Hugh Grant says COVID-19 symptoms made him “want to sniff strangers’ armpits”

"You start to panic"

Hugh Grant has said COVID-19 had made him “want to sniff strangers’ armpits” when he was diagnosed earlier this year.

The actor, who’s currently starring in The Undoing opposite Nicole Kidman, told Stephen Colbert about contracting the virus in February.

“My wife and I had it – way back in the winter,” Grant told the presenter on A Late Show yesterday (November 11).


“I have antibodies, I’m rather proud of them, so we’re not going to get it, I don’t think,” he said, adding that he had an antibody test “only a month ago”.

“I still have those antibodies, so I know that’s what it was,” he continued.

Grant explained that the symptoms “started as just a very strange syndrome where I kept breaking into a terrible sweat,” adding it was “like a poncho of sweat, embarrassing really”.


He added: “Then my eyeballs felt about three sizes too big and this feeling as though an enormous man was sitting on my chest – Harvey Weinstein or someone.


“I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is.’ Then I was walking down the street one day and I thought, ‘I can’t smell a damn thing’, and you start to panic.”

At the time, a loss of sense of smell wasn’t yet determined as an official symptom. Grant then explained he “started sniffing in garbage cans. You know, you want to sniff strangers’ armpits because you just can’t smell anything.

“I eventually went home and I sprayed my wife’s Chanel No. 5 directly into my face. Couldn’t smell a thing, but I did go blind.”

In a five-star review of The Undoing, NME said: “This is a must-watch piece of telly that boasts two of the year’s most compelling leads in Jonathan and Grace.”