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Jeff Bridges never thought he'd work again after cancer and COVID
Photo: © ANP

Jeff Bridges never thought he'd work again after cancer and COVID

Jeff Bridges never thought he'd work again after cancer and COVID
Photo: © ANP

Jeff Bridges admits he never thought he would work again after being diagnosed with cancer and then COVID.

In 2020, the Academy Award winner was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after the discovery of a large tumour in his stomach. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy which stripped away his immune system, which meant that contracting COVID could have proved fatal.

Bridges was in the middle of filming The Old Man season one, and he confesses that returning to acting barely crossed his mind when he could barely stand.

 “I didn’t think I’d ever work again, really,” he told AARP.

“So at first I said, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ But eventually that became, ‘Maybe I can.’ I have to admit that I was still frightened of going back to work. Then I began to think of my recovery as a gift being presented.

“I come back to work, and, man, it was like a dream, as if we’d just had a long weekend or something. I was seeing all the same faces in the cast and crew. Very bizarre. Everybody showed such dedication and hung in. We finished it. I appreciate that.”

Bridges recovered in time to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, and has returned to work, too, as he prepared to film the second season of The Old Man.

Bridges' cancer diagnosis

The actor says that he first discovered something was wrong after what appeared to be a bone started protruding from his stomach.

"I was doing some exercises while on the ground and felt what seemed like a bone in my stomach," he recalled.

"I thought to myself, Hmm. But it didn’t hurt or anything. I asked Sue what she thought. She said: ‘I don’t know, but you’ve got to get it checked out.’

“At the time, I said to myself, ‘It doesn’t hurt. I don’t want to go to the doctor.’

"I’m hiking and feeling great. My shins really itch, and I think, Oh, I just got, you know, dry skin. Then I had night sweats, but thought, That’s just hot summer nights. It turns out those are lymphoma symptoms.

“I was doing those fight scenes for the first episode of The Old Man and didn’t know that I had a 9-by-12-inch tumour in my body.”

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