Mark Ruffalo Kept His Pregnant Wife In The Dark About His 'Deadly' Brain Tumor

Aug 02, 2022 by apost team

Mark Ruffalo’s career has been a story of struggle before his great success as one of the top actors in Hollywood. He found fame later in life but beforehand, he had to deal with depression and time as a young burnout. As with many successful actors in Hollywood, success is not a straight path, and Ruffalo had a lot of challenges before he found the success she had always wanted. 

Ruffalo knew in his heart that he wanted to be an actor and finally caught a break with a solid movie role, but unfortunately, it was at the same moment that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001. He kept the diagnosis a secret from his family until his wife gave birth to their first child. This is not an easy feat to achieve, but he overcame the health problems he had faced with the help of good doctors and the support of his loving family. However, there are still lingering effects of the brain tumor that Ruffalo struggles with today. 

Not only has Ruffalo gone on to have more children since coming out of the surgery, but he has also found better success in Hollywood by bagging the coveted role of Bruce Banner and the Hulk in the Avengers franchise and starring in more than 30 movies in the last 20 years.

It may be interesting to know that Ruffalo had a vivid dream about having a brain tumor, and it felt so real that it led him to approach a doctor right away. 

Mark Ruffalo, Sunrise Ruffalo (2001), (SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images)

Ruffalo was born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to father Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter and Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser according to IMDb. Ruffalo spent his teenage years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, before his family ended up moving to San Diego after he graduated from high school. 

Ruffalo's dream of becoming an actor began at a very young age. When he was 8 years old, The Observer reported that he watched the television premiere of "A Streetcar Named Desire." He said about the movie, "It made me want to be an actor … Brando’s magnetism and that fearlessness and the vulnerability. His raw presence was slightly effeminate, balanced. It was more real, more honest. And I guess it became about looking for the things that seem honest to me, that really reflect life, that are the things that turn me on about movies."

However, Ruffalo has been candid about his early years, telling New York Magazine that he wandered aimlessly, surfing, and smoking after graduating from high school, almost ready to jump off a bridge. He also told The Observer that he suffers from a low-grade chronic depression that afflicts him daily even today. 

When he felt like he was going nowhere, Ruffalo told Variety, "Someone told me I should go study there so out of my desperation and my secret of wanting to be an actor, I took the train up there for an interview with my teacher Joanne Linville."

While he was nervous about what was to come, his excitement had no bounds.

Sunrise Ruffalo, Mark Ruffalo (2003), (George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images)

Ruffalo said, "Here I am, this kid from Kenosha, Wis., who was dyslexic, could barely read, I barely got through high school and I went in and I talked to Joanne." He continued, "She interviewed me for like 10 minutes. She was like, 'You belong here, darling.' I never had anyone tell me I belong somewhere. I had never been so excited about learning in my entire life as I embarked on that journey."

Ruffalo got his big break in the 2001 thriller “The Last Castle” alongside Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, when he received the distressing news about a medical diagnosis. Strangely, he only went to the doctor because he had a dream that he had a brain tumor, and he was right. He told The Guardian that it was such a clear and unusual dream that he knew he had to go.

"It wasn't like divine intervention in any way, though that's how some people explained it to me," he said. Ruffalo was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, which ended up being a walnut-size tumor behind his left ear. 

His wife Sunrise Coigney was pregnant with their first child at the time and the soon-to-be father did not want to stress her out.

“He didn’t tell anyone for weeks,” his mother said to Men's Journal. “When he finally did, I was like, ‘Oh, my God. How could you bear all that?’”

It was only a week after their son Keen was born that Ruffalo decided to tell his wife and his family. Then, two weeks later he had surgery. Express UK reported that Ruffalo was "certain" that he was going to die. Thankfully, however, he came out of the surgery alive but not without major challenges.

Mark Ruffalo (2020), (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

The process of healing was a hard one for the movie star, especially because it left one side of his face paralyzed. His hopes for a career in Hollywood seemed dashed and he shut out the world, going into a self-imposed exile. 

He told the Guardian, "I tell you, I was so desperate to get better after my surgery that I tried everything - energy healers, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, everything, everything. There was nothing I wouldn't have tried."

But eventually, the muscles regained their movement and he was able to use his entire face, although he is still deaf in one ear today. His recovery was miraculous in some ways, but it left him worried about whether he would have a future in Hollywood because of his long hiatus and the weight gained from steroid treatments. 

But as we know, Ruffalo has not only made it in Hollywood, but he has also gone on to have a beautiful family. Along with his son Keen, Ruffalo and wife Coigney are parents to Bella Ruffalo, born in 2005, and Odette Ruffalo, born in 2007. 

Since then, Ruffalo has had two more children with his wife and worked in a dizzying array of movies, at least 30 since his surgery according to IMDb. He even managed to nab the iconic role of the Incredible Hulk in Marvel’s “Avenger” movies, and best actor Oscar nominations for “Spotlight,” “Foxcatcher,” and “The Kids Are All Right.” 

Ruffalo has always put his family first, and his decision to keep his brain tumor diagnosis a secret till his son's birth shows that he is a truly selfless family man. 

Mark Ruffalo, Sunrise Ruffalo, Keen, Bella, Odette (2019), (Jesse Grant/Getty Images/Disney)

What would you do if you were in Mark Ruffalo’s position? Would you wait to break the stressful news or just be upfront about it all? Let us know.

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