Jamie-Lynn Sigler Learned After ‘Sopranos’ Dad James Gandolfini’s Death That He Quietly Donated to MS Charities

Jamie-Lynn Sigler and James Gandolfini
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival; Matt Carr/Getty Images

The Sopranos alum Jamie-Lynn Sigler has revealed an amazing secret she found out about her on-screen dad, James Gandolfini, after he died in 2013 from a heart attack.

Appearing on the latest episode of Justin Long‘s Life Is Short podcast, Sigler opened up about her career and her battle with multiple sclerosis. During the discussion, she said Gandolfini was the one person on The Sopranos set she told about her diagnosis.

“He pulled me aside one day, and he said, ‘Jamie, what is going on?’” she explained, per People. “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.’”

Sigler played Meadow Soprano in the hit HBO series, the daughter of Gandolfini’s mob boss Tony Soprano. The actress said Gandolfini was always “protective” and there for her, but it wasn’t until his passing in 2013 that she discovered he’d secretly been supporting her in other ways.

“I found out after his death that he donated to MS organizations constantly for me,” the Big Sky star revealed.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler and James Gandolfini in The Sopranos

Anthony Neste/©HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

Sigler also touched on how difficult things were for her during the filming of the show’s fifth season, which aired in 2004.

“I was going through a divorce, and I wasn’t telling anybody about it,” she shared. “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*** is wrong with her?’”

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

Again, Sigler said Gandolfini was there for her, and he even gave her his acting coach to help her feel more confident in her work. She noted how much this meant coming from someone she respected so much.

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

Sigler now co-hosts the MeSsy podcast with Christina Applegate, who also has MS, where they talk about the disease, share personal stories, and offer guidance to others going through the same situation.

“We started [the podcast] about a year ago recording every week,” Sigler told People back in March. “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.”