Alec Baldwin, who has spoken only obliquely about his chronic Lyme disease, revealed on Sunday that the condition once became so acute he believed he might die.
“I got the classic Lyme disease [symptoms] for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like [these] black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed,” Baldwin, 59, told an audience at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s annual LymeAid Benefit Gala in Portola Valley, California, according to People magazine.
“The first time was the worst of all,” he said. “And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife,” Oscar-winner Kim Basinger, to whom he was wed from 1993 to 2002. “I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.’”
The Amityville-born and Massapequa-raised Baldwin, who had mentioned his Lyme disease in passing to The New York Times in 2011, said he first contracted it roughly 17 years ago, when bitten by its primary North American carrier, the blacklegged tick or deer tick. He received an inoculation, but years later was bitten again. Typical symptoms include fever, fatigue and skin rash, and untreated Lyme disease can lead to facial paralysis, arthritis and other conditions, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Baldwin and his wife Hilaria regularly check their children — daughter Carmen, 3, and sons Rafael, 23 months, and Leonardo, 8 months — for tick bites, the actor said. “I want my kids to grow up riding horses and bikes and enjoying themselves every day and not have to spend every day with us going over them with a magnifying glass to make sure they don’t have any ticks on their body or their dogs, but that is part of the lifestyle of where I live.” The family has homes in Manhattan and Amagansett.
Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee Debbie Gibson revealed in 2014 that she had struggled for over a year with Lyme disease, the cause of what she termed the “skeletal” appearance that had sparked public concern. She regained her health after adopting alternative treatments including chiropractic kinesiology, she said.