Actress Christine Ebersole plays Bob’s mom, Dorothy “Dottie” Wheeler, on CBS’s Bob Hearts Abishola.
Dottie suffered a stroke in Season 1, and for much of the season, she was bedridden at Bob’s house under the care of his Nigerian girlfriend, Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku).
But despite being bedridden, she continued to manipulate her children, Bob (Billy Gardell), Douglas (Matt Jones), and Christina (Maribeth Monroe), by promising to leave the family business to them if they can fulfill her demands.
Ebersole played the role of a stroke patient so convincingly that some fans began wondering whether she has ever experienced illness due to a stroke in real life.
If you have also been wondering, here is what we know.
Did Christine Ebersole have a stroke in real life?
No, Christine Ebersole is not known to have ever suffered a stroke in real life. But she revealed in an October 2019 interview with the New York Post that she’s had first-hand experience of caring for someone with a similar condition.
I feel like my mom is my child. I share all the cute things she says and does and get really proud when she says things to me like, “Has Christine Ebersole has a stroke, or is that her character?” Ugh I raised her so well.
— αѕнℓєу яєgιηα (@ClassicFilmDame) January 26, 2020
The two-parter episodes of #BobHeartsAbishola dealing with his mom's stroke and the fallout were bittersweet and well-written. Great performances from Christine Ebersole and Fọlákẹ́ Olówófôyekù pic.twitter.com/vgDhbeO22I
— Ellys Carte Blanche 🦋🦋🦋 (@TVPartyPlanner) November 9, 2019
Ebersole’s husband, Bill Moloney, suffered an acoustic neuroma two years after they married nearly three decades ago.
An acoustic neuroma is a form of slow-growing, but usually non-cancerous, tumor that develops on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, according to WebMD. Although the tumor is non-cancerous and slow-growing, it could require surgical intervention if it causes severe neural symptoms.
A life-threatening situation could arise due to the tumor pressing against the brainstem.
Ebersole told the New York Post that her husband had to undergo a seven-hour surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma pressing against his brain. He became partially paralyzed on the left side and had to undergo rehabilitation to learn how to walk again.
“It’s a tumor in the inner ear pressing against the brain. He had a seven-hour surgery and his whole left side became kind-of paralyzed… He had to learn how to walk all over again. He couldn’t blink his eye. He couldn’t smile. He still has a lot of facial pain because of nerve damage.”
Ebersole said that she chose to have her character Dottie suffer a left-sided paralysis because it was what her husband had gone through.
What is Bob Hearts Abishola about?
Bob Hearts Abishola follows Bob Wheeler, a divorcee who manages his family’s business, MaxDot, with his mother, Dottie, and siblings, Christina and Douglas. MaxDot is a Detroit company that manufactures compression socks.
The show also features actress Vernee Watson as Gloria.
Bob is hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. He ends up under the care of a Nigerian immigrant nurse and falls in love with her. But Bob must surmount cultural barriers to win Abishola’s heart.
Bob Hearts Abishola airs at 8:30/7:30c on Mondays on CBS.