7 Celebs You Didn’t Realize Live With an Invisible, Chronic Illness
Last week, Zoe Saldana revealed that she was living with an autoimmune disease, and while some people on the Internet might have thought her announcement was opportunistic (as it coincided with the release of Star Trek Beyond), the fact remains that celebs often struggle with health issues like the rest of us. After all, they’re human like the rest of us! Critics might think that Zoe’s admission to having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis isn’t that big of a deal, but these acts open up conversation and communication between other patients who suffer from this, or other, conditions — and that’s super important.
Here are nine other celebrities who have decided to be open with their fans and the public about their illnesses.
1. Selena Gomez: When Selena Gomez decided to take a break from music at the end of 2012 and enter a treatment facility, people assumed she’d had a breakdown, gotten involved with drugs or something similar. But what they didn’t know was just a few years before that, Selena had been diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks parts of the body, including skin, joints and organs. It wasn’t until 2015 that Selena publicly disclosed her illness, speaking candidly about it with Ellen. “I think it was just very complicated because I didn’t understand and then that was something that I did want to keep private until my whole life suddenly wasn’t private,” Gomez said at the time. “So, it was my moment. I’m really honestly able to relate to people and I get it.” (Photo via Angela Weiss/Getty)
2. Lena Dunham: Lena has been very open about her struggles with endometriosis, even needing to take a break from promoting season six of Girls when it premiered due to a necessary emergency surgery. Lena acknowledges how common the condition is and how lucky she is to have the resources to take time off of work, something she admits most women do not get. Lena has since spoken for and been honored by the Endometriosis Foundation of America. (Photo via Frazer Harrison/Getty)
3. Kim Kardashian: You would never know it from her flawless face, but Kim suffers from psoriasis, a chronic immune system disease that appears in red, scaly patches on the skin. The disease is genetic and was passed to Kim through her mom Kris. Kim was diagnosed in 2011, at which point a dermatologist told her that the best way to manage the condition was to change her life’s hectic pace. Kim’s response? She said it was “just not possible.” (Photo via Astrid Stawiarz/Getty)
4. Lil Wayne: After being hospitalized for a scary incident, Lil Wayne publicly revealed that he suffers from epilepsy, saying he often doesn’t even remember his seizures and describing scary scenarios in which he goes to sleep and wakes up at the hospital. “No warning, no nothing,” he told MTV’s Sway Calloway. “I don’t feel sick. I get headaches real bad.” Scary. (Photo via Aaron Davidson/Getty)
5. Halle Berry: In 2007, Halle Berry came under fire for saying she was able to cure her Type 1 diabetes, eventually weaning herself off of insulin, by eating healthier. Type 1 is incurable, however, and doctors say she may instead have had Type 2 and been misdiagnosed. (Photo via Mark Davis/Getty)
6. Venus Williams: In 2011, star athlete and picture of good health Venus Williams had to withdraw from the US Open; she had been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue and joint pain. Venus had undergone a number of misdiagnoses for a host of symptoms which had already caused her to fall behind her sister Serena in the game. She has since had a resurgent return to tennis and continues to manage the illness. (Photo via Clive Brunskill/Getty)
7. Missy Elliot: After ruling hip-hop and R&B in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Missy Elliot all but disappeared, leaving fans wondering for over a decade when we’d get a proper return from her — and where she’d gone. It turns out she was suffering from Graves disease, which caused her to lose a lot of weight quickly, as well as gave her side effects of hair loss, bulging eyes and high blood pressure, due to an overactive thyroid. With the help of medication, Missy keeps her condition under control, and she made an epic comeback with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2015. (Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
Has an invisible chronic illness affected you or someone you know? Chime in over @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)