Interviews
Actor Jeff Bridges opens up about cancer battle at his most vulnerable time
Jeff started to experience stomach pain but he never anticipated the doctors to give him the grim diagnosis he received.
Marilyn Caylor
06.28.22

“I’m in surrender mode, man!”

At 72 years young, fan favorite actor Jeff Bridges still has a lot of light left to shine upon this world.

YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning
Source:
YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning

While the pandemic has certainly done a number on most of the world, Jeff’s reasons for being out of the spotlight the past couple of years has more to do with a common health concern.

“Yeah, been away for a while with the cancer and the COVID and the whole thing, yeah.”

If you didn’t know Jeff had been dealing with cancer, you wouldn’t be alone!

Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz recently interviewed Jeff in the actor’s backyard for a CBS Sunday Morning interview. That “whole thing” he casually mentions actually turned out to be a whole big lump of cancer festering in his belly.

It all began when Jeff began to experience some stomach pain, so he went to the doctor to get it looked it.

“I better get this checked out. And I go in and get a CAT scan and find out I have a nine-by-12-inch mass in my stomach. You know, lymphoma.”

YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning
Source:
YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning

The surprise cancer diagnosis was just the first blow to his health. While he was undergoing chemotherapy, both he and his wife Susan tested positive for COVID-19. While Susan only spent five days in the hospital, Jeff was there for over five weeks.

“Oh man, what a journey. Couldn’t breathe. And it’s the amazing pain for not being able to breathe.”

Thankfully, the beloved actor did manage to catch his breath and was able to recover!

As for the cancer, that took a lot longer to overcome.

When asked if he thought that “this might be it,” Jeff responded:

“Oh, the doctors, yeah, my wife would ask, ‘Is he gonna die?’ And they say, ‘We’re doing the best we can here.'”

YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning
Source:
YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning

The doctors weren’t even sure he was going to make it. And Jeff himself was quite content to just let himself ride the wave of “surrender mode.”

“My doctors were saying, ‘Jeff, you gotta fight. Man, you’re not fighting. You gotta fight.’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about man? I’m in surrender mode, man!’ I mean we’re all gonna die, man. Come on, we’re all gonna get sick and die, and your friends are gonna die, and that’s part of it.”

He told Variety that he was actually okay with reaching the end of the finish line. It had been a good, long, satisfying run!

“That this might be the end of the race kind of thing, because that’s what’s going to happen to all of us at some point and maybe this was my time to go through that and I didn’t know.”

However, one last thing he did want to do before his time came was dance with his daughter at her wedding.

“And then my daughter Hailey was getting married to a wonderful guy Justin and I wanted to walk her down the aisle, do that wedding dance with my girl, and so I worked on that with my trainer Zach Wermers and we got that going.”

As soon as his health started to come back, that’s when Jeff knew for sure, “Oh yeah, I can do this.”

YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning
Source:
YouTube - CBS Sunday Morning

Watch the video below to see everyone’s favorite “Dude” talk about overcoming cancer.

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By Marilyn Caylor
hi@sbly.com
Marilyn Caylor is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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