30 Celebrities Who Are Fighting Serious Illnesses

Celebs April 9, 2019 By Hugo

From bouts of mental illness to fighting against life-threatening physical conditions, these brave stars refuse to let their ailments define them. Even more striking is how candid they have been with their struggles.

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By being open with their health struggles in an industry that is all about perfection, these 30 celebrities gave hope and inspiration to millions of people around the world suffering similar conditions that life is still manageable.

Here are 30 stars that suffer daily from a chronic illness.


1. Sarah Hyland

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The gorgeous actress suffers from kidney dysplasia, a condition that sees internal structures of the fetuses' kidney enlarge abnormally in the womb. To rectify it, Hyland underwent a kidney transplant in 2012- but it wasn't easy.

In fact, Hyland revealed in a Twitter post that it took a lot of convincing for doctors even to believe that something wasn't right. “For those who are chronically ill and in chronic pain: Have you had the experience of doctors not listening to you? If so, how do you not tear their heads off with your bare hands?”


2. Selena Gomez

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The Come And Get It hitmaker's battles with lupus have been well documented in the press, with Gomez revealing back in 2015 that she was suffering from the inflammatory disease.

Lupus is a disease that causes the immune system to attack its own tissues, and in the pop star's case, this resulted in her kidneys being harmed. After undergoing a kidney transplant in 2017, Gomez made a full recovery. 

Speaking about her life-changing experience, Gomez said at the Lupus Research Alliance's Breaking Through gala, “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. Thankfully, one of my best friends gave me her kidney and it was the ultimate gift of life. And I am doing quite well now.”


3. Bella Hadid

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Lyme disease is a fairly common illness in America with notable onset symptoms including fever, body aches, and fatigue. However, while this may sound like your everyday cold, if it isn't treated in time Lyme disease can escalate pretty quickly.

"It starts with brain fog; for a while, I couldn’t put sentences together," Hadid revealed to Glamor magazine. "I’m really tired a lot. A few weeks ago I had a big campaign shoot that I had to reschedule. It’s hard, but I push through, because at the end of the day, if you’re not working, somebody else is."


4. Daisy Ridley

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While the British actress may appear to be on top of the world after landing a lead role in the new Star Wars franchise, Ridley revealed that she came down with a condition known as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome in 2016.

"I was in my flat going nuts, and then my skin got really bad with the stress of it all, and I hadn't been well—I had holes in my gut wall and stuff—and we were trying to figure out what to do with that because I'd felt poorly," she told Elle Australia.


5. Lady Gaga

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Fresh from winning an Academy Award for her spellbinding contribution to the soundtrack of the Bradley Cooper movie, A Star Is Born, Gaga now has a glistening acting career under her belt as well as remaining a pop phenomenon. However, the New York native's struggles with constant pain have made her success hard to enjoy at times due to her struggles with Fibromyalgia, an illness which causes internal muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

“In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia,” Gaga tweeted in September 2017. “I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.” Fibromyalgia causes widespread muscle pain, along with fatigue and issues with sleep and memory.


6. Kim Kardashian West

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Kim Kardashian West is one of the most successful businesswomen in America, but like anyone, she isn't perfect, and she's actually been dealing with an autoimmune skin condition called psoriasis for years on end.

Speaking to People about her experiences with the condition, West opened up and said, “I have been using this light — and I don’t wanna speak too soon because [the psoriasis] is almost gone — but I’ve been using this light [therapy] and my psoriasis is like 60 percent gone. That’s wild because it hasn’t been gone in years.”


7. Nick Jonas

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Nick Jonas may appear to have a perfect life, but he's just like 1.25m other Americans living with type 1 diabetes. An unofficial spokesperson of the disease, Jonas has always been open about his struggles and desire to raise awareness of the condition.

Speaking at the Disney Music Awards in April 2017, which had invited a group of kids who have type 1 diabetes, Jonas said, "This is truly incredible. These kids who are up here are all type 1 diabetes like myself.... This is a disease I was diagnosed with when I was 13. It was a moment in my life when I was just getting ready to start making music with my brothers, and touring, and it was something I thought would slow me down before I even got started."


8. Lil Wayne

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The New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne has epilepsy, a condition which is far from ideal, especially when you make a living under the constant glare of lights and flashing cameras.

