Celebs Battling Diseases And Illnesses You Might Have No Idea

There is no denying that having someone talk about their health openly and publicly can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and be a supportive force for fans who may be going through a difficult time. This is especially true for the less well-known conditions. Here are some famous people who have talked openly about their chronic illnesses, which range from lupus to endometriosis.

1. Selena Gomez needed a kidney transplant.

Source: Instagram

Her best bud, Francia Raisa, donated a kidney after Gomez’s devastating battle with lupus. She was originally embarrassed of her scar, but now shows it off on Instagram, and says “I feel confident in who I am and what I went through.”

2. Lady Gaga has chronic pain from fibromyalgia.

Source: Getty/Twitter

She caught a ton of flack after postponing several 2017 European tour dates, and was forced to open up about her diagnosis to save her reputation: People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke.”

3. Nick Jonas has type 1 diabetes.

Source: Instagram

Jonas said he “felt pretty isolated, initially,” after being diagnosed at age 13. He later cofounded an advocacy and fundraising organization, Beyond Type 1, to “build up the community and be a support to those who maybe felt the way I felt.”

4. Avril Lavigne was bedridden with Lyme disease.

Source: Getty/Instagram

After turning 30, she was mysteriously incapacitated for a full 5 months: “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying.” She was ultimately diagnosed with Lyme, but didn’t tell her fans until she was fully out of the woods.

5. Tom Hanks regrets giving himself diabetes.

Source: Getty

Hanks says he has no one to blame but himself for his type 2 diabetes diagnosis: “I’m part of the lazy American generation that has blindly kept dancing through the party and now find ourselves with a malady.”

6. George Clooney has had chronic pain since 2005.

Source: WireImage

He suffered a pretty devastating spine injury while filming 2005’s Syriana. Despite several procedures and invasive surgery, he’s had to rely on nontraditional pain management techniques: “I had to accept that I’m going to beat this on a very different level, almost psychological.”

7. Venus Williams suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome.

Source: Istock

Sjogren is an autoimmune disease that causes her to be constantly tired, and randomly wake up “really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold.”

8. Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy.

Source: Getty

He was diagnosed as a child, but he’s suffered more and more seizures as his career progresses. He blames it on the rock star lifestyle, or, as he puts it, “just plain stress, no rest and overworking myself.”

9. Shania Twain’s voice was damaged by Lyme disease.

Source: Getty

One side effect of Lyme disease is particularly devastating to Shania Twain: dysphonia, a.k.a. “hoarse voice.” Through physical therapy and a vigorous vocal warmup regimen, she’s been able to keep crooning, but “was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again.”

10. Jack Osbourne says his MS is “not a death sentence.”

Source: Getty

He randomly lost vision in his right eye in 2012, which eventually led to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Through various treatments, he’s been able to largely regain his vision, and is hopeful that modern medicine can stave off lots of the other devastating symptoms: “There’s hope, there’s absolutely hope.”

11. Montel Williams treats MS with cannabis and snowboarding.

Source: Flickr

Williams supposedly revealed his multiple sclerosis diagnosis to get out ahead of reports of medical cannabis use. But he’s since become a vocal advocate and purveyor of CBD products. He also says strapping into a snowboard helps his brain find his legs, and “the benefits last for days.”

12. Kathy Bates has had cancer twice.

Source: Getty

She says cancer runs in her family “like a river.” Despite testing negative for genetic markers that would predispose her, she ended up having (and defeating) ovarian cancer, and later had a double mastectomy. Despite her physical setbacks, she’s grateful to have “been blessed with a keen mind and many interest.”

13. Michael J. Fox suffered in silence for 7 years.

Source: BBC

He’s now a vocal advocate for Parkinson’s research and people living with the disease, but he spent most of the 90’s staying quiet about his diagnosis (and battling depression and alcoholism as a result).

14. Charlie Sheen spent $10 million hiding his diagnosis.

Source: Getty

Sheen had been HIV-positive for years, and admittedly had consensual – but unprotected – sex with at least two women, before coming clean publicly. He only did so because it was becoming too expensive to pay off his “inner circle.”
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