career. Instead, Applegate said she can see herself potentially continuing to work as a producer or voice actor.

Applegate has been a familiar face in TV and movies since her appearance as Kelly Bundy in Married… with Children. She’s also held a starring role in the Bad Moms movie franchise, the 1991 film Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and 2002’s The Sweetest Thing. 

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