Jeff Bridges is opening up about his health struggles.
In the latest issue of AARP The Magazine, on which Bridges serves as the cover star, the 73-year-old actor is candid about battling COVID-19 while undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in October 2020.
“I got this letter from the chemo place informing me I had contracted COVID,” Bridges reveals. “I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough. For me, cancer was nothing compared to the COVID.”
Bridges was forced to be hospitalized for an extended period of time while he fought off both diseases, and while The Big Lebowski star is known for his laid-back attitude, he admits that had very real fears about never working again.
“I didn’t think I’d ever work again, really. So, at first, I said, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ But eventually that became, ‘Maybe I can,'” he tells the magazine. “I have to admit that I was still frightened of going back to work. Then I began to think of it as a gift being presented.”
Through it all, Bridges says his wife of over 45 years, Sue, was his biggest advocate.
“My wife Sue was my absolute champion. She really fought to keep me off a ventilator,” Bridges shares. “I didn’t want to be on it, and the doctors didn’t necessarily want that. But Sue was adamant.”
ET spoke with Bridges in the press room following his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards in January, where he touched more on how the support of his family got him through those two tough years.
“Because they supported me so beautifully, I was able to go back and finish The Old Man,” Bridges said of his action drama, which he began filming before the pandemic, and his subsequent battle with lymphoma. “We were stopped in the middle of the season, and it was very surreal. It was like we had a two-year long weekend ya know?”
“And then we came back to work and, you know, I’d say to Amy Brenneman and [John] Lithgow, and say, ‘I had the weirdest dream guys. I was in the hospital,'” he added. “I couldn’t believe it. But their support during those times — and also The Old Man. Doing that show was terrific and I’m so happy we’re going to do another season starting in March.”
While his health has been on the up and up, Bridges recently revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 second time last year, but had an easier time fighting off the virus the second time around.
For more on the award-winning actor and his health journey, check out the links below.
Sam Elliott Details ‘Big Lebowski’ Reunion With Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges Opens Up About 2-Year Cancer Battle and Return to Acting
Jeff Bridges Gives Health Update After Cancer and COVID-19 Diagnosis