Christina Applegate on her double mastectomy: “I miss my exquisite breasts”

Back in August of 2008, Christina Applegate made the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis. She opted for a mastectomy because she didn’t want to worry about making sure the cancer was eradicated, because she had the breast cancer gene (her mother is a two time breast cancer survivor as well) and presumably because she wanted to have children and chemotherapy would have significantly reduced her chances. Following reconstructive surgery, Applegate did have a baby a little over a couple of years later, with her partner, Martin Lenoble. It’s a sweet story of triumph after cancer, although of course there’s more to it. In a new interview with More magazine, Applegate gave some additional details of what she was going through at the time, and it sounds just awful. She says she wasn’t ready to reveal her cancer diagnosis but that she had to, essentially. (A tabloid reported the story before she announced it and forced her hand.) After she went public with the news, she kind of “crashed,” which is to be expected. Here’s more:

The Up All Night star, who underwent a double mastectomy in 2008 after being diagnosed with the same disease her mother survived, opens up about her painful struggle to come to terms with losing both of her breasts in the November 2012 issue of More magazine, and has the details.

“I miss my exquisite breasts sometimes,” she reveals, in reference to a line about her natural mammary glands in the movie Anchorman.

The 40-year-old explains how she was denied the time to grieve, as the media learned about her surgery immediately following the operation.

“The good thing is that we got the information out, but talking about the facts of the disease, I didn’t have to see what was going on with me. I think when it slowed down, all that came crashing down,” she says.

With the help of her friends and family and a spiritual advisor, she overcame what she calls a “total emotional collapse.”

Soon after, she reunited with old friend Martyn LeNoble, and the two quickly fell in love.

“We had always cared deeply for one another when we were friends. And he came and put me under his wing. That was it – he was supposed to come.”

Applegate, who welcomed her first child, Sadie Grace, in early 2011, hopes to have another with her partner, but sadly, it may not be an option.

“Because of some things that happened during my pregnancy, I don’t know if I can. I hope I can. We’ll see,” she says.

[From Radar Online]

That’s really sweet about her partner being there for her during her health crisis, and how that brought them together. I’m glad she’s ok now, and hope she’s able to have another baby because it sounds like she really wants one. I admire Applegate a lot, and I find her very funny. This reminds me to watch Up All Night. I only saw the first couple of episodes last season and it was good. The thing is, it depicted parenthood so realistically that I found it a little stressful! It wasn’t “fake” enough for a sitcom, if that makes sense.

Here’s the clip where Christina Applegate talks about her “exquisite breasts” on Anchorman. It’s at about 1:40:

Photo credit: and FameFlynet

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88 Responses to “Christina Applegate on her double mastectomy: “I miss my exquisite breasts””

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  1. Annie says:

    So you have to wait a while before you get implants and have breasts again, right? My grandma had double mastectomy. She didn’t care about the cosmetic recontruction at her age but it definitely depressed her having no breasts anymore. Can’t imagine what a young woman feels like.

    Girls, self-exploration is not the only way! See your doctor every six months! Boobs can be ticking time bombs.

    • BW says:

      No, you don’t have to wait. If you find a cancer surgeon and plastic surgeon who are willing to work together and tag team your surgery, you can get it done at the same time. It is specific to each person, so it’s not an option for everyone, but it is possible.

    • Macey says:

      You dont have to wait but they dont just stick them in either. It is a process b/c they have to “stretch out” the skin first to even fit the implant. This can take months in between the stretching because they do it gradually (this also depends on the size too). My cousin started not long after she had hers removed and was still in the “stretching” process before she lost her battle.
      Id say it can take at least a year or two for the process to be complete. Its not easy and very painful.

    • Meg says:

      I hope this doesn’t sound insensitive – but from watching Nip/Tuck I remember one woman who opted not to have the reconstruction immediately said it was because she didn’t think her body could handle the recovery after such a rough time with cancer/chemo etc. She said a friend told her it felt like ‘a ton of bricks’ on her chest after the surgery.

      Not meaning to sound like a dick by referencing a fictional show, but it sounded valid to me so I understand why some may not want them right away.

      • Jill says:

        I don’t think that sounded insensitive. I can see some women not electing to have it done right away with that same thought in mind.

    • Mayamae says:

      Sometimes immediate reconstruction is the only way that insurance will cover the cost – as recently as 5 years ago I had insurance that required this for cost savings.

