Prashant Kumar

List of Celebrities Who Are Fighting With Chronic Illnesses

Ever wondered about the hidden struggles of your favorite stars? Join us as we delve into the personal journeys of well-known figures fighting chronic illnesses. From actors to singers, each story reveals resilience beyond the glitz and glamour.

Take Frankie Muniz, for example, known for his role in Malcolm in the Middle. Muniz’s journey includes sports-related concussions leading to mini-strokes, yet he remains determined to succeed.

Or consider Wendy Williams, who bravely shared her battle with Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition impacting her daily life. These stories are about real people facing real challenges.

As we explore these journeys, consider how they reshape your understanding of fame and illness. What insights do they offer about resilience and determination?

1. Frankie Muniz

Frankie Muniz, an American actor, faced numerous sports-related concussions during his youth and car-racing career, totaling nine. Doctors attribute these concussions to over 15 transient ischemic attacks, commonly known as “mini strokes,” he has experienced. These temporary brain clots or blockages have caused him to have limited recollection of his time on the show Malcolm in the Middle. 

Despite these challenges, Muniz remains resilient, expressing his determination to move forward without seeking sympathy or special consideration. During his participation in Dancing With the Stars in 2017, he stated, “I’m not seeking sympathy or expecting anyone to be concerned. This is my reality, and I’m focused on moving ahead. It hasn’t hindered my ability to pursue my goals.”

2. Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams shared on her show in February 2018 that she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. She described her thyroid as being significantly imbalanced. Initially, she attributed her symptoms to menopause, but it turned out to be a type of hyperthyroidism known as Graves’ disease. This condition causes her to experience difficulties such as mental fogginess, irregular menstrual cycles, eye spasms, and additional health challenges.

3. Carrie Ann Inaba

Carrie Ann Inaba has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition known for causing symptoms such as dry eyes, dry mouth, joint discomfort, fatigue, and others. Inaba spoke to PEOPLE magazine about her diagnosis, mentioning the challenges she faced, like struggling to perform simple tasks due to exhaustion. She has found relief through various therapies like Reiki, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, Pilates, and yoga, although she still encounters occasional flare-ups. Additionally, she has openly discussed her experiences with fibromyalgia during her role as a co-host on The Talk, aiming to reduce the stigma surrounding what she refers to as “invisible illnesses.”

4. Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, a prevalent cause of hypothyroidism. This condition results in an underactive thyroid gland, affecting the body’s energy utilization. The actress shared with SELF magazine that being diagnosed with this at 26 felt like a significant challenge, causing weight gain, memory problems, and various other symptoms.

Rodriguez expressed that after years of struggling, she realized the importance of taking care of herself. She has since committed to medication, dietary adjustments, and incorporating more physical activity into her routine.

5. Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union emphasized that fertility concerns aren’t exclusive to older women; they affect women across age groups. The actress, who has been diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition causing endometrial tissue to grow into the uterine wall, spoke openly about its challenges. Adenomyosis commonly manifests as heavy periods and pelvic pain and is often associated with fertility issues. 

Union, married to NBA star Dwayne Wayde, candidly discussed her struggles, revealing she had experienced numerous miscarriages, estimated at eight or nine by 2018. Through her book “We’re Going To Need More Wine” and public discussion of her IVF journey, Union aims to support others grappling with similar silent struggles.

6. Sarah Hyland

Sarah Jane Hyland is an American actress and singer who has faced challenges due to kidney dysplasia, a condition where the fetal kidneys develop abnormally. In 2012 and again in 2017, she underwent kidney transplant surgeries due to rejection of the first transplant.

In a tweet from March, she shared her frustration about the experience of being chronically ill and in pain, questioning how others cope with doctors who may not listen attentively to their concerns.

7. Yolanda Hadid

Yolanda Hadid has been contending with Lyme disease, which is acquired through tick bites. Symptoms encompass fever, body aches, and fatigue. If left untreated, it can lead to complications.

Hadid expressed on a Bravo blog that, “I have lost the ability to read, write, or even watch TV, because I can’t process information or any stimulation for that matter. It feels like someone came in and confiscated my brain and tied my hands behind my back to just watch and see life go by without me participating in it.”

On her Instagram page, Hadid is divulging details about her trials with new methods to attempt to alleviate the symptoms, such as the Master Cleanse. “The journey of recovery from chronic disease is a lengthy and winding road of small victories,” she shared.

