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Though he's now in remission and back in action with the new FX series The Old Man, Jeff Bridges is reflecting on the back-to-back health crises that saw him battling both non-Hodgkins lymphoma and COVID-19.
In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the 72-year-old star shares how he struggled to breathe after testing positive for the coronavirus alongside wife Susan Geston, with whom he marks 45 years of marriage on June 5. The Big Lebowski actor had previously shared with People that he was "close to dying" during that time, as his chemotherapy treatments had left him with "no defenses" with which to fight off COVID, which he contracted at a medical facility early last year before vaccines were publicly available.
"My wife would ask, 'Is he going to die?'" Bridges, who spent five weeks in the hospital compared to five days for Geston. "And they'd say, 'We're doing the best that we can.' They wouldn't reassure her that it was all going to be fine."
He admitted that despite his doctors' urging him to fight, he went into "surrender mode."
"We're all gonna die, man," he explained. "Come on. We're all going to get sick and die. And your friends are gonna die. That's part of it."
Despite his pain, the Crazy Heart actor did challenge himself to show up for his family. The star shares three daughters with Geston, the youngest of whom, Haley, got married just as his health turned a corner.
"I started getting better and my goal was walking Haley down the wedding aisle," he shared. "I'd get to walk her down, and do a little wedding dance. It was really, really terrific."
Footage shared with CBS Sunday Morning shows the tuxedo-clad star showing off some spry moves during his father-daughter dance with Haley.
Ultimately, his health scare has helped Bridges find gratitude and new appreciation for the human condition.
"During my illness, we so often said, 'That's not really I wanted; I wanted more of this,'" he said. "But just being alive, you know — seeing, hearing, feeling, touching ... If COVID has taught us anything, it's taught us that we're all in this together, man. We're all connected. and to feel that connection in the form of love coming at you, that's something else."