Frankie Muniz was a child star. Then he left Hollywood to become a race car driver.

In the early 2000s, Frankie Muniz was one of the most famous child actors in the world.

For six years, he was the star of the critically acclaimed family sitcom Malcolm in the Middleearning a nomination for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at just 15 years old. 

But for many years, it was believed that Muniz, now 38, didn't remember a single moment from the show.

Watch a clip from Frankie Muniz's interview on Steve-O's Wild Ride below. Post continues after video.

In October 2017, while Muniz was appearing on Dancing with the Stars, the show ran an episode with the theme 'Most Memorable Year'. 

When asked to recall events from his childhood and adolescence, Muniz claimed that he had no memory of being on Malcolm in the Middle. 

"I'm not actually sure how my memory loss started," he said. 

"I have had nine concussions and I've had a fair amount of mini-strokes," he continued.

"I've never been to the doctor and been like, you know, 'Why don't I have a memory?' To be honest, I've never really talked about it.


"It makes me a little sad. Things pop back into my mind that I should have remembered."

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly after his appearance on Dancing with the Stars, Muniz said he had his first 'mini-stroke' (otherwise known as a transient ischemic attack — involving a temporary blockage in the brain) in 2012. 

He was riding a motorbike and suddenly lost his peripheral vision, and when he returned home, he couldn't recognise his mum or girlfriend. When he went to the hospital, he was given no definitive answers.

The cast of Malcolm in the Middle in 2000. Image: Getty. 

"I’m 31, I’ve never sipped alcohol, I’ve never touched a drug or taken a drag of a cigarette," he said. "The only thing I’ve felt was stress. I’m a high-strung person. I just like to always be moving. I’m not good at relaxing."

Despite not understanding his condition, Muniz added, "It’s not something I think about. I don’t go, 'Oh man I’m really scared, I really need to know.' I just move forward."


The actor also shared that he doesn't remember going to the Emmys when he was younger.

"Over the past 10 years, my mum will bring up things like trips we went on or big events and they are new stories to me," he told People

"I don’t know what the cause of it is. It’s not something I looked into, I just thought it was how my brain is — so I thought it was normal. I didn’t know I should remember going to the Emmys when I was younger."

The truth about Frankie Muniz's memory loss.

Appearing on Steve-O's podcast, Steve-O's Wild Ride, Muniz joked that if you search his name, you'll only find stories about his memory loss.

Listen to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, below. Post continues after podcast.

"This is the first time that I’ve actually ever gotten to clarify," Muniz said on the podcast.

"It’s just funny because I have people write me all the time like, 'Oh, it’s so sad.'"

Muniz explained that while appearing on Dancing with the Stars, an episode with the theme 'Most Memorable Year' led to some confusion when producers suggested that Muniz's most memorable year was 2001, when he was nominated for an Emmy for Malcolm in the Middle at 15 years old.

"I go, 'I don’t remember what I felt then,'" Muniz said. 

"It was me blowing off the fact that I can’t say that’s my favourite year because I can’t tell you what happened in 2001. You would have to tell me what happened in 2001," he continued.


"I had to say I don’t really remember, but I wasn’t saying I don’t remember anything. If you asked me what I ate for breakfast the day I was nominated for an Emmy, I have no idea.

"I don't really remember [my time as Malcolm] but I wasn't saying I don't remember everything."

Although Muniz did suffer nine concussions, the 38-year-old attributes his poor memory to his busy schedule as a young actor as well as the fact that he was just a teenager when the popular sitcom was airing.

Frankie Muniz at the Emmy Awards in 2001. Image: Getty. "I've gone to a lot of doctors over it and looked into [my memory loss]. As weird as it sounds, I don't want to blame the concussions," he said on the podcast. 


"I just think it's the fact I did so much in that timeframe that, of course I don't remember all of it. A lot of my memories now are that I can't distinguish if it were a dream or if it was reality," he added.

While appearing on the podcast, Muniz also clarified reports of his experiences with mini-strokes, sharing that he later was diagnosed with aura migraines.

"I was having these episodes where I'd have numbness, I couldn't see, I'd lose my vision. And everyone was telling me you're having these TIE's (transient ischemic attacks) or mini-strokes. Nobody could give me a straight up answer," he shared.

"If you search my name, all it talks about is that I have no memory or that I'm dying of strokes. The reality is I finally got diagnosed with just aura-migraines, intense migraines."

"But if you search my name, it's basically, 'Frankie is dying, and he doesn't even know that he was Malcolm'. I'm like, 'No, I know.'"

These days, Muniz has stepped away from acting, become a father and changed his career altogether.


Frankie Muniz's car racing career.

Muniz currently competes part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, however, in 2023, he placed fourth in the ARCA Menards Series. 

The ARCA Menards Series showcases less experienced drivers and is considered a starting point for newbie stock-car racing enthusiasts.

Before taking part, Muniz spoke to reporters over Zoom at Daytona International Speedway and said: "I wanted this my entire life."

"I want to prove to people that like I’m here to take it seriously… I’m not just here for a fluke. I’m not just here for publicity. I wanted this my entire life, you know what I mean?


"I’m mad I waited 12 years after my last racing experience to get here. I want people to look at me and see me on track and go, ‘Wow, he belongs,’ and I’m ready to prove to everyone that I do. Hopefully, I do."

Muniz was in a serious race accident in 2009 where he broke his back, ankle and had a pin surgically inserted into his hand and his recovery has been a long one. 

"I just took longer to heal than I thought," Muniz said. "Not that you have to essentially start over, but I missed an entire season, and I got an opportunity to be in a band. I know that sounds crazy. I was touring the world playing drums, so a lot of things just kind of took over my life and I dove in 100%."


Muniz was referring to his stint as the drummer of indie rock band Kingsfoil.

"I’ve always thought in the back of my mind I was going to go back racing. As the years have gone on, it felt further and further away."

"So when I had my son 19 months ago, it honestly made me go, ‘What am I? Who am I? Who do I want to be to my son or what I want him to see me doing?'"

"That’s what I’ve always said I felt like I was the most comfortable doing… Realistically I’m old to be getting started in the racing world… But in that same sense, it motivates me that I’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity I have today.

"I don’t have time to wait. So hopefully that helps the progression, go a little quicker because I have the motivation. I’m in the right mindset."

What is Frankie Muniz up to now?

Aside from competing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Muniz is competing on the Australian version of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! joining radio host Brittany Hockley and celebrity chef, Khanh Hong. 

The Agent Cody Banks star hopes to be crowned king of the jungle and win $100,000 for his chosen charity, Dementia Australia. 

"I recently just lost my grandmother who suffered from dementia," he told news.com.au.

"I know how important it is for families and people experiencing dementia to have support, and that’s what Dementia Australia is focused on. So I definitely want to help spread that word and help any way I can with that."


When he's not on screen or on the track, Muniz enjoys his downtime with wife Paige and two-year-old son Mauz Mosley.

This article was written on the May 1, 2022, and has been updated since.

Feature Image: Getty.

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