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“I Was Living in a Dump.” How Love Made a Drastic Change in Mark Ruffalo’s Life

All epic love stories share some element that makes us believe they’re too good to be true. Their characters stand by each other in the most trying times. And Mark Ruffalo’s life seems as if it had been taken from a movie script. The 54-year-old actor has been through more challenges than we could ever dream of, but his wife, Sunny, has always been that ray of sunshine that’s brightened even his darkest days.

At Bright Side, we always get a bit starstruck when a Hollywood star opens up about their life and shows us their vulnerable side. So we want to share with you the real struggles Mark Ruffalo and his wife, Christina Sunrise Coigney, have overcome.

Sunrise has always encouraged Mark, even when he was at his lowest and didn’t believe in himself.

We might know Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, but the actor is actually quite humble when talking about who’s the true superhero in his life. Ruffalo and Coigney met by chance in 1998 while out on the street. Mark was going through a rough time and struggling to become an actor.

“I was living in a dump and didn’t even have a driver’s license or a credit card. She thought I was a mess, but she believed in me and kept encouraging me,” Ruffalo recalls. “I don’t know if I would have made it without her.”

Ruffalo felt an immediate spark and knew she was the one. “I saw her and was like, I’m going to marry that girl,” he said. However, she didn’t make it easy for him and turned down his first proposal.

The couple has been married since 2000 and has 3 children. They welcomed their first son, Keen, in 2001, and their two young daughters, Bella, in 2005, and Odette, in 2007.

She saved his acting career.

Mark was in his early thirties and at a really low point in his life when he met Sunrise. “I must have auditioned 800 times without landing a part. I was tending bar at Chateau Marmont [in L.A.], and I’d see Johnny Depp and Nic Cage hanging around, hugely successful, while I was barely making a living,” confessed Mark. However, there was something he did have that neither Johnny Depp nor Nic Cage had: Sunny’s unwavering support.

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,’” he opened up. Luckily for us, Mark kept on going and has been nominated 3 times for the Academy Awards. We cross our fingers in the hopes he’ll soon get the award he truly deserves.

He kept a secret from her while she was pregnant with their first child.

One day back in 2001, when his wife was pregnant with their first child, Mark woke up one morning feeling uneasy because he had dreamt he had a brain tumor. Unfortunately, this turned out to be true: the tumor was located behind his left ear. To make matters worse, he had a 30% chance of losing function on the left side of his face.

Mark prioritized his wife’s and his unborn child’s health over his own and decided not to tell her. Once Keen was born, he had it removed.

The surgery wasn’t initially a success, and he became paralyzed on the left side of his face and couldn’t hear in his left ear. It was a hard blow, and the actor decided to stay low-key for a while. Nevertheless, he proved to the world what he was made of when he made a full recovery.

Life threw another curveball in his way.

But life had another difficult challenge in store for him. Only 7 years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, he lost his younger brother. In 2008, the 39-year-old hairstylist, Scott Ruffalo, passed away in his home in Beverly Hills. Mark decided then and there that he had had enough of LA, and the Ruffalos moved to a farm in New York.

More than two decades later, the couple is still going strong.

Mark might have come a long way, but we believe his biggest accomplishment is the woman who has stood by him for more than 2 decades. How does the couple accomplish balance after so many years, one might wonder. In Ruffalo’s words, “Sunny and my friendship-slash-marriage-slash-love affair is also changing and growing along the way. Honestly, it hasn’t been without its difficulties, its shortcomings; it hasn’t been without joy or learning or developing.”

Do you believe that love can conquer all? What’s the biggest challenge you and your partner have had to face? We’d love it if you could share a bit about your love life!

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