After bearing the weight of his devastating diagnosis, he finally shared the news with his beloved wife a week after she gave birth to their son, Keen.
People in love go to great lengths just to ensure that their partners are safe and happy. They make all sorts of sacrifices, and sometimes even overlook their own troubles, to protect their lovers and celebrities are no exception to this. Actor Mark Ruffalo and his wife Sunrise Coigney's love story is one such instance. When the 52-year-old movie star had a vivid dream about having a brain tumor, he visited a doctor alone to get it checked since it felt very real to him. Sadly, his dream had turned into a reality he was totally unprepared for. He had a tumor the size of a walnut right behind his left ear. The devastating news came at a time when the Avengers-actor and his wife were pregnant with their first child.
Ruffalo knew that the stress of the diagnosis and the fear of potentially losing her husband to the deadly illness would only do harm to her pregnant wife. So, he bravely decided to keep the news about his tumor from his wife. The doting husband prepared himself to fight the battle alone and continued carrying the burden of his acoustic neuroma diagnosis himself. But the thoughtful 13 going on 30 actor simply couldn't bear the thought of his first child growing up with a father, and recorded a video of himself as something that his kid could remember him by.
"I was certain I was going to die," Ruffalo told Men's Journal. "I made a tape for him. For when he was old enough to understand. Just saying, Hey, this is who I am." After keeping this secret for weeks, Ruffalo finally shared the shocking news with his loved ones a week after his wife gave birth to their son, Keen. "He didn’t tell anyone for weeks. When he finally did, I was like, 'Oh, my God. How could you bear all that?'" recalled his mother.
A few weeks later, Ruffalo went into surgery. Although the tumor turned out to be benign, he came out of the surgery with the left side of his face paralyzed and even deaf. It was an extremely tough time for the man who recently became a father. Ruffalo began avoiding calls and even talking to people. At the peak of his career, he went into hiding, wondering not only if he would ever act again, but also if his body would ever function normally. "Recovery really tested what I was made of as a man," he said, per MensXP.
Eventually, the actor recovered and embarked upon a career of success. Through all the ups and downs in his life, there was someone he could always count on—Sunrise Coigney. His wonderful marriage with the beautiful Sunrise has lasted two decades because she knew Ruffalo when he had almost nothing. As for The Kids Are All Right star, he wanted to marry her from the very first moment they met. It happened on a street while Ruffalo was walking with a mutual friend.
"I don’t think he wanted us to meet," he laughed as he recalled. "But I saw her and was like, I’m going to marry that girl." Ruffalo knew he had nothing to offer Sunrise but his true self. "All I had was my decency, wit, and charm – I didn’t have anything. When I met her, she was like, 'You don’t have a driver’s license, you don’t have a credit card. What is wrong with you, dude? I can’t be with you!'" Sharing just how supportive she was, he continued, "I was living in a converted garage, and she was there for that, she was game. She believed in me. She was like, 'I know you’re a really good actor,’ and I was like, 'You haven’t really seen me act yet.’ And she was like, 'I just know it, I can tell.'"
After dating for three years, the lovely pair tied the knot in 2000. "I ran to my marriage, I was happily ready to take on marriage," he said, as quoted by Goalcast. The couple's family is complete with their three children, Keen, Bella Noche, and Odette. Like every other couple, Ruffalo and Sunrise too had some tough times, but that didn't wane the love they had for each other. "Honestly, it hasn’t been without its difficulties, its shortcomings; it hasn’t been without joy or learning or developing," he said. "I think of marriage as a garden. You have to tend to it. Respect it, take care of it, feed it. Make sure everyone is getting the right amount of, um, sunlight," said Ruffalo about his take on marriage.