We often idolize celebrities to the point that there are no longer viewed as human but nothing serves as a more sobering reminder that they are just like the rest of us than hearing about the health issues they battle.
Though being diagnosed with a condition is always unfortunate, a celebrity’s illness can sometimes offer a silver lining to others with the condition by helping to raise awareness of the disease. The celebs on this list courageously face everyday with health challenges to overcome.
Bella Hadid — Lyme Disease
I know what it feels like to not want to get out of bed from bone pains and exhaustion and days on end of not wanting to socialize or be around people because the anxiety and brain fog just isn’t worth it.
—In a speech at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala, Oct. 2016.
Zoe Saldana — Hashimoto’s
Sometimes, it’s good to share little things of what your struggles are. It’s not impeding my quality of life. It just means I have to be a little more conscientious of how I live and what I put into my body because I have this predisposed situation.
—Extra, July 2015.
Lady Gaga — Fibromyalgia
I use the word ‘suffer’ not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans.
—Instagram, Sept. 2017.
Michael J. Fox – Parkinson’s Disease
I thought, “Oh my God, are people going to laugh at me [find me funny] if they know I’m sick? Can I still do my work?” What I found instead was an amazing outpouring of love. I discovered that I was part of a Parkinson’s community with similar experiences and similar questions that I’d been dealing with alone.
I don’t look at life as a battle or as a fight. I’m accepting. I don’t think I’m scrappy. I say “living with” or “working through” Parkinson’s. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation—it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. I look at it like I’m a fluid that’s finding the fissures and cracks and flowing through.
– Parade, April, 2012.
Kim Kardashian — Psoriasis
Sometimes I just feel like it’s my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it?… Everyone with psoriasis has different symptoms; sometimes the rashes are itchy, sometimes they’re flaky. Mine flares up from time to time for different reasons,’ she explained…I’m always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I’m learning to just accept it as part of who I am.
—”Living with psoriasis,” a post on kimkardashianwest.com, August 2016.
Selena Gomez — Lupus
I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of…I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering… Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.
—Instagram, Sept. 2017
Seal – Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
I got really depressed about [the scars] at first, as you can understand. Now I really like them.” Seal now says he’s enjoying them, “If I could design something, I don’t think I could do it better.
– In an interview with Rolling Stone.
Venus Williams — Sjogren’s
The fatigue is hard to explain unless you have it…[s]ome mornings I feel really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold. I always have some level of tiredness…You almost get used to having all these symptoms. You tell yourself to shake it off. Just keep going.
—New York Times, Sept. 2011