Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Battling Medical Conditions
These celebrities have opened up about their chronic illnesses.
Chronic illnesses or conditions that require long-term management and treatment, can affect anybody — including celebrities. In recent years, Hollywood stars have become more open about their private health struggles, often to raise awareness around the ailment they’re battling.
From Nick Jonas to Venus Williams, here are some famous figures you may not have known were coping with medical conditions.
Nick Jonas — Type 1 Diabetes
Nick Jonas was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2005 at the age of 13. In 2015, he helped found Beyond Type 1, an organization that raises funds for research and aims to empower people with the condition to live well.
“I felt pretty isolated initially,” Jonas said of the disease in 2018. “One of the reasons I was so drawn to being a part of Beyond Type 1 was really to find ways we could build up the community and be a support to those who maybe felt the way I felt when I was diagnosed, which was very alone.”
Lady Gaga — Fibromyalgia
In 2017, Lady Gaga took to Twitter to reveal that she had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which caused chronic pain for her and eventually led to the postponement of several of her European tour dates.
She opened up about the condition in the October 2018 issue of Vogue, saying, “People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke. And it’s every day waking up not knowing how you’re going to feel.”
Sarah Hyland — Kidney Dysplasia
Sarah Hyland has been open about her years-long battle with kidney dysplasia, a condition that occurs in the womb when one or both of the baby’s kidneys don’t develop correctly. In 2012, she underwent a kidney transplant, which she later revealed caused her to suffer from hair loss.
The “Modern Family” star has also discussed how the condition has impacted her weight after online critics accused her of being too skinny.
“No one’s head should be bigger than their body but considering I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass,” she wrote in a candid Twitter post in 2017. “My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like.”
Lil Wayne — Epilepsy
Lil Wayne has suffered from epilepsy since childhood. The rapper has been hospitalized for seizures multiple times in the last several years, most recently in 2017. In 2016, his private jet had to make an emergency landing after he suffered multiple seizures in the air. The artist has attributed the seizures to his chaotic lifestyle.
“The reason being for the seizures is just plain stress, no rest and overworking myself. That’s typical me, though,” he said of the condition in 2013, per MTV.
Julianne Hough — Endometriosis
In recent years, Julianne Hough has become an outspoken advocate for endometriosis awareness, but that wasn’t always the case. The actress, who has battled the condition for 10 years, said she initially kept the diagnosis to herself because it felt too personal to reveal.
Per E!, she decided to go public with her diagnosis to “help other women so they don’t have to go through this sort of like, silent, I’m alone situation, that there’s actually an amazing community of women that are there for you.”
Selena Gomez — Lupus
In 2015, Selena Gomez revealed that she is battling lupus, an inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack its own tissues. After the condition affected her kidneys, Gomez underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. The actress and singer has since committed herself to raising awareness about the disease.
“I’d like to see the day when all young women can realize their dreams of life without lupus,” she said in a speech at the Lupus Research Alliance’s Breaking Through Gala in 2017, per E! News.
Pink — Asthma
The pop star has struggled with asthma for years, a condition she says plays a factor in her workouts.
“I have to be able to run up those stairs as many times as I do and be able to sing at the same time. I’m an asthmatic,” she told Women’s Health in 2009. “I have to be on that treadmill singing to get my lungs right.”
Bella Hadid — Lyme Disease
Model Bella Hadid has battled Lyme disease for several years. Her mother, Yolanda Hadid, who also struggles with the condition, first revealed her daughter’s diagnosis during an episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Since then, the supermodel has spoken candidly about the effects of Lyme on her life.
“Life isn’t always what it looks like on the outside, and the hardest part of this journey is to be judged by the way you look instead of the way you feel,” she said while receiving an award from the Global Lyme Alliance, which she dedicated to “all the teenagers out there that have really gone through what I’m going through and have suffered from this disease without an end in sight.”
Venus Williams — Sjögren’s Syndrome
Venus Williams struggles with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause a variety of symptoms, like joint pain, fatigue and dry mouth.
“Some mornings I feel really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold,” she told the New York Times in 2011. “I always have some level of tiredness. And the more I tried to push through it, the tougher it got.”
