Jamie-Lynn Sigler Found Out After James Gandolfini's Death That He'd Secretly Donated to MS Charities

Sigler revealed Gandolfini was the first person on set of 'The Sopranos' that she told about her MS diagnosis, and he said: "Your secret's safe with me"

<p>Barry Wetcher/Hbo/Kobal/Shutterstock </p> James Gandolfini (left) and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (right)

Barry Wetcher/Hbo/Kobal/Shutterstock

James Gandolfini (left) and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (right)

Jamie-Lynn Sigler is remembering James Gandolfini's subtle way of taking a stand against multiple sclerosis after her diagnosis.

The Big Sky actress, 43, appeared on Justin Long’s Life Is Short podcast on Tuesday, June 18 to discuss all things Sopranos and offer an update on her health. While reminiscing on her time filming with the late Gandolfini, Sigler revealed he was the first person on set to know about her diagnosis.

“He pulled me aside one day and he said, ‘Jamie, what is going on?’” she explained. “I just fell in a puddle in his arms.  And I was just like, ‘I'm so scared, but I have MS, and I don't know how to tell anybody.’ And he's like, ‘Your secret's safe with me.’”

Related: The Sopranos Cast: Where Are They Now?

<p>HBO</p> (left to right) James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Iler


(left to right) James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Iler

She said the late actor, who died in 2013 from a heart attack, was always “protective” and there for her, but she later found out that he was supporting her indirectly, too.

“I found out after his death that he donated to MS organizations constantly for me,” the MeSsy podcast cohost revealed, adding that after she told him about her diagnosis, Gandolfini gave her his acting coach to help her feel confident in her work. She said this was a big deal to come from someone she respected so much.

“I've never seen an actor work harder than Jim Gallifini ever in my life, ever in my life,” she said. “He spent every Sunday learning all of his stuff for the entire week.”

Related: Jamie-Lynn Sigler Reveals She Almost Died from Sepsis After Surgery, Which Kicked Off ‘Year of Grieving’

Season 5 of the The Sopranos was difficult for Sigler. She had a lot going on in her personal life, and not being open about her MS with cast members put pressure on her to mask her symptoms.

“I was going through a divorce, and I wasn't telling anybody about it,” she began. “And the MS was really starting to affect me, like, for instance, it affects your bladder. And I have to pee. And in the middle of a take, I'd be like, ‘I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I have to pee.’ And they'd be like, ‘What the f–k is wrong with her?’”

She continued, “Nobody asked me what was wrong. I can’t blame anyone. Except Jim [asked].”

<p>HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> (left to right) Jamie Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Robert Iler

HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

(left to right) Jamie Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Robert Iler

In a recent interview for PEOPLE's March cover story, Sigler opened up about her over-20-year journey living with MS. She said one area where it impacts her life the most is as a mother.

“My kids have only known me with MS,” she said. “They know that certain things are hard for me, and they don’t even come to me anymore. A lot of times I can’t muster the energy.”

Sigler now has a podcast with Christina Applegate, who also has MS, where they talk about the disease in weekly episodes.

“We started about a year ago recording every week,” Sigler told PEOPLE. “We’re sharing the deepest parts of ourselves — and I’m somebody that tried not to do that for a long time, so this has been healing.”

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