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Mark Ruffalo Recalls Why He Waited to Tell Wife Sunrise Coigney He Had a Brain Tumor

Mark Ruffalo is opening up about experiencing a health scare at the age of 33.

“I had a brain tumor after the success of You Can Count on Me,” Ruffalo, now 56, recalled on the Monday, January 22, “SmartLess” podcast episode, referring to the 2000 drama.

Ruffalo explained that at the time, his wife, Sunrise Coigney, now 51, was nine months pregnant with their eldest child, Keen, now 22, and “the baby was imminently coming.”

“I had one of those 4 a.m. calls and I woke up probably around 3 a.m. and I just had this crazy dream,” Ruffalo said. “And 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, ‘You have a brain tumor, and you have to deal with it immediately.’”

Mark Ruffalo Explains Why He Waited 1 Week to Tell Wife Sunrise He Had a Brain Tumor 522
Mark Ruffalo. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
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He added that the dream was “so intense” and had a “sense of doom.” Ruffalo explained that the only symptoms he had was an ear infection, but he still went to the doctor immediately after his dream.

“I said, ‘Listen, this is going to sound crazy, but I had this dream last night that I had a brain tumor,’” he recalled, adding that the doctor proceeded to order him a CAT scan despite unconvincing evidence. “And I was like, ‘Great, I am crazy. Just do it anyway.’”

The 13 Going on 30 actor continued that he went to the neurologist’s office to have the scan read, and then the nurse called the doctor out.

“She comes in and she’s just kind of, like, a zombie,” he recalled. “And she says, ‘You have a mass behind your left ear the size of a golf ball. We don’t know what it is, we can’t tell until it’s biopsied.’”

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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Ruffalo added that he didn’t tell Coigney because of their child’s impending arrival, and he ultimately waited until a week after their baby was born to break the news to her.

“When I told Sunny about it, first she thought I was joking,” he explained. “And then she just burst into tears and said, ‘I always knew you were gonna die young.’”

While the tumor ended up being benign, Ruffalo still left the health scare with a permanent condition — he became “completely deaf” in one ear.

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“When I woke up, the left side of my face was totally paralyzed, like I couldn’t even close my eye,” he said. “They said to me I had like I had a 20% chance of nicking my nerve on the left side of my face and killing it and then I had a 70% chance of losing my hearing, which went.”

He continued that he “didn’t really believe” it but said, “Take my hearing, but let me keep the face and just let me be the father of these kids.”

As well as Keen, Coigney and Ruffalo share daughters Bella, 18, and Odette, 16.

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