'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Alum Emma Caulfield Reveals Heath Diagnosis

Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Emma Caulfield has revealed a health diagnosis she's kept quiet for more than a decade. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Caulfield — who has gone by Emma Caulfield Ford since 2017 when she married fellow actor Mark Leslie Ford — revealed that she was previously diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. "Back in 2010, I was working on [executive producer] Marti Noxon's Gigantic, and prior to starting that job, I woke up one morning and the left side of my face felt like there were a million ants crawling on it," the actress recalled.

"It was like an out-of-body experience," she went on to tell the outlet. "I'm like, 'No, that's not possible.' I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' [The doctor] was very matter of fact about it.... It was literally a kind of nightmare." Caulfield said that she's kept her diagnosis quiet for so long because she "didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to not hire me." She added, "There are already plenty of reasons to not hire people, reasons most actors don't even know. 'You look like my ex-girlfriend... You're too short. You're too tall. You look mean. You look too nice. You don't have the right color eyes.' I knew in my bones that if you talk about this, you're just going to stop working. That's it." Notably, Caulfield's father is also living with MS, though the condition is not considered to be "directly inherited," per the NHS UK.

Most recently, Caulfield appeared as Dottie in Marvel's WandaVision on Disney+, a role she'll be reprising in the spinoff Agatha: Coven of Chaos. "I am going back to work!" she declares, assuring fans that living with MS is not slowing her down. "Everyone has been notified that needs to be notified. I can't put myself through what I did with WandaVision again. I can't do that. They did nothing wrong.... They had no idea what was going on with me. They didn't ask anything of me that was like, 'I need to call my agent!' They're asking me to just sit and chat and do my dialogue. It's not hard. [I told them now] knowing that I shouldn't be out in this [Atlanta] heat at all. And if I am, I need to be taking way more precautions than I am."

Caulfield says that she made the choice to speak out about her condition because "I'm so tired of not being honest." She also says that her 6-year-old daughter "changed my perspective," explaining, "As I think anybody who is a parent can attest. I know that she has a 30 percent greater chance of coming down with this, just luck of the draw for her. She's 6. She's just started first grade.... It got me thinking about her and how full of joy and active she is, and she's just such a remarkable little creature."

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When comes to how she is doing these days, the actress says that she is feeling "okay right now." She added, "It's a weird thing to say when you're given a diagnosis like that, but truthfully, my attitude is not crumbling under the fear of 'What if' or 'What can,' or 'What has' for other people. I just have to keep going."