The neurological disorder, which is characterized by intense seizures, sees the rapper suffer from constant seizures, something he revealed in a radio interview. "This wasn't my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh...I have had a bunch of seizures, you just never hear about them."


9. Gigi Hadid

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As well as sister Bella suffering from Lymes disease, Gigi also has a condition; only hers is the lesser-known Hashimoto's disease, caused by an underactive thyroid.

Taking to social media to address her condition, she tweeted, "For those of you so determined to come up [with] why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started [at] 17 I was not yet diagnosed [with] Hashimoto’s disease. Those of [you] who called me 'too big for the industry' were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that."


10. Venus Williams

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The tennis superstar candidly confessed to The New York Times in 2011 that her tennis career had stalled in recent years following her struggles with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease carrying a variety of symptoms including dry eyes, dry mouth, joint pain and persistent fatigue.

“The fatigue is hard to explain unless you have it,” she said." Some 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. And the more I tried to push through it, the tougher it got.


11. Sasha Pieterse

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Sasha Pieterse described her confusion at not knowing the cause of her severe lower abdominal pain. The Pretty Little Liars actress then revealed on an episode of Dancing With the Stars that she had recently been diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome 

“I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t have any way of solving it. Very recently I was diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, [a] hormone imbalance. And finally I knew why this was happening to me.”


12. Winnie Harlow

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Winnie Harlow is one of the world's most in-demand fashion models despite suffering from a skin pigment condition called Vitiligo. However, Harlow has been keen to stress in interviews that she by no means finds it a disease, and has embraced her unique appearance.

"I’m not a 'Vitiligo Sufferer'," she wrote in an Instagram post. "I’m not a 'Vitiligo model'. I am Winnie. I am a model. And [I] happen to have Vitiligo. Stop putting these titles on me or anyone else. I AM NOT SUFFERING! If anything I’m SUCCEEDING at showing people that their differences don’t make them WHO they are!"


13. Anthony Anderson

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Whilst Joe Jonas has type 1 diabetes, Anthony Anderson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001. But like any person with diabetes, the daily travails that come with the condition can be quite debilitating. "There are a lot of hurdles to jump over when it comes to diabetes," the Blackish actor said to People in 2017.

"It’s about taking it serious first and foremost and getting real and being diligent about what you need to do to manage the disease. It takes time, and it takes a plan, but once you have a plan in order it’s about making healthier choices, getting active and staying diligent on the program your doctors put you on."


14. Shania Twain

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The country music songstress has had a long and illustrious career and continues to rock the airwaves to this day. However, at one point Twain was worried she'd never sing again due to her ongoing battle with Lyme disease.

“I was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again, ever," she confessed in a wide-ranging interview with People. "I went through that moment, but I found a way. I found a way to do it.”


15. Halsey

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The pop star has had a journey to stardom paved with fraught and difficulty, with the star admitting to sleeping rough and even contemplating turning to prostitution when money was low. However, even during her success, Halsey suffered physical pain in the uterus but couldn't find out why until diagnosed with endometriosis.

"Finding out that I had [endometriosis] was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn't crazy!" she exclaimed on Twitter. "I wasn't a 'baby!' I had every right to be feeling like the world was caving in. But it was terrifying to find out."


16.  Halle Berry

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Another diabetic in Hollywood is the seasoned actress Halle Berry. "I was 19. I became much healthier as I learned how to manage [my diabetes]," she revealed to the Los Angeles Times in August 2015.

"It took a couple of years, and some scary situations, to accept that it was a lifestyle change and not a diet I could stop in six months."


17. Missy Elliott

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The Work It hitmaker may appear impenetrable, but Missy has had many health problems over the years, as she revealed to People in 2011.

“You live with it for the rest of your life,” she said concerning her Graves' disease diagnosis, an autoimmune disease that leads to an overactive thyroid.


18. Nick Cannon

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The America's Got Talent presenter is another famous sufferer of the autoimmune disease Lupus, a condition that impacts profoundly on the immune system by attacking the organs and tissues.

"Even to this day, I don't subscribe—like, Lupus doesn't have me. Some doctor said this. But I'm going to do everything I can do to maintain my physical, mental and spiritual health," Cannon said of his condition.


19. Morgan Freeman

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Screen legend Morgan Freeman may not look as senior as his age, but that hasn't stopped him feeling increased pain in his later years. "It's the fibromyalgia," he told Esquire in July 2012.

"Up and down the arm. That's where it gets so bad. Excruciating."