  2. Chicagogurl17 says:

    Doesn’t sound easy. I appreciate her honesty.

  3. itstrue says:

    She’s gorgeous. And she should take heart because after her kid they wouldn’t probably be so exquisite anymore.

  4. Lady D says:

    I feel for her and anyone in the position of losing a body part. To me, losing any body part would be horrifying.I’m supposed to need my feet amputated within the next 5-6 years. Don’t know what I’m going to do.

    • marie says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, there’s no reversing the diagnosis?

    • Amelia says:

      Hope you’re doing as well as can be expected, Lady D, that’s a hard diagnosis. You’ve got a lot of virtual support behind you, being on CB :)

    • lower-case deb says:

      hope you don’t mind me jumping in with the others to wish you well.
      *sending you a virtual hug and many good vibes*

    • WTF says:

      Sometimes doctors can be wrong. My uncle had colon cancer, and they gave him 6 months, he’s still kicking 30 years later (just saw him at his daughter’s law school graduation).
      Keep your head up!!

    • JudyK says:

      LadyD, I want to give you a word of encouragement. About ten (10) years ago, my mother was brought over here from another town by ambulance because of poor circulation in her foot.

      She was told her leg needed to be amputated. The doctor told me to talk to her about it. I knew she would never want to live like that. She refused. She’s now 88 and has both legs.

      Keep the faith!

    • ZenB!tch says:

      Medicine can change in the next 5 years. I know I’m a hypocrite saying this because I am a total Negative Nellie but think positive, it will work out. Is alternative medicine an option?

      Good luck and sending positive vibes your way.

    • Sue says:

      Dear Lady D,
      Please keep the faith! Doctors make mistakes. Please investigate holistic medicine – there is an answer out there for you. Listen to Dr. Joel Wallach on He has lots of advice about healing illnesses through nutrition. He also has a free call in radio show – Mon. through Fri. God bless~

  5. Sam says:

    Sounds weird, but I can’t imagine losing my breasts. I’m not even that into them. But if I think about going through something like that I think I’d feel like amputee or something. Glad she’s doing well now :)

  6. Jennika says:

    Ah love her! On the dailymail there’s an article about a tattoo artist drawing 3D nipples after mastectomys. Could someone explain to me why your nipple gets removed after the mastectomy? Is it to make room to take out the whole breast? thanks!

    • BW says:

      If you have your breast removed, the nipple is attached to it. Plain skin is stretched over the bare area, so a fake nipple is sometimes created. It’s the woman’s choice if she wants that or not. Some women go for implants with no nipple. You don’t notice when they are dressed.

    • DaphneS says:

      @Jennika, there is such a thing as nipple sparing mastectomy, but it’s not an option for everyone. It depends on tumor size/location and other factors.

      It wasn’t an option for me because my rather large tumor was right next to the nipple, so everything had to go.

    • Meg says:

      Also the object of the breast is to feed babies. The nipple is attached to all the glands + tubes underneath which create and carry the milk. I imagine it could be very difficult to remove everything and leave the nipple as it is all connected. Plus there is probably a chance that the nipple itself could become cancerous…

    • ZenB!tch says:

      I don’t know if this is true so if someone could either confirm or deny it would be great…

      I heard that reconstructing the nipple is considered “cosmetic” and that insurance doesn’t cover it. It makes no sense to me but that is what I was told.

      -Source a friend whose MIL had a double mastectomy after surviving breast cancer once prior.

      • Ashley says:

        There’s a federal law stating that your insurance must cover all parts of reconstruction, including nipple reconstruction. It used to be considered cosmetic years ago, but if I’m not mistaken the law went into effect at least a decade ago, maybe late 90s, early 00s.

  7. JudyK says:

    Christina, honey, you are STILL exquisite.

    Many years ago my attorney boyfriend was at my house when you appeared on the tv screen and this loud “WOW” involuntarily came out of his mouth. I was so jealous of you!

    I think you are even more beautiful today than you were then.

    • itstrue says:

      Similar experience watching Saturday Night Live with the hubby, she looks great. A boob does not a person make.

  8. dcypher1 says:

    I cant imagine what getting your breast removed must feel like. Shes so strong to have gone thru that then have a baby. And she wants another baby. shes put her body thru hell. Well I think shes cray but if thats what she wants I hope it happens for her again.

  9. jc126 says:

    I can’t imagine how it must be to have a private medical matter become public SO soon after it happens.

