Mark Ruffalo’s wife thought he was joking when he told her he had a brain tumor.

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind actor, 56, broke to the news of his condition to his partner Sunrise "Sunny" Coigney a few days after she gave birth to their first child in 2001.

He told the Smartless podcast: “When I told Sunny about it, at first she thought I was joking, and then she just burst into tears and said, ‘I always knew you were gonna die young.’”

The MCU actor discovered he had a tumor 23 years ago when actress Sunrise, 51, was around nine-and-a-half months pregnant with her and Mark’s son Keen, who is now 22 and arrived in June 2001.

Mark added he made the decision to wait until after the boy’s birth to break the news of his condition.

He said: “I was just like, ‘I can’t,’ she’s already like, ‘Oh God, him again, does everything gotta be about him?’

“And so I just couldn’t.”

Mark also said a week after his baby arrived he had to meet a neurologist and figure out a plan for his treatment, so he told Sunrise the night before his appointment.

He found out he was suffering a benign vestibular schwannoma in 2001 after he had an “intense” dream that he had a brain tumor.

Mark said: “I woke up probably around 3AM, and I just had this crazy dream, and it wasn’t like any other dream I ever had.

“It was just like, you have a brain tumor, and it wasn’t even a voice, it was just pure knowledge – you have a brain tumor, and you have to deal with it immediately.”

Mark had no symptoms except for an ear infection before the tumor was diagnosed when he went to the doctor for a CT scan.

He added: “The nurse calls the doctor up, I could hear them talking in the other room. She comes in, she’s kinda like a zombie and she says, ‘You have a mass behind your left ear the size of a golf ball, and we don’t know what it is. We can’t tell until it’s biopsied.’”

Even though the tumor was benign, Mark had a surgery to remove the mass that left him deaf in his left ear.

He said: “[I am] completely deaf in one ear, and when I woke up, the left side of my face was totally paralyzed. I couldn’t even close my eye. I was talking out the side of my mouth.”

Mark’s paralysis disappeared after around a year, but he still suffers hearing loss.

Along with Keen, the actor has two other children with Sunrise, who he married in 2000: daughters Bella, 18, and Odette, 16.

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