8. Dan Reynolds

Dan Reynolds experienced significant back pain for the first time eight years ago. He described it as limiting, affecting his ability to perform on stage and even to move comfortably. Despite seeking advice from several medical professionals without success, he eventually consulted a rheumatologist about ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a chronic condition characterized by joint inflammation. Reynolds, whose two siblings also have AS, has found some relief through yoga and maintaining a healthy diet. He now actively promotes awareness of the condition through initiatives like This is AS Life Live!, a web-based talk show.

9. Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham, an American writer, director, actress, and producer, shared in 2018 that she underwent a significant medical procedure, a total hysterectomy, as part of her efforts to manage her enduring struggle with endometriosis. This condition, characterized by the abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus, can cause considerable discomfort.

In a reflective essay published in Lenny Letter in November 2015, Dunham expressed that while endometriosis isn’t typically life-threatening, it presents ongoing challenges. She acknowledged her fortune within the broader spectrum of health issues but highlighted the shared experience of many women grappling with the quest for consistent well-being. Dunham also touched upon the frustration of encountering skepticism from medical professionals who sometimes downplay the severity of symptoms associated with this condition.

10. Selena Gomez

In 2015, Selena Gomez disclosed her diagnosis of lupus, a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. The lupus affected her kidneys, leading her to undergo a kidney transplant in 2017.

Speaking at the Lupus Research Alliance’s Breaking Through Gala in New York City, Gomez reflected, “I may not have fully grasped the severity of my condition at first, but it reached a critical point where it became a matter of life and death.” She expressed gratitude, stating, “Fortunately, one of my closest friends generously donated her kidney, which was an invaluable gift. I’m now in good health.”

11. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga shared in a tweet back in September 2017 that she deals with fibromyalgia, a condition causing chronic pain, fatigue, and difficulties with sleep and memory. She expressed her desire to raise awareness and connect with others facing similar challenges in our documentary.

12. Lil Wayne

In March 2013, Lil Wayne disclosed that he suffers from epilepsy, a neurological condition marked by seizures. He mentioned to Power 106’s DJ Felli Fel that he’s had numerous seizures, although they haven’t been widely reported.

13. Elisabeth Hasselbeck 

Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been diagnosed with celiac disease, a condition that renders her body intolerant to gluten, a protein commonly found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye.

In an interview with Good Housekeeping in August 2007, she shared her realization that despite her strong efforts, achieving certain goals became challenging. She attributed this difficulty partly to her celiac disease, noting that her body tends to react adversely to stress, whether it be during intense training for a marathon or experiencing food scarcity while in Australia. Consequently, she resolved to adopt a more compassionate approach towards her body

14. Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas has Type 1 diabetes. “This is really remarkable,” he expressed while speaking at the Radio Disney Music Awards in April 2017. “These youngsters up here share my experience with Type 1 diabetes… This is a condition I was diagnosed with at the age of 13. It was a pivotal moment for me as I was gearing up to embark on my musical journey with my brothers, and touring, and it felt like an obstacle I had to overcome before even beginning.”

15. Sasha Pieterse

Sasha Pieterse has PCOS. “I was unaware of the underlying issue and felt helpless,” the actress from Pretty Little Liars shared during an episode of Dancing With the Stars in September 2017. “I was recently diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, which involves a hormonal imbalance. Finally, I gained clarity about why these symptoms were affecting me.” Pieterse mentioned various symptoms, including irregular periods, weight fluctuations, challenges in weight management, and others.

16. Kim Kardashian

Kim has been managing psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition, for a considerable period. “I’ve been employing this light therapy, and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but my psoriasis seems to have improved significantly—it’s almost vanished,” she shared with PEOPLE in November 2017. “It’s remarkable because it hasn’t shown such improvement in years.”

17. Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid disclosed her diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease. In a tweet from February 2018, she addressed speculation about changes in her body over the years, explaining that when she began her career at 17, she hadn’t yet been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. She clarified that criticisms labeling her as “too large for the industry” were likely observing inflammation and water retention caused by the condition.

18. Venus Williams

Venus Williams has spoken about her experience with Sjogren’s syndrome, describing the fatigue as difficult to convey unless one has experienced it firsthand. In a 2011 interview with The New York Times, she likened it to the feeling of sickness one might have after a night of poor sleep or when battling a flu or cold. She expressed that she consistently deals with a certain level of tiredness, which intensifies when she attempts to push through it.