    • Miffy says:

      Yeah, that stands out as a pretty disgusting invasion of privacy. It’s not gossip or scandal, that was just twisted.

  10. goodquestion says:

    I remember reading an interview with her after the surgery where she said that she was happy to have fake boobs because they would look better after she turned 40 than her real ones would have. maybe she was joking.

    • Rachel says:

      I’m sure she was joking: I made the same joke. Hey, if you don’t laugh about it, you’ll cry. As good as the reconstruction has gotten, breast tissue is hard to imitate. If you have some breast tissue and implants, it can look nice, but no breast tissue + implant = it will always look fake. I now have two oranges stapled to my chest rather than two little sloping hills. It’s the slope into the breast they can’t recreate.

    • Justaposter says:

      I think she was quasi joking. It was a funny line.

      I think mostly it was her being a cheerleader about her health to loved ones.

      I BTDT (kidney cancer) you run around and pump everyone up because you have been given great odds with your cancer diagnosis, and you just go into hypermode reasurring everyone, and yourself that you will be okay.

      And then you crash and burn. You kinda forget to “listen” to yourself with all of that cheerleading and really hammers you over the head that you had a major surgery, you had cancer and you just fall apart.

      Also like what Rachel said, if you don’t laugh, you cry.

      Rachel, (and anyone else who is a fellow cancer survivor) continued good health and happiness!

      • Rachel says:

        You too, justaposter! XO

      • orion70 says:

        Best wishes to you too Justaposter. And oh yes are you ever right about the whole crash and burn thing. And it often happens when your supports drop back and the pressure increases to become a more active participant in work etc.

      • UghInsomnia says:

        @Justaposter- my mother is fighting stage 4 kidney cancer right now. any advice? She’s already lost a kidney and half of her left lung, and it’s in her bones now :(

    • ZenB!tch says:

      It’s a joke with some truth to it. I’m her age and would like to have perkier boobs but I don’t want to go through what she did to get them.

      I think she was trying to look at the bright side. It could be worse, she could be dead or not have reconstruction covered but at the same time, the situation is horrid.

      I have fibro-something which happens in younger women. They had to do a second mammogram and an ultrasound after my baseline mammogram. That was scary enough, if they had said I had cancer I would have freaked out – even if it was curable. One of my friends had a lumpectomy at 39 for breast cancer so I was not going in there thinking … oooh I’m 38, it’s not cancer.

  11. teehee says:

    Well, I dont like mine, so I also feel the sadness of missing good ones LOL :P If I lost them entirely, I wouldnt hesitate to replace them with something much better ;)

    • Ashley says:

      That’s not nearly as funny as you think it is. I believe you’ve posted about this before. Maybe you don’t like your breasts, but at least yours didn’t almost kill you. You’re sad about having “bad breasts”, she’s sad about having NO breasts. It’s like you’re trivializing what she, and everyone else who underwent a double mastectomy, went through. Good luck to you though. I sincerely hope you never have to undergo breast reconstructive surgery. I have a feeling you won’t love the results.

      • Erinn says:

        +1 Ashley. You handled that in a way more pleasant way than most people would have.

      • teehee says:

        Ashley I am in no way “trivializing” anything about cancer or mastectomy etc. You totally are misunderstanding what I said, I think on purpose, so you can enjoy being critical. Hence why people are on this site.
        I was only relating to the issue in the only way that I CAN, and to express that I can imagine the pain and sadness it would cause. I was expressing sympathy. Sorry if it wasnt to your liking. I suppose if I havent been thru the procedure you dont think I have any understanding or something? Maybe for no good reason at all, I have to validate myself by saying that my chest is what it is now due to two open heart surgeries as a baby? Add to it the damaged artery on one side causing lack of blood flow? Does it or should it even matter why? I understand the sense of loss and sadness, that is all.

        I didnt say ANYTHING about the cause of her or anyone elses situations.
        “Good luck” to you too, because I hope I have to fortune of not having to hear from you again. Although “I have a feeling” you will shoot back anyway and assume it had some effect.

      • teehee says:

        Whoop double post too

      • orion70 says:

        I don’t want to jump all over the OP here, but I tend to agree with you. That sort of comment is right up there with the people who, upon learning that I may need a hysterectomy as part of the fallout of breast cancer treatment, infer envy of sorts because they wish they didn’t have to deal with periods any more. I actually wish I was still having a period instead of being catapulted into way too early menopause (or chemopause, as it were).

