The Heartbreaking Truth About Hallmark Star Jamie-Lynn Sigler

This article discusses eating disorders.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler has lived through a fair share of tragic events in her life, but she chooses to focus on the positive. Known for playing James Gandolfini's onscreen daughter, Sigler has never been able to leave "The Sopranos" role behind. It's a curse that many actors who star in hit shows live with. But Sigler sees the glass half-full. "It's a double-edged sword sometimes in this business because you feel like you can't get away, but when you ever get to have an opportunity to be part of something so iconic, it's pretty awesome," she said on "Harry" in 2016.

While Sigler continued to work as an actor after the HBO flagship show, she opted to put her family first. In March 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sigler and baseball player Cutter Dykstra, whom she married in 2016, left California behind and relocated to Texas. Sigler wanted her two sons, Beau and Jack, to grow up away from the glitz and glam. They chose Austin because of the opportunities to live with more outdoor space. "It's all about outdoors and nature which I really appreciate since I never had it growing up in New York and L.A.,'" she told People.

Sigler is enjoying her life, having found a good balance between her career and family, but she had to endure a lot to get to where she is today. And she had to overcome a lot of obstacles and heartache, particularly involving her health and the loss of loved ones. 

Jamie-Lynn Sigler was misdiagnosed with Lyme disease

In 2000, when she was at the height of her "Sopranos" fame, Jamie-Lynn Sigler was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Then 19 years old, the actor was in rural New Jersey filming the indie horror film "Campsite Stories" when her feet started to tingle. She didn't make much of it, but then her legs stopped moving suddenly. She was transported to a hospital in Long Island, where doctors struggled to figure what was going on. "It was such a life-altering experience," she told The Star-Ledger in 2001. 

They finally pinned it on Lyme. "I realized it could all be taken away in a moment. It's hard to explain, when you sit there and can't move anything..." she reflected. Sigler was administered antibiotics and made a full recovery. Or so she thought. After experiencing no symptoms for several months, Sigler was hit by the familiar discomfort in her lower body once again. It had been a normal day. She had filmed an episode of "Sopranos" and was about to take a shower to get ready for an event when the symptoms returned with full force.

"It was that feeling right before you get pins and needles — that weird tingling, like your legs are asleep," she told WebMD in 2016. This wasn't supposed to happen. "I didn't know if this was a relapse or what it was," she says. "I was just scared, and I was nervous." It wasn't a relapse. Sigler had actually been misdiagnosed.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler lives with multiple sclerosis

About a year after her misdiagnosis, Jamie-Lynn Sigler learned what was really going on. "I remember we were in my apartment in New York and the doctor called my dad and he said, 'Your daughter has MS,'" Sigler told People in 2016, the year she first revealed she had been living with multiple sclerosis for close to 15 years. Sigler was terrified. "My ideas of MS were limited. I thought it meant, 'Wheelchair,'" she said. Sigler thought she would never live a full life.

But with the help of loved ones, Sigler is happy with how things turned out. She can't run or go on super long walks, but she considers those setbacks minor in comparison to what she can do. "I can still accomplish the things that I want to do," she told People in 2023. While those impediments are hard when raising two boys, Sigler prefers to find solutions. "We got a big wagon that I can push, that I can lean on and throw all of the stuff in. It's figuring it out with my husband and my support system: How do we do this?" she said.

Now, Sigler is an advocate for MS, hoping to use her voice to empower others and to raise awareness. In 2024, she partnered up with Christina Applegate, who also suffers from MS, to launch the podcast "MeSsy." "The way Christina allows me to talk about the hard stuff, I needed desperately," she told People

Jamie-Lynn Sigler suffered from an eating disorder

A little before the onset of her MS symptoms, Jamie-Lynn Sigler developed another health condition. "I have something called exercise bulimia, which is where you rid of your calories by over exercising," she said on "The Early Show" in 2003. It started small, with Sigler reducing her meal portions a bit and working out in the mornings. But it quickly began to take over her life. "It snowballed into six or seven hours a day of exercise," she said.

Sigler felt paralyzed by it as she had no time to do anything else. "The difference between a lot of exercise and exercise bulimia is when an individual is willing to cancel their whole life to fit in exercise," she told CNN in 2005. She started waking up at 3 a.m. to jump on the treadmill, where she stayed for the next four hours until she had to get ready for school. She was down to 80 pounds. Sigler had already shot the pilot for "Sopranos," but the show was on hold for about a year. 

When she returned to set, she had everyone concerned. Sigler finally sought help and decided to become a spokesperson for the disease. Her co-stars were proud of her, including James Gandolfini. "He said, 'You know, I think it's really great what you're doing, talking out about what you went through, because it's hard to put yourself out there to help other girls,'" she recalled on "The Early Show."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Jamie-Lynn Sigler lost her oldest brother in 2014

In November 2014, Jamie-Lynn Sigler had to say goodbye to her oldest brother, Adam Sigler, who died from a sudden brain hemorrhage that put him in a coma. "She loved him dearly and will miss him more than anyone can ever imagine. The family was with him every second he was in a coma and was surrounded by his entire family when he passed," a source told Us Weekly. Adam, a stockbroker, was 41.

Jamie mourns not only his absence is her life, but also in her sons'. Sigler's oldest, Beau, was just 1 and her youngest never got to meet him. "I wish you were here to take Beau to Ranger games and sit at the pool in our new house," she wrote on Facebook to mark the second anniversary of his death. But Jamie has kept her brother's memory alive by naming her second son Jack Adam.

And Adam is still a strong presence in Beau's life, even though he was too young to remember him. "Beau said he saw you today. I don't doubt it for a second," Jamie wrote. Jamie has also got the word "Lemonade" tattooed in his honor. In 2017, Jamie revealed her mourning was made all the more difficult because she hadn't answered a text message he sent her a day before. "I just could've communicated with him before and, like, said 'I love you' or something," she said on E!'s "Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry."

Jamie Sigler has grieved her Sopranos co-stars

James Gandolfini's 2013 death was felt across the world, but Jamie-Lynn Sigler took it particularly hard. "This news has left me heartbroken," Sigler said in a statement, E! News reported. Gandolfini had been there for her, even when she tried to shun away. "Jim was someone who saw through that, and in his own particular, nice, special way, he would always pry and ask," she said on "Talking Sopranos" in May 2020. But he never forced it. 

When Sigler was struggling with her eating disorder, Gandolfini approached her but noticed she didn't want to talk about it and left it alone, she said in "The Early Show" interview. But he always made sure to let her know he was there for her. When Sigler was diagnosed with MS, she was also going through a divorce from A.J. DiScala. It was a difficult time, and Gandolfini was one of the people whom she leaned on. "He really stepped up," she said in "Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos."

But Gandolfini wasn't the only "Sopranos" actor Sigler has had to grieve. She was just as devastated by the 2022 death of Tony Sirico. Unlike Gandolfini, Sirico seemed a bit less respectful of Sigler's space — but in the best way. "I have never been able to walk into a room that you were in without you giving me an enormous hug, drenching me in your cologne," she captioned an Instagram post.