Jim Parsons realized he had COVID-19 when he lost his sense of taste and smell

Actor Jim Parsons
Actor Jim Parsons at the 2019 Tony Awards.
(Evan Agostini / AP/Invision)

Months after coming down with COVID-19 in March, actor Jim Parsons has opened up about his experience battling the respiratory illness.

On Monday’s episode of “The Tonight Show,” the “Hollywood” star revealed that he and his husband, art director Todd Spiewak, each contracted the virus toward the beginning of the pandemic.

“We didn’t know what it was,” Parsons told host Jimmy Fallon via video chat. “We thought we had colds. And then it seemed less likely, and then finally we lost our sense of smell and taste, and we were like, ‘Yeah.’ ...


“It defied the descriptions for me. I didn’t realize how completely taste and smell could be gone. And when you’re in quarantine, there’s really nothing to do but eat — oh, my God. That was brutal.”

“Pain and Glory” actor Antonio Banderas announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he has recovered from COVID-19 after three weeks of confinement.

Aug. 25, 2020

Parsons and Spiewak have since recovered, and the former has been exploring “other creative outlets” — such as painting and writing — during quarantine while acting opportunities are slim. “The Big Bang Theory” alum also weighed in on how the lovably nerdy Sheldon would have handled the public health crisis.

“He was built for this,” Parsons joked. “This is the moment he was waiting for. I was saying earlier, we had an entire episode — which I didn’t think about until recently — where he did a Shel-bot, where he had a video screen on a remote-control wheelie thing.

“That was when people still needed to get together in groups, and so he would just send that out and sit in his room. ‘Don’t touch me. Don’t sneeze on me.’ ... So I guess he’d be fine.”

Earlier this month, Parsons attended the “really odd” virtual Emmy Awards, where he was nominated for supporting actor in a limited series for his work on Ryan Murphy and Netflix’s “Hollywood.” (That trophy ultimately went to “Watchmen” star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.)


“I think the strangest part for me was, right before the category was announced ... they threw all the nominees into a virtual waiting room where ... we can all kind of chat,” Parsons recalled. “I was like ... ‘We’re all up for the same award. This is weird.’ But it ended up not being weird. It was actually very humanizing and sweet.

“And then Yahya won, and it was like somebody in the group won. It was really happy. But he finished his speech, and we all applauded, and then suddenly, literally ... you just go, ‘Leave meeting,’ and then you were done. It was on Zoom! It was so bizarre.”

Read the powerful full acceptance speech from “Watchmen” star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who won the Emmy for supporting actor in a limited series.

Sept. 20, 2020

Up next, Parsons stars alongside Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer in a Netflix remake of “The Boys in the Band,” out on Wednesday. All three thespians previously appeared in the Broadway show of the same name, which won a 2019 Tony Award for play revival.

“My only hesitation doing the film was that we had such a wonderful time doing the play, and it was such a golden experience for me that I worried about tarnishing it by revisiting it,” Parsons said. “But largely because it was the same group of people ... we just picked up and added back onto it. ...

“I really liked it, the chance to explore some of these scenes and moments and whatever that could be so much quieter or so much more private in a way that you would never get to do in live theater.”