Bright Side

Chuck Norris Gave Up a Movie Career to Look After His Sick Wife of 22 Years

We all know Chuck Norris for being a movie legend, a star, and a martial arts expert, but perhaps his most admirable of jobs was when he gave up his entire career to be beside his sick wife. It was a challenging time — a moment when he couldn’t take charge of the situation — but he had to do something, even if it seemed impossible.


We at Bright Side were so touched by the couple’s story and determination that we wanted to share it with everyone.

Their relationship escalated fast.

Chuck and Gena Norris met in 1997 just after they completed a small role in a TV series. He grew very interested in Gena so he decided to invite her to Dallas Texas where they could spend some quality time together.

Soon after, their friendship grew into a romantic relationship, and they actually got married the next year in 1998. Even though there is a 23-year difference between them, they have proven that years don’t matter when it comes to love, especially when Chuck decided to say goodbye to his career and stay beside his sick wife.

For a few years, the couple had to face a challenge.

In 2013, when his wife had to do a few MRIs (magnetic resonance imagining) scans, she had to do contrast imaging, which requires receiving an injection of a type of dye, which serves as the “contrast agent.” This highlights tissues, blood vessels, and organs so that the radiologist can find out the extent of an injury or disease.

However, this injection contains “gadolinium” a type of heavy metal with magnetic properties. In this case, Gena was given 3 injections in just 8 days’ time, and it was the reason why she got sick.


At first, doctors couldn’t find the real reason behind Gena’s problem. That’s when Norris realized that nothing was helping and something more serious was happening, and his wife was slowly slipping away from him. “I’ve got to get a hold of somebody.”

“I can take her anywhere in the world, I’m blessed enough to have the money to do that, but where do I take her?” Norris asked. So he called a doctor from Nevada. The moment he explained to the doctor what was happening to Gina, he simply said, “Get her here, right now, it’s critical.”

At that time, Chuck Norris dropped his career to be with her, which made the movie The Expendables 2 his last one. He didn’t leave her bedside for 5 months. As his wife recalls, “They were trying to stabilize my condition. My husband slept on the couch next to me and read 17 books. I can laugh now, but it wasn’t fun then.”

Later, in 2015, on the TV show, The Goldbergs, season 3, episode 5, he only voiced the thoughts of Barry Goldberg. However, we can finally see him reappear on screen in season 10, episode 21 of Hawaii Five-0.


Today they’re fighting to help others with the same problems.

Together with his wife Gena, Chuck is raising awareness for the usage of gadolinium for contrast scanning. He said, “Everyone that takes gadolinium is not going to get sick. It’s ones that are sensitive like Gena. I’ve taken them and I’ve never gotten sick. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do something about the other people that are getting sick from the gadolinium.”

Now, even years after the MRI scans and the gadolinium poisoning, Gena needs regular stem cell therapy combined with other treatments in order to heal her central nervous system. But the most important part is that she managed to get through everything with Chuck Norris always by her side.

Together, Chuck and Gena got over every obstacle and celebrated their 22-year anniversary.

For their 22-year anniversary, he shared this with the world “22 years ago I became the luckiest man in the world when Gena and I got married. Happy Anniversary my beautiful wife! There are no words to describe my love and appreciation for you. Thank you for sharing your life with me.”

Would you give up your career to look after a loved one? Now that Chuck is no longer on the big screen, which one of his movies will always stay with you, and why?

Preview photo credit chucknorris / Instagram