Emma Caulfield, best known for starring in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and WandaVision, has revealed her private battle with multiple sclerosis.
The actress, who is now going by Emma Caulfield Ford following her 2017 marriage to Mark Leslie Ford, began noticing symptoms over a decade ago. "Back in 2010, I was working on [executive producer] Marti Noxon’s Gigantic, and prior to starting that job, I woke up one morning and the left side of my face felt like there were a million ants crawling on it," she recalled.
While medical professionals speculated she might have Bell's palsy, MRI results soon revealed a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. "It was literally a kind of nightmare…. It turns out it was something major. Then I was like, 'I’ve got to go to work now.' What do I do?" said Caulfield. Her late father had also had MS, so the disease had been around in her "sphere for a very, very long time."
Caulfield admitted that she was silent about her diagnosis for years, even from the cast and crew of WandaVision, because she "didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to not hire me." She recalled talking herself through the painful experience of shooting the Disney+ series in sweltering heat, which exacerbated her symptoms: "Just shut up. Just do your job. This is the first time you’re working with Marvel. This is a big fucking deal. Do not bring attention to yourself. I have to nail the job. I have to be great."
While she hid her MS from even her closest friends from over a decade, having her daughter began to put things in perspective for her, and she decided to go public.
"I’m so tired of not being honest," said the actress. "If I have a platform at all, I should be using it. Even if it affects my ability to get work…. It’s better for me to at least be vocal about this and be out there to try to help the MS Foundation and other groups who are doing research."
Caulfield will return to the MCU in Agatha: Coven of Chaos.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.