The Sopranos says that revealing her illness could have ruined her career.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler had her first television interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show on Wednesday (Jan. 27, 2016) since announcing to the world that she has been living with multiple sclerosis for nearly fifteen years.
She tells Lauer that she feels a sense of relief after letting her condition be known. “I lived with this secret that caused me to have so many feelings of shame and guilt and fear for so many years,” she says “I feel a great weight off my shoulders.”
“It sounds crazy, but when you hold a secret, those feelings just come along with that. Especially when you hold a secret as long as I did.”
Sigler expressed that her diagnosis was a blow to her confidence. “With something like MS,” she said. “You lose control over things that you once had and it’s slowly taken away from you, and that can chip away at your self-worth.”
“You have to ask for help sometimes, which is something I’m not good at doing,” admits Sigler. “When you have a good support system like I have, it helps out.”
She told Lauer that her rationale for not exposing the diagnosis until now was due in large part to her fear that she would lose credibility in Hollywood. “One of the first people I told was an industry professional,” said Siegler. “And I know they were looking out for me at the time, [but] they said, ‘I’m going to pretend you didn’t tell me that and I don’t think you should ever tell people you have this disease. Because people will limit you. People will judge you. They won’t hire you.'”
“I cannot run. Can’t dance the way I used to. Things like that are hard,” she says.
Watch her Today Show interview in the video at the top of the page.