George Clooney — Chronic Pain
George Clooney has suffered from chronic pain and headaches ever since sustaining a spinal injury while filming his 2005 drama, “Syriana.” The injury forced him to undergo several painful spinal procedures and a nine-hour surgery that same year. Though the pain diminished over time, it’s never fully gone away.
“It’s been a long recovery,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. ”I had to accept that I’m going to beat this on a very different level, almost psychological. I went to a pain-management guy whose idea was, ‘You can’t mourn for how you used to feel, because you’re never going to feel that way again.’ Meaning, you wake up with the worst hangover ever, and that’s your day, and you have to come to terms with it.”
Tom Hanks — Type 2 Diabetes
Tom Hanks first revealed his diagnosis in 2013 while appearing on “The Late Show.” In 2016, the beloved movie star opened up about how he believes his lifestyle played a factor in the diagnosis.
“I’m part of the lazy American generation that has blindly kept dancing through the party and now finds ourselves with a malady,” the actor said, per Today.
Michael Phelps — ADHD
Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9. As a young child, the star athlete struggled to focus in school. Phelps says he later learned out how to manage the condition with the help of his mom and doctors, often channeling his energy into the sport that has made him a gold medal Olympian — swimming.
“I think the biggest thing for me, once I found that it was okay to talk to someone and seek help, I think that’s something that has changed my life forever,” he said of the condition, per People. “Now I’m able to live life to its fullest.”
Missy Elliott — Graves’ Disease
The rapper had a private battle with Graves’ disease after getting diagnosed in 2008. The autoimmune disease affects the thyroid and can also affect motor skills. Other symptoms include dizzy spells, an elevated heart rate and mood swings. Elliott underwent a treatment of radiation and medication to improve her symptoms. She also manages the condition through diet and exercise, according to People.
Jack Osbourne — Multiple Sclerosis
Jack Osbourne was diagnosed with MS in 2012 after temporarily losing vision in his right eye. The unpredictable disease can cause a variety of symptoms, from speech difficulty to numbness and mobility issues. After his diagnosis, Osbourne began treatment that restored most of the vision in his eye and says he maintains a healthy lifestyle that helps keep debilitating physical symptoms at bay.
Though the star says the condition fuels depression at times, he remains a positive outlook.
“MS is not a death sentence, ultimately,” he told Today in 2017. “Not anymore. There’s hope, there’s absolutely hope.”
Gigi Hadid — Hashimoto’s Disease
In February 2018, model Gigi Hadid revealed the impact of Hashimoto’s disease on her body, tweeting, “For those of you so determined to come up [with] why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started [at] 17 I was not yet diagnosed [with] Hashimoto’s disease. Those who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that.”
Hashimoto’s is a condition that leads to an underactive thyroid.
Shania Twain — Lyme Disease
Shania Twain had to work to regain her singing voice after seeing some damaging effects from dysphonia, the result of her ongoing battle with Lyme disease. Singing now requires lengthy warmups and physical therapy.
“I was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again, ever,” she said in 2017, per People. “I went through that moment, but I found a way.”
Toni Braxton — Lupus
In 2016, Toni Braxton was briefly hospitalized due to complications from lupus. Her spokesperson later confirmed that the singer had returned home, but that the autoimmune disease required constant monitoring. The incident came six years after the R&B singer first disclosed news of her illness.
“Today, I’m going to talk about it because I’m a survivor and I’m here, and I don’t want to lose hope,” she said at the time, per CBS.
Halle Berry — Diabetes
Halle Berry has been working hard to keep her diabetes in check for over three decades.
“I was 19,” she told the LA Times of her diagnosis. “I became much healthier as I learned how to manage it. It took a couple of years, and some scary situations, to accept that it was a lifestyle change and not a diet I could stop in six months.”
Morgan Freeman — Fibromyalgia
Morgan Freeman suffers from fibromyalgia that causes joint pain, particularly in his left arm. The condition has made it impossible for the actor to partake in some of his past favorite hobbies, including sailing and riding horses.
“There is a point to changes like these,” the star told Esquire in 2012 of learning how to navigate the condition. “I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”
Jamie-Lynn Sigler — Multiple Sclerosis
Before going public with her diagnosis in 2016, Jamie-Lynn Sigler lived silently with multiple sclerosis for 15 years. Though the actress says she rebelled against taking medication for the first few years out of denial, she soon became symptomatic and learned to undergo a more regular treatment that has helped stabilize the condition.
