Jeff Bridges is doing much better after being hit with the one-two punch of cancer and COVID. Last October, Bridges revealed that his cancer was in remission, and in a new profile in AARP Magazine, he gave an update, telling readers that his tumor had shrunk “to the size of a marble.”
Bridges has come a long way. In the interview, he paints a difficult picture of recovery, particularly after contracting COVID, struggling to stand for even a minute. “A lot of getting better was a matter of setting really small goals,” Bridges said. “At first they’d say, ‘How long can you stand?’ For a while, my record was 45 seconds before I’d collapse. And then they were saying: ‘Oh, look, you’re standing for a minute! That’s so cool, now can you walk 5 feet?’”
The actor first discovered his cancer in March 2020, when production on his FX series, The Old Men, halted to comply with quarantine procedures. At the time, Bridges felt like he had a “bone in [his] stomach,” but despite his wife’s advice, he ignored it. “At the time, I said to myself, ‘It doesn’t hurt. I don’t want to go to the doctor.’ ” he said. “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.” Instead of getting it checked, Bridges was shooting action scenes for Old Man’s first episode with a “9-by-12-inch tumor” in his body. Though, like the bone in his belly, he wasn’t fazed. “You’d think that would have hurt or something, when they were punching me and stuff,” he told AARP. “It didn’t.”
No one would ever accuse Bridges of not being a tough customer, despite the whole dudeness of his being. But his cancer got a whole lot worse after he contracted COVID. “I got this letter from the chemo place informing me I had contracted COVID. I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out,” he said. “For me, cancer was nothing compared to the COVID.” Life after such a grueling recovery isn’t easy. Bridges didn’t think he’d ever work again. “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.”
We’re overjoyed to hear Mr. Bridges is feeling better. To paraphrase a famed mustachioed cowboy, we don’t about you, but we take comfort knowing he’s out there.