Jamie-Lynn Sigler is done hiding: The actress has revealed she has multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with when she was 20 and on "The Sopranos."
"Thank you People," the actress said Wednesday on Twitter after the magazine published her revelation. "This is a hard but liberating day for me, and I hope together we can help others and fight on."
Sigler, 34, wasn't ready until now, she told People, to share that she was diagnosed with the disease while she was playing Meadow Soprano.
"You'd think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this," she said, "but it's still hard to accept."
MS is an unpredictable disease, as is reflected in the "Entourage" actress' history: She was "essentially symptom-free" for a "quite some time" after her diagnosis, but has spent the last decade dealing with symptoms — including what sounds like fatigue — that she kept hidden on the job.
"Sometimes all I needed was like five or 10 minutes to sit and recharge, but I wouldn't ask, because I didn't want them to be suspicious," Sigler said.
"I don't want to hold a secret where it feels like I have something to be ashamed of or have something to hide. It's part of me, but it's not who I am."
While MS, a disease of the central nervous system, is different for every person who has it, Sigler talked about her specifics, laughing as she dropped in a casting joke: "I can't walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me." She called it "annoying and frustrating" to have to think about every step.
Fatigue, numbness, muscle spasticity, vertigo, pain and problems with vision and walking are all on the wide-ranging menu of MS symptoms; depression is also more likely in people with multiple sclerosis. And some symptoms can be hard to describe, leading to inside-baseball lingo like the "MS hug," "cog fog" and "jelly legs."
Sigler, who's been married for less than a week, said she's gone through injectible medications and infusions over the years and has seen her symptoms stable and "manageable" for six years while taking Tecfidera, one of three oral medications available to fight MS (Aubagio and Gilenya are the other two). There's no cure for MS, but there are 13 disease-modifying medications — they slow or halt disease progress — approved to treat it.
Other famous people with multiple sclerosis include Jack Osbourne, Annette Funicello, Joan Didion, Teri Garr, Montel Williams, Ann Romney and Neil Cavuto. A few celebrities with friends and relatives who have MS include Amy Schumer, Bill Pullman, Alessandra Ambrosio, Madeleine Stowe and Shemar Moore.
Sigler said son Beau was a big motivation behind her revelation.
"I didn't want him to get to an age where he felt like he had to keep this secret for me as well," she said.