        I’ve heard people make jabs about breast cancer saying “at least they get new boobs, what’s the big deal”. Not ok.

    • CrreamSoda says:

      I understand your feelings, but appreciate what you do have right now. I always felt insecure about having such small breasts. Then I lost part of one of them after a breast cancer diagnosis in my 20s (no family history either). Now, after having kids, my breasts are mismatched because the one with cancer never grew while pregnant. My life is beautiful now do I don’t sweat it, but I do wish that I hadn’t wasted so much time feeling bad about my breasts before the cancer. There was no need to feel bad for myself back then. And trust me, you still feel bad about losing them even when you didn’t think they were that great to begin with.

      • teehee says:

        I believe that. Thanks for seeing thru the comment and past the obvious superficiality which was mostly just kidding but not intended to be at anyones expense but mine.
        I could have just said “yeah, I miss exquisite ones too” and that would have prevented this mess.

    • CrreamSoda says:

      Double post – oops

    • Ashley says:

      Actually teehee, I’m typically not a needlessly critical person. If you would like to receive the courtesy of not hearing from me, perhaps you could learn to spell the word first. THAT’s needless criticism. This isn’t. My issue, in fact, is that you are “relating” to the issue, not by sharing your/loved one’s fight with breast cancer and the choice to have a mastectomy, but by essentially saying “I have mismatched boobs, so I totally understand how she feels about getting her boobs removed (and either being completely flat, or stuck with implants, which often look unnatural due to the lack of any mammary fat). No big deal, if I had my boobs cut off, I would just get new, better ones!” What are you imagining the pain and sadness of anyway?According to you, you already feel that sadness about your own breasts. And even though you directly said nothing of cancer, you did say “If I lost them entirely..”. What are you referencing? Are you boobs going to magically disappear? One could only think you were referring to a double mastectomy, typically done to prevent or treat *breast cancer*. Frankly, I’m trying to be civil, but you clearly don’t understand the point I’m trying to get across and you clearly don’t understand how insensitive that comment is to someone who went through this disease.

      And again, I hope you never have to go through that. But if you do, at least you’ll have “better” boobs, right?

      • Ashley says:

        And thanks for editing your comment while I was typing mine (making mine only semi-relevant)! And actually no, you really didn’t have to go into specifics. I WON’T be sharing my little life story with you. I don’t want the pity you’re trying to generate to hide your ignorance.

      • teehee says:

        Oh please I’m not trying to get pity, but explaining where I am coming from but to a person like yourself, it doesnt matter because youve got some block in your head.
        I’m also not going on for any sympathy but merely- again- relating to it the way I know how. I had no control over the issue, I had surgeries, I was ill, I was operated-etc– seems like a good match to me and it deals with the same region of the body.
        Why is that such a bad thing????? Does that make me a vapid dingbat suddenly because it ISNT cancer????? Christ almighty!
        But saying “Im impressed she didnt just get bolt on grapefruits halves” (scroll down) is not criticised. Mental note: Next time, I’ll comment along those lines. :P

      • Erin says:

        Damn Ashley, calm down. Teehee knows what it feels like to go through surgeries, though not breast cancer, it still is something. None of us will know what it is like to lose something as precious to femininity as breasts unless we go through it, but I think teehee was just trying to lighten the comments.

    • itstrue says:

      I think we are all trained our entire lives to “look on the bright side” or “get lemons, make lemonade”. I think it comes as a knee jerk reaction for some. Myself included. I made a comment a bit earlier about saggy mom boobs–har-de-har. Not intentionally making light of the situation, just trying to maybe make someone smile.

  12. Rachel says:

    She’s right. The shock of losing your body part. The amputee feeling. It’s been two years for me, and I still feel like an amputee although I have “new” ones. However, my gratitude for still being alive far outweighs any quibbles I have about my chest. God bless her and her new, wonderful family.

    • TQB says:

      Bless you too, Rachel!!!

    • orion70 says:

      I think this is all part of the (for lack of better word) grieving process you go through after going through a cancer battle. I had a large lumpectomy, so I wasn’t dealing with reconstruction etc, but I can honestly say I really miss the old me as a whole.

  13. Dusty says:

    Her breasts were betraying her – she is better off without them killing her.

  14. Celt Lady says:

    After having breast cancer twice, losing both breasts, all that I can say is that I would rather lose my boobs than lose my life.

