"In retrospect, we were very lucky," says Bryan Cranston of him and wife Robin Dearden surviving COVID-19 earlier this year

By Aili Nahas
December 09, 2020 10:00 AM
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Credit: Dave Benett/Wireimage

Nine months after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, Bryan Cranston says he still has lasting side effects.

"To this day my sense of taste and smell have only come back about 70 percent," the former Breaking Bad star, 64, tells PEOPLE. "I have to retrain my brain to be sensitive to those things. I literally stop and smell the roses. And I'll open up a bag of coffee beans and stick my nose in it!"

Still, the actor, who stars on Showtime's new drama series, Your Honor, says he feels grateful that his battle with the virus, which was also contracted by his wife Robin Dearden, wasn't more serious. "We had ashiness for three days and exhaustion for a week," says Cranston. "In retrospect, we were very lucky."

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Forced to stay home when the New Orleans set of Your Honor, about a judge faced with a life or death decision over his son, was put on pause, Cranston also found joy in unprecedented down time.

Bryan Cranston in Your Honor

"I work a lot and mostly that requires me to be out of my home state," says the L.A.-based actor. "There is a significant part of loneliness. And I'm happiest with my family."

Cranston passed the time with bread making ("I made some very good loaves," he says) and creating inventive cocktails using Dos Hombres, the mezcal he created with former Breaking Bad costar Aaron Paul.

But mostly, the actor says he's enjoyed spending time with Dearden, whom he met on a movie set in 1986.

Bryan Cranston with his wife and daughter
| Credit: Steve Granitz/Wireimage

"Robin is a compassionate, righteous person," says Cranston, who shares daughter Taylor with Dearden. "Her default mechanism is emotion and love. And she's not cynical. I am! I'm sarcastic and she's sweet. It's a young spirit she's always maintained."

As for Taylor, an actress in her own right, dad is exceedingly proud.

"She is far beyond where I was in my 20s as far as ability," says Cranston of his daughter. "She is a super talented young lady!"

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