Marlyne Barrett’s life is mirroring that of her “Chicago Med” character, now that the actress is battling cancer.
The 44-year-old Brooklyn, New York, native, also known for roles on “The Wire” and “Kings,” told People that she was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer over the summer.
“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” said Barrett, citing her character Maggie Lockwood’s experience with breast cancer — seen in episodes that were filmed back in 2019. “We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer. But we have so much more strength inside of us than we think.”
At the time the fictional nurse was struggling with her health, Barrett said “a sea of people” connected with her via social media and “brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me.”
Barrett, a new mom to 11-month old twins with husband of 13 years, pastor Gavin Barrett, learned in July of a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary, which she told the outlet made her look “nine months pregnant” and left her with “shortness of breath, but no pain.”
Noting that she sacrificed her lifelong “essence of beauty” when shaving her head — something that members of her “Chicago Med” family have also done in solidarity with Barrett — she recalled doing so in front of her children so they still recognized her.
“I wept, I wept, I wept,” said Barrett. “But it was a beautiful experience to do it in front of them.”
While the initial diagnosis and notice she’d need “aggressive” chemo, followed by a hysterectomy, left Barrett with “a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” she ultimately “found this courage and I just hunkered down and said, ‘I’m going to face this.’ ... It’s okay not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith.”