You’re Not Alone: Celebrities Who Have Serious Illnesses

Just because stars are rich and famous, doesn’t mean they’re immune to life-threatening ailments. There are plenty of celebrities who are included in the millions of people who are afflicted with diseases and other illnesses. Courageously, they’ve shared their struggles to show fans who are also sick that they are not alone.

Selena Gomez “Could’ve Had A Stroke” At 21-Years-Old



In 2013, Selena Gomez was growing her career beyond her Disney-star image, having just released her first solo album, Stars Dance. She went on tour that summer, but by December, suddenly canceled the last half of her performances. The following month, Gomez was reported to have entered a rehab facility “voluntarily,” much to public speculation of mental instability or substance abuse. Little did everyone know, Gomez was diagnosed with lupus earlier that year. She told Billboard in 2015, “I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke.”

A True Friend: Gomez Receives Kidney Transplant From Fellow Actress


Instagram/ @selenagomez

By 2017, Gomez was pushing herself hard despite her lupus diagnosis, so much so that her kidneys began failing on her. “After undergoing so many tests to monitor my kidneys my doctors told me I have lupus nephritis, one of those complications from lupus. They said I would be needing a kidney transplant… Maybe I wasn’t necessarily really good at knowing what that meant so it actually got to a point where it was life-or-death.”

In September, fellow actress Francia Raisa volunteered to donate her kidney to Gomez. “Thankfully, one of my best friends gave me her kidney and it was the ultimate gift of life,” she said at the Lupus Research Alliance Annual Gala that November.

Next, read about the disease model Gigi Hadid is managing behind the scenes.

The Disorder That Could Affect Gigi Hadid’s Career


Antonello Trio/Getty Images Entertainment

Model Gigi Hadid suffers from Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland. “My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year… It’s now been two years since taking the medication for it, so for the [Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show] I didn’t want to lose any more weight,” Hadid said at a Reebok even in 2016. Hashimoto’s disease can vary in severity, but it is a common disease that is often manageable with medication. Other stars who’ve opened up about having Hashimoto’s include Zoe Saldana, Gina Rodriguez, and Victoria Justice.

Gigi isn’t the only one in her family who’s afflicted with illness, as you’ll soon learn.

Lil Wayne Didn’t Know He Had A Seizure Until Much Later


Prince Williams/WireImage via Getty Images

In 2013, Rapper Lil Wayne told an L.A.’s Power 106 that he was epileptic after a hospital stint earlier that year concerned many of his fans. “I have had a bunch of seizures, you just never hear about them,” he told the radio station. He also appeared on MTV’s RapFix Live, where he revealed what it was like living with his condition: “No warning, no nothing, I don’t feel sick. I get headaches real bad. And the headaches? I didn’t get no headaches or nothing… I go to sleep and wake up in the hospital. I don’t feel anything. I just hope it stops happening.”

Sarah Hyland’s Kidney Dysplasia Has Made Her A Target For Bullies


Amanda Edwards/WireImage via Getty Images

Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland has had a lifelong battle with kidney dysplasia, which is when the kidneys do not develop normally from infancy. As a result, Hyland had to undergo a kidney transplant in 2012 from her father. The illness has caused Hyland’s weight to fluctuate, which of course, led to public scrutiny. In 2017, Hyland was accused of promoting anorexia because of her thin figure, while others took to fat-shaming her. This prompted her to set the record straight on Twitter: “I don’t mind when you say that I look pregnant. Or fat. Because I know that my face is swollen from my medication that is saving my life. For those on Prednisone I know what you’re going through…”

The Disease That Barrages The Hadid Family


Chance Yeh/WireImage via Getty Images

Yolanda Hadid, former model and star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is known to be afflicted with Lyme disease, which is said to be spread by ticks, although this is not always the case. In 2015, Hadid wrote on her blog that she was suffering with it for the last three years: “I wasted the first year trying to get diagnosed and spent the next two trying to find a cure. I have gone from the conventional long-term antibiotics to about every holistic protocol there is to offer.” Hadid isn’t the only one in her family who suffers from Lyme disease either. Her youngest children, Bella and Anwar, also have dealt with the illness.

