In a recent podcast with SmartLess, the 'Poor Things' actor spoke up about the brain tumor diagnosis during his early 30s.
It is amazing how sometimes listening to our instincts saves us during crucial situations in life. Such is the power of the human mind that could serve as a wake-up call to protect ourselves from something terrible. That was the case for the Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001 after having a "crazy" dream about it. The "Begin Again" actor opened up about this bizarre incident during a recent SmartLess podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett.
Ruffalo was making his way into Hollywood working with the big agents and right after the successful run of his film "You Can Count On Me," life threw him a curveball. "It's the craziest thing," he said. During the last few days of shooting for the film "The Last Castle" with James Gandolfini and Robert Redford, Ruffalo had one of those dreams that felt so real. He said, "It wasn't like any other dream I'd ever had. It was just like you have a brain tumor. It wasn't even a voice, it was just pure knowledge." Ruffalo just knew inherently that he had a brain tumor and had to deal with it immediately. All he had was an ear infection the previous night and had no other symptoms of a brain tumor.
When the "Poor Things" star visited the cast doctor the next day, she thought he was crazy for worrying about a dream. However, she agreed to do a CAT scan after his work to show how crazy he was. Ruffalo said that after his CAT scan, the doctor was appalled by his result and informed him that he had a mass behind his left ear and it was the size of a "golf ball." It was the same ear that he had an infection and after the biopsy, the doctors found the mass to be a benign brain tumor. The actor was just 33 years old when this happened and was about to have his first child with his wife, Sunrise Coigney.
"I didn't tell Sunny because I know she had the birth plan, she did the yoga, she had the doula. You know we had the hot tub ordered," said Ruffalo. It was hilarious yet so moving that the actor didn't want to ruin things for his pregnant wife by revealing his health condition. He tried to keep it a secret even after his baby arrived and when he finally told her, she thought he was just joking. On realizing the seriousness of his situation, Coigney got emotional and the first thing she said was, "I always knew you were going to die young."
Thanks to the crazy dream, Ruffalo got his tumor checked out at an early stage and the doctors were able to remove it. As a result, the "Now You See Me" actor woke up with the left part of his face completely paralyzed and the doctors gave him a 20% chance to regain sensation on that side. Despite knowing that he might go deaf in his left ear, Ruffalo told the doctors, "Take my hearing. Let me keep the face. Just let me be the father to this kid." So, this life-changing diagnosis left the actor deaf in one ear, but that never held him back from delivering amazing performances in his movies. Ruffalo has been nominated for the Oscars 2024 in the "Best Supporting Actor" category for his brilliantly portraying his role in the movie "Poor Things" alongside Emma Stone.