Jon Bernthal was gearing up for a major movie role when his world came crashing down.
The Punisher star was about to start shooting the Ryan Gosling-helmed drama First Man as Dave Scott, a part that ultimately went to Christopher Abbott, he told Men’s Health in a new profile.
Then Bernthal’s daughter Adeline, now 3½, had an unexpected seizure and entered a coma, which led the actor and father of three to exit the Neil Armstrong-centered movie.
He credited his wife Erin, a trauma nurse, with pulling the family through the ordeal. “People talk about bravery like fake macho bravery, but my wife didn’t flinch,” Bernthal told the magazine. “What I saw in my wife was courage and beauty unlike I’d ever seen.”
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After Adeline woke up three days later, she didn’t recognize her loved ones, Men’s Health reported. Bernthal said Erin reacted by “pouring love into our daughter every step of the way.”
Adeline’s health trouble, which she has since recovered from, was due to encephalitis.
According to WebMD, encephalitis is an “inflammation of the brain tissue” that “can be very serious, causing personality changes, seizures, weakness and other symptoms depending on the part of the brain affected.”
Bernthal also has sons Billy, 6 next month, and Henry, 7, who are currently learning jiu-jitsu.
“I want them to learn how to play piano and do their schoolwork with the exact same level of fierceness,” The Walking Dead alum told Men’s Health. “Whatever they do in this world, I’m okay with it, as long as they go full bore.”
“That’s the real challenge of fatherhood,” Bernthal continued. “To try to divorce yourself from your own bulls— and to realize I want these kids to be better than me. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did.”