20. Zoe Saldana

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Like the beautiful Gigi Hadid, the actress Zoe Salanda also suffers from Hashimoto's disease but explained to Porter magazine that she wasn't diagnosed until much later in life.

“I had a great time in my twenties," she said. Then your doctor says you’re losing calcium in your bones. What the f**k is that?! I would hear those conversations with my mom and grandma, thinking I’d never get there. I’m going to live forever! But all of a sudden it hits you; it’s from night to day.”


21. Jamie-Lynn Sigler

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The Sopranos actress is a sufferer of MS (Multiple sclerosis),  a serious disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system. 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with MS are women.

"When I was diagnosed [at age 20], my doctor said, 'I don't want you to think you can't do anything that you don't want to do in this life,'" she said in a candid sit-down with Glamor. "MS is part of me, but it's not who I am."


22. Pink

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While not as severe as other conditions on this list, asthma can still have life-changing consequences if the right medications and lifestyle habits aren't taken into account.

"I have to be able to run up those stairs as many times as I do and be able to sing at the same time," Pink said in 2009. "I'm an asthmatic. I have to be on that treadmill singing to get my lungs right."


23. George Clooney

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While often referred to as one of the sexiest men alive, Clooney suffers from a pain many of us will relate to: back pain. "It's been a long recovery," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

"I had to accept that I'm going to beat this on a very different level, almost psychological. I went to a pain-management guy whose idea was, 'You can't mourn for how you used to feel because you're never going to feel that way again.' Meaning, you wake up with the worst hangover ever, and that's your day, and you have to come to terms with it."


24. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

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A former co-host on The View, the blonde beauty suffers from celiac disease, causing her body to be intolerant to gluten, found in foods such as wheat, barley, and rye.

"I've always thought that if you work really hard at something, you can get it," she said to Good Housekeeping. "But I was faced with the reality that this just wasn't happening. Especially given my celiac disease, my body tends to shut down when I'm under stress, like when I'm training for a marathon or when I was starving in Australia. So I decided to be kinder to my body."


25. Jack Osbourne

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Like fellow American Jamie Lynn Siegler, the reality star Jack Osbourne also suffers from MS, a condition he opened up about during an interview with Health magazine in 2017.

"The emotional side of MS is the toughest part. Depression is one of the most common symptoms that people with MS share. ... There are times it just comes out of nowhere and really kicks me in the ass."


26. Padma Lakshmi

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The gorgeous actress is another famous face living with endometriosis. “I’m somebody who never knew I had [endometriosis] and always thought that everything was okay,” she revealed to People.

“I found out in a very hard, difficult way – and I had to be operated on. Now, I’m fine but it was a very trying ordeal.”


27. Tom Hanks

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Tom Hanks is another celebrity diabetic, a condition which affects 33.3m Americans, roughly 9.3% of the population.

Speaking of his experiences with the condition, the Academy Award winner recalled in an interview with David Letterman in 2013. "I went to the doctor, and he said, 'You know those high blood sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated! You've got type 2 diabetes, young man."


28. Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carrey suffers from bipolar diagnosis, a condition that results in noticeable-and often dangerous- mood swings. Speaking about living with the condition that affects 5.7m adult Americans, Carey said, “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she revealed to People magazine.

“It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”


29. Melanie Griffith

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What do Melanie Griffith and Lil Wayne have in common? Epilepsy. "I had two seizures, one they took me off the boat," she revealed when invited to speak on the Women's Brain Health Initiative panel in October 2017.

"I had this major grand mal seizure, and they took me to the hospital in Cannes and then brought me back to the boat. And then I had another seizure, and I went back. They did the EEG and started to look at it seriously. When I came back [to the United States], I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and nobody had said to me over a period of 20 years, no one paid enough attention to even diagnose me."


30. Demi Lovato

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The pop star has fought a long battle with substance abuse and has been candid about her struggles in past interviews. In a recent YouTube documentary, the star revealed her addiction to cocaine. "I was scared because my mom always told me that your heart could just burst if you do it, But I did it anyways, and I loved it the first time that I did it."

With her problems worsening in an industry where drugs almost go hand-in-hand, the star explored her dependency on drugs in the track "Sober."  "Mommy, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore," the lyrics read. "And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor."

"I'm sorry that I'm here again, I promise I'll get help. It wasn't my intention; I'm sorry to myself."


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