The world nearly lost Jeff Bridges last year. The Big Lebowski star fought COVID while undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s opening up about his fight.
From Bad To Worse
In October 2020, Bridges made a blog post revealing that he was fighting lymphoma. A few months later, he unveiled a photo of his now bald head and said he was feeling good. Months went by with no update before the Hell or High Water star provided an update. It was good news: his cancer was in remission. The bad news? He had been hospitalized for over a month as he and his wife fought COVID.
“The reason I’m there so long is because my immune system is shot from the chemo. My dance with COVID makes my cancer look like a piece of cake,” Bridges wrote at the time. He recovered after a lengthy hospital stay, which meant Bridges could walk his daughter down the aisle.
Jeff Bridges: I Was ‘Close To Dying’
In an interview with People, Bridges opens up about his double illness. He explains that he “had a 12-by-9-inch tumor in my body…like a child in my body. It didn’t hurt or anything.” He started chemotherapy immediately, and his cocktail worked. “It worked fast,” Bridges says. “That thing just imploded.”
While his cancer went down fast, all those trips to the medical facility meant both he and his wife were exposed to COVID. Both ended up in the ICU, and Bridges couldn’t leave the hospital for five months. “I had no defenses,” he says. “That’s what chemo does—it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it.”
The COVID “made my cancer look like nothing,” Bridges says. He was in intense pain and needed oxygen just to roll over. “I was pretty close to dying…I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality.” Luckily for everyone, plasma therapy worked. Bridges soon completed physical therapy and he’s made a full recovery.
He’s Looking Forward
Now that his brush with death is in the rearview mirror, Bridges thinks of it all as “a bizarre dream.” The ordeal gave him a new lease on life as well. “my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened. Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way.”
Now, Bridges is back at work. He’s doing press for the FX series The Old Man, in which Bridges stars and is an executive producer. He stars alongside John Lithgow and Alia Shawkat. The Old Man debuts on June 16.