“Dancing With the Stars” season 31 is welcoming Selma Blair to its cast. The 50-year-old actress was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018 and she has said in several pre-show interviews that she is “excited” and “invigorated” at this new challenge.
Here’s what you need to know about Blair’s health journey:
Blair Revealed Her Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis in an Emotional Instagram Post
Blair revealed her diagnosis in an Instagram post for her Netflix show “Another Life,” in which Blair played Harper Glass, a media influencer.
Blair wrote at the time:
I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show, but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job.
I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends, especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar @realfreddieprinze @tarasubkoff. My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something. #chrisregina #aaronmartin and every crew member… thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself.
You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok. But if you see me, dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges. And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that MRI. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know. And share. 🖤 my instagram family… you know who you are.
As Blair wrote in her post, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, which is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a “a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system)” where the immune system “attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.”
It is not fatal and the severity of the disease vary from person to person.
Blair Sees ‘Dancing With the Stars’ as a ‘New Chapter’ in Her Journey
In a pre-show interview with E! News, Blair said she is “invigorated” by this new challenge, there is “no dread” in her about how difficult it may be.
“I’m so excited. I’m so happy, so invigorated by this. I’m someone that historically might have a little dread for things — no dread!” said Blair, adding, “This is a new chapter of growing my stamina and really healing. Not just healing, but finding strength and support.”
She also said that she is doing this for all the people out there who have helped her.
“It is for the viewer, because that is what’s given me support. In dark times in my life, there have been people that came forward — strangers on the street or Instagram… I’m doing it for them,” said Blair.
In her press kit interview for the show, Blair added that former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Amy Purdy, who has two prosthetic legs, has been such an inspiration. Purdy is a paralympic snowboarder who finished in second place on season 18 with partner Derek Hough.
“Amy has been an inspiration to me ever since I found out about her story and read her book and became friends with her … this gorgeous woman feeling and moving and it’s so natural and she has prosthetics that are such a part of her and if she can do that, I can at least give it a go with whatever abilities I have or don’t have,” said Blair.
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for its 31st season on Monday, September 19, on Disney Plus.