72-year-old actor, Jeff Bridges has come forward to talk about the health challenges he has been facing in recent years. Having been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2020 and then contracting COVID-19 in January 2021, the actor was set back tremendously. This was all before his daughter, 37-year-old Hayley’s wedding in August 2021.
“The first goal was how long can I stand up,” Jeff Bridges said in a recent interview about his daughter’s wedding. At the time, he could only stand for an average of 45 seconds, which meant that he required a personal trainer to get him back to a more stable condition. The aim was to increase his step count and manage his oxygen levels with the assistance of a ventilator.
A motivated father
Bridges explained, “Finally, one day I said, ‘Maybe I can do it, you know.’ And it turns out I not only got to walk her down the aisle, but I got to do the wedding dance. That was terrific.” This was all thanks to the motivation he had working with a really good trainer every day. It was the push he needed. The practice already commenced while in the hospital, walking down the corridor while still attached to the oxygen he needed. “And it turns out I not only got to walk her down the aisle, but I got to do the wedding dance”.
Jeff Bridges spent nearly 5 months in the hospital due to health struggles
“I had no defenses. That’s what chemo does — it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it,” he said. “COVID made my cancer look like nothing.” He was unable to roll over by himself in bed and had a nurse assist him with oxygen administration. “I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.’ I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality,” he said.
A gorgeous wedding for a gorgeous bride
Hayley married her longtime love, Justin Shane in a gorgeous private wedding in Kestrel Park in Santa Ynez, California. Her father gave one of the loveliest speeches, “touching on a trait of Justin’s that I also mentioned in my vows, which is that kids and dogs love him,” adding: “I believe this to be an example of his wonderful energy.”
Brides magazine published a set of beautiful wedding photographs from the big day in July, one where you can see the proud father walk his daughter down the aisle towards the altar. Capturing the guests grinning at the sight. He even performed the toast at the reception after the ceremony by himself but reminded us that there was a tremendous amount of sweat and tears that went into these moments.
A marriage made to last for Jeff Bridges and his wife, Susan Geston
Jeff Bridges has been married to film producer Susan Geston, since 1977, and they have two older daughters, Isabelle and Jessica. He revealed that while on cancer treatment, the secondary illness he contracted at the time made cancer feel like a walk in the park. Saying that everything in life became ‘hyper-precious’ to him amid his illness. The positive outlook he has had ever since is just a reminder to us all that the right motivation can drive us to do anything.
In an interview with Sky News, Jeff Bridges said that the entire journey was “Not all bad – [there were] wonderful parts about being that sick that were kind of unexpected, you know, feeling all that love coming towards me from my family and friends and from other people all over the world. That was [an] unexpected, wonderful feeling, and then also the love that that kind of trigger for me. I said, Oh yeah, this is life, this is wonderful, and everything became kind of hyper-precious during that time“.
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- “‘I could only stand for 45 seconds’: Jeff Bridges, 72, reveals he worked with a trainer to walk daughter Hayley, 37, down the aisle after dual battle with cancer and COVID-19.” Daily Mail. Geraint Llewellyn. November 10, 2022
- “Jeff Bridges Reveals He Worked with a Trainer to Walk His Daughter Down the Aisle at Her Wedding.” People. Ingrid Vasquez. November 10, 2022