    • orion70 says:

      Absolutely. My surgeon focused a LOT on saving my breast, which is fine I guess, but at the time I was like just get this thing out of me, I don’t care what you cut off.

      Wish you well.

  15. Ben says:

    So sad. She is absolutely beautiful and one of the truly good people to come out of Hollywood. As hard as it is for a woman to have a mastectomy they and their spouse have to keep reminding themselves of why they had to have it to be able to accept it.

  16. gg says:

    I’m impressed that she didn’t get obvious bolted on grapefruit halves.

  17. Rux says:

    Gawd, I feel for her. I remember watching Married with Children and I thought she was so beautiful and funny, really funny. I liked the fact that her career still moved forward but at a steady pace. I wish her all the best.

  18. the original bellaluna says:

    This whole thing just made me cry, from the headline to what the paps did to her.

    Good on her for making a really difficult choice, being honest, and surviving! She is lovely.

    p.s. Anchorman has been playing on HBO lately – I think I’ll watch it now.

  19. lucy2 says:

    I feel so badly for her and everyone going through something like this – best wishes to everyone.

    That is really terrible that the media found out and reported on it. That sort of info should be private, and up to the person to decide if they want it public.

  20. tmbg says:

    I’m glad Christina is well now. I’ve often wondered if reconstruction presents another opportunity for disease though. Is it safe because the breast just contains a saline implant and the tissue is gone? I never really read much about the subject.

    Personally I wish my chest had stayed as flat as it was when I was 10. It’s not large by any means, but they terrify me. It seems like everyone gets breast cancer (yeah, I know that isn’t true, but it seems like it).

    • orion70 says:

      It can reduce your risk significantly, but that risk never goes to zero as far as I know. I believe I’ve heard of women who have a recurrence to their chest wall.

  21. Sweet Dee says:

    Anchorman made me fall back in love with her when it came out. She was so good in it. I love her, everything about her! She was also hilarious on SNL a couple of weeks ago, she did Kristin Wiig’s old parts really well. I also love her stance on gay rights:

  22. mar says:

    I really like her. I do not say this about a lot of celebs. She is pretty, natural and funny. God bless her!

  23. apsutter says:

    Love Christina Applegate and I was so happy for her that she beat it and was able to have a baby. She’s hilarious and a great role model for women. Really enjoyed her appearance on SNL too.

  24. Winnie says:

    Anyone know what she is talking about regarding what happened in her pregnancy affecting whether she has another baby? I don’t remember reading anything about that.

    • apsutter says:

      Hmmm…I dont think she ever disclosed any problems but all kinds of complications can arise. Especially for a woman of her age who have dealt with medical conditions. I like that she’s being discreet.

  25. Ginger says:

    I’m happy she is doing well now…I have not been through a mastectomy but I have had a scary medical diagnosis and ensuing emotional collapse/divorce so I can relate to her pain in that way and I too wanted a 2nd child with my new husband (who also put me under his wing and I’ve never left his side since) but its not meant to be…I’m happy with my only child. I’m glad she can talk about it…perhaps it will help other women feel less alone in their pain

  26. judyjudy says:

    I love her beautiful non-botoxy face.

  27. Rose says:

    I’ve always liked Christina Applegate and she’s shown a lot of resilience through the whole cancer experience. She’s an amazing example to women.

    Also, so happy for her when she had a baby!

  28. Miffy says:

    I love her honesty, I love that she has a story with hope regarding cancer, she’s a talented lady and I sincerely hope she gets to have that 2nd baby she wants.

  29. Amanda Hugginkiss says:

    She seems to have grown into an impressive woman, while maintaining her humor and sensibilities through challenging times.

  30. ZenB!tch says:

    The thing is, it depicted parenthood so realistically that I found it a little stressful! It wasn’t “fake” enough for a sitcom, if that makes sense. ————

    LOL! That is why I can’t watch “The Office”.

    As an aside… she’s not fat. I remember another thread where it was mentioned that the tabloids thought she looked fat because she hadn’t lost all the baby weight. She may be at weight, I think a tad below actually, but definitely not fat.

    She does need leg make up, her legs look like mine all scarred and bruised and that is no way for a woman to look on the red carpet. I’m sitting here in pants.

  31. LittleDeadGirl says:

    Can’t imagine how horrible it’d be to go through this surgery, and then to have her hand forced by the media. I really find that so despicable. Glad she is doing ok and was able to have a baby. All the best for her and her new family.