Chuck Norris is unquestionably one of Hollywood’s most well-known figures. Norris is an unstoppable force, known for his immaculate martial arts talents as well as his work as an actor, producer, and screenwriter. But it is his function as a husband that he excels at.
Norris met his wife Gena O’Kelley in 1997, and the two immediately moved on to the next step of their relationship by marrying a year later. They went on to have a set of twins together, as well as other children from prior marriages. Despite their remarkable 23-year age difference, it was evident that Norris and O’Kelley had a romance for the ages.
“Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Way of the Dragon,” “Invasion U.S.A.” and “Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos” are just a few of the shows and movies in which Norris has appeared. Norris was able to apply his skills as an expert in numerous martial arts systems and use them to become a hugely successful action star. When his wife fell ill, he put all of that to the side.
Norris put his career on hold for a few years in the 2010s as he cared for O’Kelley, who was suffering from a variety of major medical conditions as a result of many MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). Norris stood by her side through thick and thin, and the two weathered the storm together, going on to raise awareness about what had transpired. Continue reading to learn more about this touching story.
Norris and O’Kelley initially met in 1997, after she finished a small part in one of his television shows. Later, the action star invited her to Dallas, Texas, so they could spend some quality time together and get to know each other better. Their friendship immediately blossomed into a loving relationship, and the happy couple married a year later.
The couple has a great connection that has stood the test of time and all of life’s challenges. However, their marriage was put to the test when O’Kelley suffered serious medical issues in 2013, necessitating her husband’s assistance. Norris put his career on wait and attended to his wife’s every need without hesitation.
O’Kelley’s health problems began when she had to undergo a series of MRI tests and contrast imaging. She had to get an injection of a type of dye that served as a contrast agent for the scans. This treatment, which allows radiologists to see tissues, blood vessels, and organs more clearly, is fairly frequent. When O’Kelley asked her doctors if she could have all of the scans she needed at once, they informed her she’d have to get three separate scans. This also meant that she’d have to endure three dye injections.
However, something went wrong when O’Kelley was given gadolinium injections, a type of heavy metal with magnetic characteristics, and she became quite unwell as a result.
O’Kelley had nerve pain, muscle weakness, and mental fog shortly after the initial injection. She went on to say:
“I felt like my entire body was on fire a few hours after the first jab, as if acid had been sent through it. At first, the fire was contained, but it quickly spread.”
She became increasingly concerned about the contrast agent, but was assured that it would be out of her system in a few hours and that she should drink water to aid in the process.
Despite doctors’ assurances that everything would be alright, Norris began to suspect that something was badly wrong and sought advice on what to do next.
“I can take her anyplace in the world; I’m fortunate enough to have the means to do so,” he explained, “but where do I take her?”
Finally, he was able to contact a Nevada doctor. When the doctor notified Norris that his wife’s condition was critical, he placed all of his other projects on hold and focused on O’Kelley’s health. Norris stayed by O’Kelley’s side for five months, sleeping next to her on the couch as she worked on her rehabilitation.
As medics did testing, it was discovered that the gadolinium had not left O’Kelley’s body after a few hours, as she had been promised, but had instead lingered at dangerously high levels. In an interview with Full Measure, she explained:
“This is in the danger zone, and as you can see, I stayed at this level for a long time.”
The FDA discovered in 2006 that “gadolinium contrast agents and NSF have a substantial connection.” NSF (nephrogenic systemic fibrosis) is a fatal condition that causes organ and skin thickening and tightening. Gadolinium was given a “black box” warning by the FDA in 2007 because patients with weak kidneys would be unable to clear the element from their bodies. O’Kelley, on the other hand, did not fit into that category. That’s why she and Norris are using their clout to push for better gadolinium regulation.
In 2017, the actor opened up about her experiences while ill.
“Well, it’s the helpless feeling,” he stated, according to WND. “I’m sort of a take-charge guy, and then here I am with something where I can’t do anything, and it was terrible.” “And I just thank God that we were able to get through it, that she did get well, and that I was able to reclaim my wife.”
He added the following to Full Measure:
Norris stated, “Everyone who takes gadolinium is not going to get sick.” “It’s the sensitive ones, like O’Kelley. I’ve taken these before and never got sick. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t do something about the other folks who are becoming ill as a result of the gadolinium.”
Norris has spent more than $2 million on O’Kelley’s therapies, and he’s even given up his acting career to concentrate on campaigning. Norris hasn’t acted in a film since O’Kelley’s illness, and his television work has been limited, with only three modest appearances in recent years. According to Express, he told Good Health:
“I’ve given up my film career to focus on Gena; for now, my entire existence revolves around keeping her alive.” This is a critical issue, in my opinion.”