Jeff Bridges is currently riding high on the success of his FX series The Old Man but recently fought through cancer and a bout with COVID. In his new series, Bridges plays a rogue CIA operative, constantly battling formidable foes to survive. The veteran actor’s recent health setbacks gave him new perspectives on life and mortality.
“I found all my strategies for life came to the surface and even became heightened,” he recently told SPIN. The Crazy Heart star continued, “my sense of leaning into where I am and in seeing what that has to teach me at that moment, as well as my sense of joy and love. I became aware of how much my family and certainly my wife and my daughters, my brother, my sister, friends, and people you don’t even know that care about you and love you.” Jeff Bridges went on to explain, “that heightened my receiving how much I love them. And that was something that I don’t think I would have been privy to unless I was facing mortality. The impermanence of life.”
Bridges eventually came to find his experience battling COVID as “wonderful”
It might seem like a point of view his character from The Big Lebowski would have about the randomness of life. However, Jeff Bridges claims he came to be thankful for his health battles. “At the time, I didn’t appreciate it. But it turns out that was a wonderful thing, he said. “Who would think, “yeah, please give me a little cancer, I’ll take a little side of chemo and give me some yummy COVID for dessert”? the actor quipped. However, Bridges becomes less whimsical as he goes on. He continued, ” but life is constantly giving us these gifts, these obstacles. But they’re the next class, you know? And sometimes you don’t feel up to it. You’re in Algebra III, and you haven’t even finished high school math yet. That often happens.”
The ‘Old Man’ actor fought not to be stubborn during treatment
Eventually, Jeff Bridges said it all boiled down to acceptance when it came to his ailing health. This was tough for him, though. The actor claims stubbornness has been a problem all of his life. “My doctors would say “You gotta fight Jeff,” and I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about — we’re all going to kick the bucket!”, he joked. “And I said, if this is what “kick the bucket” is, let’s get into this, relax, and do the assignment. But surrender mode is not something that comes easy.” Bridges goes on to credit his long-time wife for helping with his rebellious nature. “I resist tremendously — I go into most things with a lot of resistance. I had it with my marriage. I’ve been married for 45 years, and it was love at first sight,” he said. “Frighteningly so — it felt so natural. But I resisted so much. Thank God my wife didn’t kick me to the curb because I was just a pouting guy.”
The Old Man was recently renewed for a second season. The current season is airing on FX.