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Selma Blair says a doctor once suggested she get a boyfriend when she sought help for pain

Blair spoke to Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” about her journey being diagnosed with MS, including her experiences with gender bias in healthcare.
/ Source: TODAY

Selma Blair is opening up about comments from doctors about her health prior to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

During a sit-down interview with Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press,” the “Cruel Intentions” star confirmed that a doctor had once suggested that she get a boyfriend when she went in to seek help with the pain she was experiencing.

“I just cried,” Blair said of her response to the suggestion. “I had no capability to process. ‘What am I supposed to do with this information?’ I knew the pain was real. I thought it was. But I did start to convince myself, ‘You’re overly sensitive. There’s nothing wrong with you. Get it together, you lazy, lazy whatever.’”

Blair said that as she got older she had “so much medical trauma” due to doctors “taking advantage of that time” or “really just not seeing me.”

“And it was a gender bias, a lot of it, because there would be a boy in my grade that would go in for the exact same chronic headache and fever, and he is in surgery and an MRI within the week,” she continued, sharing that she was never given an MRI despite her symptoms ranging from headaches and fever to balance issues.

She added, “But they just said, ‘Oh, just dramatic,’ you know?”

Selma Blair discuss her health with Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press.”
Selma Blair discuss her health with Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press.”Meet the Press

Blair further addressed the topic of gender bias in healthcare with Welker, explaining, “I think primarily when I was young….they were all older male doctors who probably did not know the intricacies of a girl and that everything does not need to be blamed on menstruation.”

The actor also noted that MS is “different for everyone” and that many medical students don’t have MS to have experienced its symptoms firsthand.

“They can be disguised as emotional things. I have prefrontal damage that would cause hysterical crying and laughing,” Blair noted, adding that she'd often wake herself up in the middle of the night “laughing hysterically or sobbing” or would just be “moody” in front of people.

Blair was ultimately diagnosed with MS in 2018 and entered remission in 2021. Over the years, she has been candid about her health, sharing her experience with the public to spread awareness about the condition and empower others who have MS.

The actor has put her diagnosis on the big screen, giving fans a raw look at her life in her 2021 documentary “Introducing, Selma Blair.”

In 2022, Blair went on to publish her book “Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up,” which chronicled her life, including her struggles with alcohol as a young child and her early signs of MS.

Within “Mean Baby,” Blair recalled a similar occurrence with a doctor to that which she recounted with Welker on Sunday, according to an excerpt shared by The Guardian.

She said that she experienced “more and more episodes” and her “symptoms grew worse,” leading her to see more doctors who she said “blamed hormones, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, malnutrition, my ‘neurasthenic’ nature.”

“One doctor went so far as to tell me I might feel better if I had a boyfriend,” she wrote. “Through all the symptoms, all the visits, I never once had an MRI. The only doctor who had mentioned multiple sclerosis as a possibility was my eye doctor, who saw me for eye pain when I was 22.”