The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal Dropped Out of ‘First Man’ After 2-Year-Old Daughter Fell Into a Coma

Jon Bernthal Dropped Out First Man After Daughter Coma Mens Health
Jon Bernthal in Men’s Health. ERIC RAY DAVIDSON

Jon Bernthal was supposed to play astronaut David Scott in First Man, but the Walking Dead star was forced to drop out due to a scary family emergency that occurred shortly before filming began in late 2017.

Bernthal, 42, revealed in his Men’s Health January/February 2019 cover story, which was published online on Thursday, December 20, that his then-2-year-old daughter, Adeline, suddenly had a seizure and fell into a coma. He and wife Erin Angle, who works as a trauma nurse, immediately raced to the toddler’s side.

Jon Bernthal Dropped Out First Man After Daughter Coma Mens Health
Jon Bernthal on the cover of Men’s Health. ERIC RAY DAVIDSON

The actor admitted that he panicked, but Angle remained calm by “pouring love into our daughter every step of the way.”

“People talk about bravery like fake macho bravery, but my wife didn’t flinch,” he told the magazine. “What I saw in my wife was courage and beauty unlike I’d ever seen.”

Jon Bernthal Dropped Out First Man After Daughter Coma Mens Health
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes on ‘The Walking Dead.’ Scott Garfield/AMC

Adeline, now 3, remained in a coma for three days and did not recognize her family when she awoke. She was diagnosed with encephalitis, a viral infection that causes swelling of the brain, but has since made a full recovery.

Bernthal and Angle, whose uncle is pro wrestler Kurt Angle, married in Potomac, Maryland, in September 2010. In addition to Adeline, they are the parents of sons Henry, 7, and Billy, 5.

“I know this is the corniest thing in the world, but when I actually saw Erin [for the first time], it was literally like angels were singing,” the Punisher star recalled to Men’s Health. “I had never seen anyone so beautiful.”

After Bernthal withdrew from First Man, Christopher Abbott stepped in to take on the role of Scott. The Golden Globe-nominated biographical drama about Neil Armstrong, which premiered in October, also stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler.

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