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Mark Ruffalo Hid Brain Tumor Diagnosis from Family So They Could Fully Celebrate His Son's Birth

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jun 07, 2022
12:30 P.M.
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Mark Ruffalo shares three kids with his beautiful wife, but the actor would receive one of the most devastating diagnoses before the first child's birth. What was it? Continue reading to find out.


Born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mark Ruffalo is popularly known as an American actor.

His desire to swoop into the movie industry was ignited at a young age, making him study acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory. Later, he co-founded an Equity-Waiver establishment called the Orpheus Theatre Company.

Mark Ruffalo and wife Sunrise Coigney during 25th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Achievement Awards at Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images


In 1994, Ruffalo made his movie debut with his role as Christian in "Mirror Mirror 2: Raven Dance." Then he featured in other productions like "Mirror Mirror 3: The Voyeur," "The Dentist," "The Last Big Thing," and "A Fish In The Bathtub."

Although the actor featured in some movies at the time, he was still struggling with his career. However, the struggling times for the actor would see the start of a beautiful love story with his wife, Sunrise Coigney.

The pair first met in 1998 on the street in Los Angeles while Ruffalo was walking with their mutual friend. It was love at first sight for the actor, and he vowed to marry Coigney.



Sunrise Coigney and Mark Ruffalo attend the "The Adam Project" New York Premiere on February 28, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Sadly, from a humble background, the "Now You See Me" star had nothing but a struggling career and had to bank on his charm and decency to win his wife's heart, but it was difficult. Ruffalo recalled:


"When I met her, she was like, 'You don't have a driver's license, you don't have a credit card. What is wrong with you, dude? I can't be with you."

Mark Ruffalo & Sunrise Coigney during the "The Gift" Los Angeles Premiere at Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images


What was more terrible for the actor was that he did not have a house. He lived in a converted garage, and Coigney thought Ruffalo was a mess. However, she still believed in the Hollywood icon and continued to encourage him. In his words:

"She believed in me. She was like, 'I know you're a really good actor,' and I was like, 'You haven't really seen me act yet.' and she was like, I just know it, I can tell."


Mark Ruffalo arrives to the premiere of the "The Adam Project" at Alice Tully Hall on February 28, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Gradually, the pair's relationship progressed, and at some point, they started dating. Then, the actor bought a house for him and Coigney in Callicoon, New York, a little town on the Delaware River.

It was believed that Ruffalo bought the one-room cabin, which sits on 27 acres, for just $63,000. Ruffalo finally decided to take his relationship to the next level with a house and a beautiful romance. He proposed to his wife, but she turned down the request.

Later, he would pop the big question again, and this time, he got a positive response. On June 11, 2000, the lovebirds walked down the aisle, and a few months later, Coigney became pregnant with their first child.


Mark Ruffalo & Sunrise Ruffalo during The 16th Annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

While waiting for the baby's arrival, Ruffalo would receive one of the most challenging news — a brain tumor diagnosis.


Recalling how he discovered the tumor, the movie star explained that he was working on a movie and dreamed about having a brain tumor.

According to Ruffalo, it was like no other dream he had ever had, and to be on the safe side, he had to see a doctor.

Actor Mark Ruffalo, 37, at the Hotel Gansevoort on Ninth Ave. He stars in the upcoming romantic comedy "Just Like Heaven." | Source: Getty Images


Eventually, the doctor ordered a CT scan for the actor, and the results showed that, indeed, Ruffalo had a brain tumor. The "The Adam Project" star had a mass the size of a golf ball behind his left ear.

Thankfully, the doctors told Ruffalo it was likely benign and operable, but there was an 80 percent chance of losing his hearing in the left ear and a 20 percent chance of losing his facial nerve.


It was even more devastating for the actor as Coigney was about to give birth to their first child. So, Ruffalo hid his diagnosis to save his wife the stress and allow her to celebrate the birth of their child. Ruffalo's mother confessed:

"He didn't tell anyone for weeks. When he finally did, I was like, 'Oh my God. How could you bear all that?"


One week after Ruffalo's son was born, he broke the sad news to his family. The icon was sure he would survive the illness, but his greatest fear was his son growing up without a father. Ruffalo said.

"I made a tape for him. For when he was old enough to understand. Just saying, Hey, this is who I am."

Two weeks later, the actor went under the knife. Although the tumor was successfully removed, the surgery left the left part of the actor's face almost completely paralyzed.


The following months and years for Ruffalo were tough. He struggled with balance and even tried out several things to help him get better, like acupuncture, energy healers, and craniosacral therapy, all to no avail.

But as years passed, Ruffalo made gradual progress, and in 2008, he made a full recovery. Now, the actor is a doting husband to Coigney and a loving father to his three kids.



After welcoming his first son Keen in 2001, Ruffalo welcomed two daughters before his full recovery. His first daughter, Bella, was born in 2005, while the second daughter, Odette, arrived in 2007.

Since the arrival of his kids, Ruffalo has been open about fatherhood and how he tries to balance it with his career.


During a 2015 interview, the actor revealed that he is a hands-on father and loves being one. Although he goes away sometimes, he trusts Coigney to take good care of the kids and cannot help but credit her for holding it all together.


Coigney is indeed a wonderful mother and great wife. She and Ruffalo have been married for over two decades and are an inspiration to many young couples. The secret to their long and happy marriage is honesty, intimacy, and sharing fantasies and desires.

Hopefully, young couples and fans who hope to have a long-lasting union someday can learn something from Ruffalo and Coigney's romance.


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