Keep reading to see which actor has a very visible skin cancer…

Girls Actress Lena Dunham Was Misdiagnosed For Years


Instagram/ @lenadunham

Actress Lena Dunham revealed that she has long been suffering from endometriosis in 2015. Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body, causing immense physical pain. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she was properly diagnosed as doctors continuously misdiagnosed her symptoms since she was a teenager. Dunham had undergone five surgeries and by April 2017, she was reportedly free of the disorder, saying, “Between my surgeries and hormonal intervention, I was disease-free. That doesn’t mean it can never return, but for now… I will be healthy.”

Jon Hamm’s Stress Triggered His Vitiligo


RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

Mad Men star Jon Hamm has vitiligo, a common condition that causes the skin to lose its pigmentation — the same condition that Michael Jackson had. Hamm told GQ in 2015, “I haven’t always had it… it’s not from stress, it’s an autoimmune situation, but stress is the trigger. It started after I got the part on Mad Men.” People who are diagnosed with vitiligo can get treatment, however, the disease is incurable. Winnie Harlow, who was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, is another celebrity who famously has vitiligo as well and her career as a model has helped normalize and raise awareness about the disease.

Jack Osbourne Is An MS Advocate


Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In 2012, Jack Osbourne – son of Ozzy Osbourne – was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Jack is now an advocate for MS awareness. He told Today, “MS is not a death sentence, ultimately. Not anymore. There’s hope, there’s absolutely hope… I feel more of an urgency. The doctors don’t know how specifically it’s going to affect me in the long term. It took me a while to figure out my baseline, and I really came to the conclusion that I kind of have to seize every opportunity I can because I don’t know what next year’s going to look like, two years, three years.”

Which actor has also had to deal with his illness in the spotlight? Keep reading to find out.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Uses Her Diagnosis For A Bigger Cause


Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

In September 2017, Julia Louis-Dreyfus shocked many of her fans when she revealed that she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. In a statement on Twitter, Louis-Dreyfus used her announcement to advocate the importance of universal health care: “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.”

Lady Gaga’s “Chronic Pain” Explained



In her Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, Lady Gaga reveals her struggles with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. In September 2017, Gaga tweeted: “In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.” An estimated five million adults are afflicted with this lifelong condition, for which there is no cure. In addition to feeling pain at varying intensities throughout the body, symptoms include extreme fatigue, sleep disorders, and depression.

Why Hugh Jackman Was Wearing Facial Bandages On The Red Carpet


Instagram/ @thehughjackman

Hugh Jackman may be fierce enough to battle mutants in his role as Wolverine, but he’s apparently no match for the sun’s harmful rays. Jackman previously reminded his fans to wear sunscreen in an Instagram post in which he is wearing a bandage on his nose. Jackman is afflicted with basal cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer. In February 2017, Jackman had the cancer removed for the sixth time in two years. Jackman wrote, “Thanks to frequent body checks and amazing doctors, all is well. Looks worse with the dressing on than off. I swear!”

Jackman may have pretty positive outlook in regards to his condition, but keep reading to see which actor can’t help but laugh at his symptoms!

Roseanne Barr Is Slowly Losing Her Eyesight


Taylor Hill/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Roseanne Barr is going blind. The comedic actress told the Daily Beast in 2015, “I have macular degeneration and glaucoma… My vision is closing in now. It’s something weird.” An avid reader, Barr toyed with the idea of eventually hiring someone to read to her. “But I like words and I like looking,” she said. “You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible — y’know, living it up. My dad had it, too.” Of course, this is hardly slowing her down. The classic ’90s sitcom which bears her name is being rebooted and will air on ABC in the Spring of 2017.

