Christina Applegate kept cancer diagnosis a secret

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Samantha Who?” star Christina Applegate avoided hugs for weeks and hid her cancer diagnosis from nearly everyone working on her hit television program, the actress said in an interview airing on Friday.

Applegate, 36, publicly revealed her diagnosis for breast cancer in August and had a double-mastectomy performed.

The actress told chat show host Ellen DeGeneres that she went back to work on her sitcom “Samantha Who?” for about five weeks right after her surgery, but mostly kept her diagnosis a secret.

“I told my make-up and hair people and people that are really close to me just so I had a protection wall so that no one was pushing me,” Applegate said.

The California-born actress has said she is cancer free since her surgery. She told DeGeneres that, despite the pain her diagnosis caused her, she is now feeling better.

She said she had been reluctant for a time to hug people “but now I’m good. I’ll grab you,” Applegate said.

“I’m going to hug you a bunch during this commercial break,” DeGeneres told Applegate.

Applegate rose to fame playing the ditzy daughter of a shoe salesman on TV sitcom “Married ... With Children.”

She won an Emmy, U.S. television’s top honor, for a guest role on “Friends.” On “Samantha Who?” she plays an amnesiac trying to pull her life together.

Applegate was interviewed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for a segment airing on Friday. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)