“When I was diagnosed [at age 20], my doctor said, ‘I don’t want you to think you can’t do anything that you don’t want to do in this life,’” she told Glamour. “MS is part of me, but it’s not who I am.”
Charlie Sheen — HIV
The actor went public with his HIV-positive status in an interview on the Today show in 2015. At the time, the TV star said he came forward with his diagnosis to avoid further blackmailing and extortion over keeping the condition a secret.
“It’s a hard three letters to absorb,” he said of the illness. “It’s a turning point in one’s life.”
Shannon Doherty — Crohn’s Disease
The actress has long struggled with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition that causes a host of persistent digestive problems. That isn’t the only serious health battle the former “90210” star has faced, though. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and she announced she was in remission in April 2017.
Christy Turlington — Emphysema
Christy Turlington revealed she had early-stage emphysema back in 2000. The diagnosis came five years after the model, motivated by her father’s battle with lung cancer, had quit smoking. She became an outspoken advocate of the dangers of smoking and received her diagnosis while volunteering for a lung scan at Manhattan’s Cornell Weill Medical Center.
“The frightening thing is, my smoking caused permanent damage,” Turlington said at the time, per the NY Post. “It seems so ironic — breathing is part of the process that sustains life; you breathe in cigarettes and they take your breath away.”
Bill Clinton — Heart Disease
The former president has faced over a decade of heart problems, undergoing a quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004 and emergency surgery to clear a clogged artery in 2010. In more recent years, he has adopted a stricter diet and exercise regiment to help cope with his heart disease.
“The main thing that was hard for me actually — much harder than giving up meat, turkey, chicken and fish — was giving up yogurt and hard cheese,” he told AARP of becoming a vegan in 2013. “I love that stuff, but it really made a big difference when I did it.”
Mick Mars — Ankylosing Spondylitis
The lead guitarist of Mötley Crüe suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a form of chronic arthritis that affects the bones, the joints and the base of the spine.
“It is one of those things that I call an inconvenience,” he told Classic Rock Revisited of the condition. “Of course I have days that are worse than others and there is always some amount of pain with my hips. There are good days and bad days but it is more of an inconvenience than anything else. I don’t feel sick.”
Elisabeth Hasselbeck — Celiac Disease
The TV star has celiac disease, which makes her intolerant to gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.
“Because I was undiagnosed for so long, I spent years agonized by food, getting sick all of the time, not knowing what I could and could not eat,” Hasselbeck told Self in 2012. She now sticks to an entirely gluten-free lifestyle.
Daisy Ridley — Endometriosis And Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The “Star Wars” actress has battled the effects of endometriosis for years, as she first revealed in an Instagram post in 2016. She was first diagnosed with the condition at the age of 15, but later found out she also had PCOS, which was worsening certain symptoms.
“To any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don’t worry about sounding like a hypochondriac,” she wrote on social media at the time.
Anthony Anderson — Type 2 Diabetes
The “Black-ish” star learned he had type 2 diabetes in 2001.
“There are a lot of hurdles to jump over when it comes to diabetes,” he told Parade in November 2017. “It’s about taking it serious [sic], first and foremost, and getting real and being diligent about what you need to do to manage the disease.”
Zoe Saldana — Hashimoto’s Disease
Zoe Saldana battles Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition that her mother and sisters also struggle with. To help keep symptoms at bay, the actress sticks to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.
“Your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to filter toxins, causing it to believe that it has an infection, so it’s always inflamed,” she told Porter magazine in 2016. “You create antibodies that attack your glands, so you have to eat clean.”
Selma Blair — Multiple Sclerosis
Blair revealed in October 2018 that she was recently diagnosed with MS, writing on Instagram:
“I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”
Kim Kardashian — Psoriasis
“Keeping Up With the Kardashian” fans watched Kim Kardashian receive her psoriasis diagnosis on the show in 2011. The reality TV star has been open about her battle with the skin condition (which can cause red, blotchy patches) ever since. Kardashian reportedly uses light therapy to treat her symptoms, as she revealed on her app.
“The disease is something I have learned to live with, but there are still times when I can feel insecure about it—especially on red carpets or at a photo shoot,” she wrote, per Self. “There isn’t a cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms.”