This Former NBA Star Suffers From Blood Cancer


Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In 2009, people were shocked to discover that basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. He told CNN, “I have chronic myeloid leukemia… I think it’s possible for someone in my position to help save lives.” He was diagnosed after experiencing abnormal hot flashes and sweats. Since then, he has been working to educate people and raise awareness about the disease itself. Abdul-Jabbar said, “The message is simple: You have to have the expert advice of a specialist. You have to take your medicine and get your blood analyzed.”

Tom Hanks Knows He Brought It On Himself


Jim Spellman/Getty Images

In 2013, Tom Hanks revealed to David Letterman that he has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and he has been learning to regulate his health ever since. Today reported in 2016 that Hanks knows it’s his own habits that got him to this point: “I’m part of the lazy American generation that has blindly kept dancing through the party and now finds ourselves with a malady. I was heavy. You’ve seen me in movies, you know what I looked like. I was a total idiot… I thought I could avoid it by removing the buns from my cheeseburgers. Well, it takes a little bit more than that.”

This actor and his condition are synonymous with each other, but that hasn’t stopped him from laughing about it!

Kim Kardashian’s Psoriasis: “I’ve Learned To Live With It”


PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Kardashian fans all watched Kim freak out in 2011 in an episode of her reality show when she started getting a strange rash on her skin. As it turned out, Kim was diagnosed with psoriasis and has struggled with it ever since. She has tried various methods of treating it — from seaweed-based skin care to LED light therapy. On her website, Kim shared what it was like to live with her condition: “I have this one patch on my right leg that is the most visible. I don’t even really try to cover it that much anymore. Sometimes I just feel like it’s my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it? After this many years, I’ve really learned to live with it.”

Why Missy Elliott “Disappeared” In The 2000s


Brad Barket/Getty Images

After rising to popularity through the late ’90s, boundary-pushing rapper Missy Elliott was noticeably absent through the latter half of the early 2000s. In 2008, Elliott was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid, after she had lost an alarming amount of weight. She previously told People that the illness prevented her from doing simple things like using a pen or driving a car. “I couldn’t keep the brake down and almost crashed,” Elliott said, adding that she underwent radiation therapy. “My thyroid is functioning, so I haven’t had to take medication in about nine months. [But] you live with it for the rest of your life.”

Michael J. Fox Can’t Help But Laugh At Himself


Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic via Getty Images

It was 1998 when Michael J. Fox publicly announced that he had Parkinson’s disease, which he had been diagnosed with, in 1991. In 2017, he told AARP that after all these years, he just can’t help but laugh at his situation. “The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can’t stop laughing at my own symptoms… the thing that makes it hilarious to me is when I think of someone else watching all this and thinking, Poor Michael can’t even get the coffee — it’s so sad! You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition…I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ – because I was.”

Pamela Anderson Cured Of Hep C After 20 Years


Gregg DeGuire/WireImage via Getty Images

Pamela Anderson was diagnosed with Hepatitis C back in 2002. “It has been 20 years… and I always felt this little dark cloud hanging over me,” Anderson told People in 2015. “Twenty years ago they told me I would die in 10 years. And 10 years into that, they told me I would be able to live with it and probably die of something else, but it all was very scary stuff.” In 2015, she announced that she was officially cured of the illness after undergoing a 12-week treatment with a drug called Sovaldi.

Charlie Sheen Is In An FDA Study For HIV Medication


Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2015, actor Charlie Sheen announced publicly that he is HIV-positive. He appeared on Today and told Matt Lauer, “I’m here to admit that I am in fact HIV-positive.” Sheen said that he suffered cluster headaches and night sweats before his diagnosis, adding, “It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life.” In early 2017, Sheen appeared on Good Morning America, where he revealed, “I’ve been enrolled in an FDA study… for a medication for a drug called PRO-140. It’s not this hideous cocktail that leads to so many side effects and, and just, just so much disdain, you know, emotionally and physically. It’s one shot a week, and there’s no side effects.”