Maggie Lockwood, Chicago Med
Credit: George Burns Jr/NBC via Getty Im

In our thoughts. The actress who plays Maggie in Chicago Med has cancer in real life three years after her character’s diagnosis on the One Chicago show.

Chicago Med is NBC’s medical drama following the personal and professional lives of doctors and nurses in the emergency department of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. The show, which premiered in 2015, is the third series in the One Chicago franchise, which also includes Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. Marlyne Barrett plays Maggie Lockwood, a charge nurse at Gaffney’s emergency department, who made her debut on Chicago Med in season 1.

In an interview with NBC in 2022, Kristen Hager, who plays Dr. Steven Hager, revealed that the cast of Chicago Med had to undergo medical training for the series. “Medical training was integral,” she said. “I came out to Chicago a full week early to just do full days with two of our fantastic active trauma surgeons who work down the street from the studio. It was like a boot camp of how to get your P.h.D over the span of a week, and it was incredible.”

Barrett added, “I don’t go a season without coming back and at least catching up with Bobbin or the Dennises, who are our medical consultants, and make sure we get a chance to at least visit the hospital and remind ourselves what the atmosphere is in an E.D. — the rhythm in which life is really lived.”

Does Maggie on Chicago Med have cancer in real life?

Maggie Lockwood, Chicago Med

Does Maggie Lockwood on Chicago Med have cancer in real life? Sadly, the answer is yes. Three years after Maggie’s breast cancer storyline on Chicago Med, Marlyne Barrett — who plays Maggie on Chicago Med —revealed in an interview with People in September 2022 that she was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer. Barrett — who shares twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya with her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett — was diagnosed with cancer after doctors discovered a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary in July 2022. “I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” Barrett told People at the time. “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.” She continued, “We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer. But we have so much more strength inside of us than we think.”

Barrett — who has no family history of either uterine or ovarian cancers— explained that her cancer journey started in the summer of 2022 when she started to feel ill after a hernia operation in April 2022. “I had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake,” she said. “I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting.”

Doctors informed Barrett that she had a mass on her ovary and uterus on July 18, 2022. “The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” she said. “I didn’t believe them, but when they showed me the CT scan, I went, ‘Oh my word.’ The first questions were, ‘Am I going to live?’ I just fell into my husband’s arms. It still takes my breath away when I think about it.”

The doctors also told Barrett that she would need “aggressive” chemotherapy before undergoing a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. “The best way I could experience was to meet it,” she said. “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. I found this courage and I just hunkered down and said, ‘I’m going to face this.'”

Once chemotherapy started, Barrett, knowing she would lose her hair to the procedure, decided to shave her head. “I didn’t want to give the power to chemo,” she said “My hair has always been an essence of beauty. But I took my own razor and I shaved my head. I did it in front of my babies so they’d see it was still Mommy. I wept, I wept, I wept. But it was a beautiful experience to do it in front of them.” Barrett has also had the support of the Chicago Med cast and crew. “I’ve had people shave their heads on set to support me,” she said.

Barrett also explained how filming on Chicago Med has changed for her since her diagnosis. “I start an hour earlier to get my bearings before I start my day,” she said, adding that she takes naps and occasional days off to maintain her energy levels. “Because of the mass, my mid-range is a different size, so the costume department does an incredible job. Interestingly enough, my character on the show already wears a wig!” She continued, “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?'”

At the time of her interview with People, Barrett was preparing for her third round of chemotherapy at City of Hope in Los Angeles, California. “I have a wave of emotion that comes,” she said, adding that she was taking her diagnosis “one day at a time. “But it’s OK not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith.”

Barrett announced her cancer diagnosis with on her Instagram with a post of her bald head in September 2022. “Brave, beautiful, strong,” commented the official Instagram account for Wolf Entertainment, which produces the One Chicago franchise. “Sending you love and prayers,” commented Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Garcelle Beauvais.

In another Instagram post, Barrett thanked her followers for their support following her diagnosis. “I am Blown away at the support and love that I’ve received. Thank you for the encouragement,” she captioned a photo of her. “It means a lot to me and my family at this time. I want to give a special thanks to my Wolf Entertainment @wolfentertainment family and everyone at Chicago Med @nbconechicago.”

She continued, “I can’t do this without so many people getting involved to support me. It’s actually physically impossible! To those who facilitate day in and day out, in order for me to come to work to do what I do, thank you! It’s beyond words how grateful my husband and I are. 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. With that being said.. Tonight’s episode of #chicagomed is special, because it was hard to shoot the first two episodes for me. I think you will enjoy what we managed to bring together. This encouragement has blown my mind!”

What happened to Maggie on Chicago Med?

Maggie Lockwood, Chicago Med

What happened to Maggie Lockwood in Chicago Med? In season 5, episode 1, “Never Going Back” Maggie discovers she has breast cancer after she undergoes a mammogram and learns she has metastatic adenocarcinoma. The season follows Maggie as she undergoes chemotherapy and loses her hair, which forces her to start wearing a wig. Later in season 5, Maggie learns she is cancer-free and marries former cancer patient, Ben Campbell, whom she meets in chemotherapy.

Chicago Med airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

For more more on the One Chicago franchise, check out our photo gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their real-life loves