In August 2021, Christina Applegate shared on Twitter that she has multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, and she just made her first public appearance since her diagnosis. Applegate, 50, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she showed up barefoot to celebrate the achievement—something she later acknowledged and explained on Twitter.
“Barefoot,” she wrote. “For some with MS the feeling of shoes may hurt or make us feel off balance. So today I was me. Barefoot.”
Many people responded by cheering her on, while other people with MS shared their own experiences of struggling with footwear. “I was diagnosed with MS at 28 after the birth of my first daughter. I worked in corporate and wore heels every day,” one person wrote. “I was adamant on wearing heels, even when my legs were shaky, just to feel like I was fighting back against my crappy health. Thank you for bringing awareness to MS.”
Applegate was also photographed at the event with a cane, something that she mentioned she would be doing in a tweet she shared in late October. “Walking sticks are now part of my new normal,” she wrote.
Dina Jacobs, MD, clinical director of the Penn MS and Related Disorders Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, tells SELF that she “right away” had suspicions about why Applegate was barefoot, and figured that “she was having symptoms from her MS and that she was uncomfortable.”
In an emotional speech during the ceremony—which Applegate kept short as she couldn’t “stand for too long”—the actor tried to keep things lighthearted: “Oh, by the way, I have a disease,” she said, as People reported. “Did you not notice? I’m not wearing shoes.”