After a months-long absence from The Young the Restless, actor Christian LeBlanc has revealed it was a cancer diagnosis that kept him away from the ever-popular soap opera set.
During an interview with CBS affiliate 4WWL in New Orleans, the 65-year-old TV star said he was in June diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a common form of blood cancer that develops from a buildup of abnormal plasma cells in bone marrow.
“It’s a common cancer but a very fast-moving one,” LeBlanc said. “I’d never spent a day in hospital in my 65 years, until this year.”
LeBlanc, who said his cancer is now in remission, first stepped into the shoes of Michael Baldwin on The Young and the Restless in 1991. For over 2,300 episodes, LeBlanc has captivated fans with his dramatic performance. At one point, his character was even diagnosed with cancer, too.
“It’s interesting. You play that scene where you hear the word, just the word, in a doctor’s office: cancer. And I got to play that as Michael Baldwin,” he said, reflecting on how his art has imitated life.
This year, LeBlanc said he started to notice physical differences in his appearance while on set. The actor said he rapidly lost 35 pounds in the span of two months. On one occasion when he put on his character’s wedding ring, he said it “fell off without friction.”
LeBlanc also experienced nosebleeds during filming and saw changes in his facial features, namely a drooping eye.
He wasn’t the only person to be concerned.
“The fans caught it,” LeBlanc recalled with a smile, referring to his drooping eye. He said he received numerous messages from concerned viewers.
Eventually, LeBlanc was told there was a tumour in his sinus cavity.
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He said he underwent surgery and immunotherapy treatment in hospital.
Now that LeBlanc has no evidence of disease (NED), the actor said he will return to The Young and the Restless. His next appearance as Michael Baldwin is slated for the show’s American Thanksgiving episode on Nov. 23.
In the meantime, LeBlanc said he has been working with charities that not only fund cancer research, but also support the cancer community.
“It’s about how to mentally deal with it, how financially you might cope with the expenses of being out of work,” he explained.
LeBlanc is not the only The Young and the Restless cast member to be diagnosed with cancer. In April, Eric Braeden, who played the self-made business mogul Victor Newman, said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
In August, after undergoing a cystoscopy, Braeden said he was cancer-free.
“They couldn’t find a damn thing,” the actor said in a Facebook livestream. “Isn’t that nice?”
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