Ever since he exploded onto our screens in cult martial arts action comedy Way of the Dragon with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris has become a household name.
The martial arts expert was introduced to karate while serving in the U.S. Air Force and fell in love. He worked so hard at his new found passion that he went on to win a middleweight karate championship in 1968.
He then appeared in a number of movies before landing the title role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001.
But it seems that this icon of popular culture has disappeared from our screens. Now he has opened up about the personal battle he is fighting behind the scenes and it’s a tough story to hear.
Born Carlos Ray Norris, he earned the nickname Chuck while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
After serving and mastering his skills in martial arts the fighter, who is also a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo, opened a karate studio.
It became a hang out place for celebrities such as Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley, and the Osmonds.
His celebrity friends encouraged him to try acting and he became a movie star in the ’80s.
Fighting for his family
But it was in the 1990s that he realized television might be a better route for his career.
Norris landed the title role as Texas Ranger Cordell Walker in ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ which lasted for 8 seasons and propelled him even further into the celebrity spotlight.
But he withdrew from the spotlight to instead focus on his own personal battle — fighting for his family.
He married his second wife Gena O’Kelley in 1998 and three years later she gave birth to twins Dakota Alan and Danilee Kelly.
Ten years after their birth Gena started having health issues and in 2012 was sent to get an MRI scan as doctors suspected she may have arthritis.
She ended up having three scans over eight days.
She said that she felt like her entire body was burning…”as if acid has been passed through it,” according to Fetch.sport.com
‘Keeping her alive’
Sadly it didn’t stop there as she needed 24-hour nursing care and stayed in hospital for five months.
Without hesitation Chuck abandoned all his projects to be there for his wife.
“My whole life right now is about keeping her alive,” he told reporters.
Gena had trouble breathing, and also suffered kidney and brain dysfunction. Medical bills for her care ran into the millions.
Gena, who doesn’t blame the doctors, referred to her situation as “a vicious, ugly secret.”
The couple sued three pharmaceutical companies, writes The Hearty Soul.
“For all those people that are thinking about getting an MRI, there needs to be some stricter warnings,” Gena told CBS.
Gena is no longer confined to her bed and, with her devoted husband by her side, campaigns to raise awareness surrounding MRI scans.
Love Chuck Norris. Thank you for being there for your wife and children. You’re a good man and wonderful talent. Praying for your wife’s recovery.
Please share this story on Norris’ selfless battle for his wife as a tribute to his strength and to help raise awareness.