Actress Marlyne Barrett talks about her faith, support from husband amid cancer battle

Gavin Barrett and actress Marlyne Barrett attend a premiere party for NBC's 'Chicago Fire,' 'Chicago P.D.' and 'Chicago Med' at STK Chicago on Nov. 9, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois.
Gavin Barrett and actress Marlyne Barrett attend a premiere party for NBC's "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Med" at STK Chicago on Nov. 9, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Actress Marlyne Barrett, known for her character on the NBC series "Chicago Med," revealed that she's battling cancer but is holding on to hope because of her Christian faith. 

In the fifth season of the series, Barrett, who plays an ER nurse at the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, faced a battle with breast cancer. Now, the actress is facing her own battle with cancer and felt she should speak about it publicly. 

“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” Barrett, whose husband, Gavin William Barrett, is a pastor, told People magazine. “When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media. They brought me courage. And so, I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me.”

Barrett revealed that doctors found a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary in July.

Also known for her role in “The Wire,” Barrett’s cancer was discovered following complications she experienced following surgery she had in April for a hernia repair. 

“I had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake. I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting,” she said. That was when she discovered it was caused by cancer on one of her ovaries and uterus.

“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” Barrett revealed. “I didn’t believe them. But when they showed me the CT scan, I went, 'Oh my word.' The first question was, ‘Am I going to live?’ I just fell into my husband’s arms. It still takes my breath away when I think about it.”

Barrett said she has so many emotions swirling around following the diagnosis, but she is relying on her faith to get her through. “I have a wave of emotion that comes,” she said. “But it’s OK not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith.” 

She added, “I find new strength to carry on every day because of [my children]. I want to see them get married one day. And I will.”

Her husband, Gavin, might be familiar to some CP readers who attend Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, where he preached last year. 

Barrett told People that her husband has been by her side faithfully helping her since her diagnosis. 

“I’m married to the most amazing man,” she gushed. “The chemo gives me pins and needles in my limbs, and he will drop everything to bring me food and massage my hands. He has sacrificed everything to love me.”

The actress had to undergo chemotherapy and a hysterectomy. She is currently undergoing her third round of chemo.

“There’s no running from it because it’s my life. And eventually, you just surrender because it’s so much bigger than anything you’ve ever faced,” she explained. “I found this courage and I just hunkered down and said, ‘I’m going to face this.’”

Barrett and Gavin are also parents to 11-month-old twins named Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya. The actress said she made the decision to shave her head in front of her children before she started losing all of her hair in clumps due to the chemo.  

The New York native is still working on the set of "Chicago Med" and said "work brings me a lot of joy right now." "It brings me a lot of reprieve to think about something other than, ‘When is my next chemo shift?’ and ‘How am I going to hug my children?'”

After her interview with People was released, Barrett thanked all of her supporters for the  encouragement on social media, followed by a message on Instagram where she wrote: “To this extended family around the world, I pray we as people remember how BIG life is and how much LOVE can do in a persons life.”

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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