19. Winnie Harlow

Winnie Harlow has vitiligo, a condition resulting in the loss of skin pigmentation in patches. In a March 2018 Instagram post, she expressed her viewpoint, stating, “I prefer not to be labeled as a ‘Vitiligo Sufferer’ or a ‘Vitiligo model.’ I am Winnie. I am a model who happens to have vitiligo. Let’s refrain from attaching such titles to me or anyone else. I am not in a state of suffering. If anything, I am demonstrating that our unique traits do not define our identity, but rather contribute to our success.”

20. Halsey

Halsey, an American singer, songwriter, and actress, bravely shared her experience with endometriosis. She expressed on Twitter, “Discovering that I had [endometriosis] was both relieving and alarming. It validated my struggles and dispelled any doubts about my health. However, the revelation was daunting.”

21. Halle Berry

Halle Berry opened up about her experience with diabetes, stating, “I was 19. I significantly improved my health as I learned how to effectively manage my diabetes.” She shared with the Los Angeles Times in August 2015, “It took a couple of years and some unsettling moments to realize that it required a lifestyle adjustment rather than a temporary diet solution.”

22. Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon has been diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues. “Even now, I don’t let lupus define me. It’s just what some doctor diagnosed,” he shared with ET in April 2018. “But I’m committed to taking every possible step to care for my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.”

23. Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman discussed his experience with fibromyalgia in an interview with Esquire in July 2012. He mentioned the challenges of dealing with the condition, particularly the intense pain he feels in his arms.

24. Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana shared her experience with Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid condition, in an interview with Porter magazine in July 2016. She expressed her initial shock upon receiving the diagnosis, recalling how she had enjoyed her twenties without much concern for health issues. Suddenly facing the reality of health challenges was unexpected for her. She mentioned overhearing similar conversations about health with her mother and grandmother but never thought it would affect her.

25. Pink

Pink spoke about her asthma in a Women’s Health interview in December 2009, emphasizing the importance of maintaining her physical stamina and vocal abilities. She highlighted the necessity of incorporating singing while exercising on the treadmill to support her respiratory health as an asthmatic individual.

26. Padma Lakshmi 

Padma Lakshmi spoke about her experience with endometriosis, sharing, “I was unaware of my condition and naively assumed everything was normal.” She revealed in an interview with PEOPLE in April 2009, “Discovering it was a harsh reality check, leading to a necessary surgical intervention. Thankfully, I’ve recovered since then, but it was undoubtedly a challenging journey.”

27. Claire Foy

Claire Foy described experiencing anxiety as a sensation of unease in her stomach and a sense of limitation based on perceived qualities. She explained that her mind races with thoughts, making it challenging to control. Foy shared that her parents’ divorce at a young age led her to adopt a people-pleasing demeanor in an attempt to maintain harmony. However, this habit evolved into excessive worry over the potential outcomes of her actions, exacerbating her anxiety.

Acknowledging the need for assistance, Foy sought therapy, which helped her gain perspective. She now recognizes her anxiety as a part of herself that she can manage independently.

28. Melanie Griffith 

Melanie Griffith experienced episodes related to epilepsy. She shared during a Women’s Brain Health Initiative panel in October 2017 that she encountered two seizures, one while she was on a boat. Recalling the incident, she described it as a significant grand mal seizure, leading to her hospitalization in Cannes. 

Following this, she suffered another seizure upon returning to the boat. Medical professionals conducted an EEG and began to take her condition seriously. Upon returning to the United States, she received a diagnosis of epilepsy. Griffith expressed frustration that despite experiencing symptoms over a span of 20 years, no one had paid sufficient attention to diagnose her earlier.

29. Tia Mowry

Tia Mowry was diagnosed with endometriosis in her late 20s, following years of enduring discomfort, yet her doctors initially misdiagnosed her condition. In an article for Women’s Health, the actress expressed feeling isolated and enduring silently due to a lack of representation and awareness about her experience.

30. Jessie J

Jessie J spoke openly about her fertility challenges during a 2018 concert in London, where she disclosed that her popular song “Four Letter Word” was inspired by her personal struggle. In 2014, medical professionals informed her of her infertility and suggested a possible need for a hysterectomy. Choosing not to undergo such an invasive procedure, she instead pursued dietary modifications and natural remedies. Jessie remains dedicated to sharing her experiences and aspires to conceive naturally in the future.

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