Money and fame can buy you a lot of things, but health sadly isn’t one of them. Illness doesn’t know the difference between a billionaire and a homeless person living on the street. Here are 13 celebrities who suffer from chronic diseases. Some are rare illness you might not have heard of (or are unable to pronounce) and others are pretty common diseases that many people suffer from. Some of these celebs suffer with minor discomfort and others have diagnoses that can seriously lead to paralysis, amputations, blindness and even death. What all the celebs have in common is a fighting spirit to live and inspire others.
13. Bret Michaels- Heart Disease
You might not have known that the singer of the broken heart power ballad, Every Rose Has It’s Thorn literally has a broken heart himself. In 2010, Poison front man and successful solo artist Bret Michaels was diagnosed with heart disease, specifically a hole in his heart, which is known as a patent foramen ovale or PFO. After suffering from numbness on the right side of his body, Michaels was admitted to the hospital, where doctors discovered this malady. Sadly, heart disease isn’t the only illness Michaels suffers from, he also has diabetes.
12. Lil Wayne- Epilepsy
Lil Wayne has a big problem, he suffers from Epilepsy. In 2013, he was admitted to the ICU at Cedars-Siani hospital in Los Angeles, after suffering from a series of seizures and fell into a coma. He told radio station Power 106 “I’m an epileptic, so I’m prone to seizures. I’ve had a bunch of seizures. Y’all just never hear about it. This time it got real bad because I got three of ’em in a row, and on the third one, my heart rate went down to, like, 30%. Basically, I could have died soon. That’s why it was so serious. The reason being for the seizures is just plain stress, no rest and overworking myself.” After being hospitalized, Lil Wayne realized he had to cut down on the partying and have a lil less sizzurp.
11. Missy Elliott – Graves’ Disease
Graves’ Disease can be a grave illness, and Missy Elliott suffers from it. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that is the result of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms include lack of muscle control, mood swings and hair loss. While it’s not life threatening, it’s certainly debilitating. In 2013, Elliot revealed she had been suffering from Graves’ and had received radiation treatment for the disorder. While not curable, the illness is treatable. Her diagnosis made Elliot realize she had to get serious about her health and she started to diet and exercise, eventually losing 30 lbs. The supa dupa fly singer came back better and stronger than ever.
10. Michael J. Fox – Parkinsons
Michael J. Fox revealed he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease in 1998, but he had actually been diagnosed in 1991. Fox noticed he had a “twitch” in his finger and his doctor diagnosed him with a late-mild form of the disease. Two years after he announced his illness, he formed The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research to cure the disease through various efforts. One interesting aspect of what the foundation does, is the Fox Trial Finder program, which connects people with the disease, as well as their family members with clinical research trials.
9. Jack Osbourne – Multiple Sclerosis
In 2012, Jack Osbourne announced he was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, at the age of 26. MS affects the central nervous system and disrupts the messages between the brain and body. It can affect the spinal cord and ultimately cause blindness and paralysis. Shortly after he was diagnosed, Osbourne went on Dancing With Stars. Today, he tries to remain healthy and strong with a minimal amount of debilitation from the disease. However, at one point, Osbourne had lost 80% of his vision in his right eye. Luckily, Osbourne has the “most common and least aggressive” type of the disease, and has been able to control many of his symptoms.
8. Tiki Barber – Sickle Cell Disease
Former New York Giants running-back, Tiki Barber suffers from Sickle Cell Disease. Sickle Cell is a genetic blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with the disease have an abnormal type of hemoglobin called Hemoglobin-S. The blood cells are also sickle or crescent shaped and can have difficulty passing through the small blood vessels. It can cause swollen feet and vision problems. Sickle Cells can also affect the spleen, which makes people with the disease more vulnerable to infections. Barber isn’t the only celebrity suffering from the disease- actor Larenz Tate and T-Boz from TLC also have it.
7. B. Smith – Alzheimer’s
64-year-old Barbara Smith aka B. Smith, former model, restaurateur, entrepreneur and host of the television show, B. Smith With Style, announced earlier this year that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She told CBS news “I think the future’s going to be fine. I’m going to do my best to make it work out for me, and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.” Sadly, she went missing from her home in Sag Harbor New York on November 26th, but was found several hours later in Manhattan at a diner, near where she used to live before her diagnosis.
6. Pamela Anderson – Hepatitis C
Pamela Anderson suffers from Hepatitis C, which affects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Anderson says she got the disease from sharing a tattoo needle with her former husband, Tommy Lee. Anderson said she and Lee had AIDS tests, as well as other disease testing when they got married (she was marrying Tommy Lee, after all). Pam says her former husband’s doctor told him he had the virus, but he never disclosed it to her. As can be imagined, Lee has denied all of this. But they aren’t alone- Natasha Lyonne, Anthony Kiedis and Steven Tyler also have Hepatitis C.
5. Halle Berry – Diabetes
Actress Halle Berry suffers from Type 2 Diabetes, which means her body is unable to produce enough insulin to process sugar into energy. Symptoms include being chronically tired, tingling in the hands and feet, as well as kidney failure. Type 2 Diabetes can lead to blindness and loss of limbs. Berry told MailOnline “[When I was diagnosed], they told me I might lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs. I was scared to death, I thought I was going to die.” Berry controls her disease through daily insulin injections and a special diet. Tom Hanks, Sherri Shepard, Larry King and Randy Jackson all suffer from the same illness.
4. Nick Cannon – Lupus
Entertainer Nick Cannon suffers from the autoimmune disorder, Lupus. He was diagnosed with lupus kidney disease (also called lupus nephritis) in 2012, after his knees began to swell during a New Years vacation in Aspen, Colorado. One symptom of lupus is being chronically fatigued. How does Cannon deal with that? He told E! News “The more that I go and the more that I push and I stay on that regimen [in the gym, eating right, etc.], it kinda keeps me going so my body doesn’t get the opportunity to kinda be like ‘Oh, I’m tired.’ ”
3. Kim Kardashian – Psoriasis
No, having a giant butt isn’t a disease, but Kim Kardashian actually does suffer from one- psoriasis. She revealed her condition on a 2011 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes skin to breakout in raised bumps or scaly patches. It’s a chronic condition that affects approximately 7.5 million people in the United States (most of whom didn’t realize they had anything in common with Kim Kardashian). There are a variety of treatments including oral medications, topical medications and light therapy, but there is no cure for the disease. Kim isn’t the only celeb with psoriasis, LeAnn Rimes and Jon Lovitz have it too.
2. Jillian Michaels – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Endometriosis
Jillian Michaels won’t let Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis make her into a loser. Endometriosis makes the uterine lining grow on other organs and tissues in the body. PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance, leading to ovarian cysts and irregular periods. These conditions make it incredibly difficult for women to have children or complete infertility, which is why Michaels chose to adopt children instead of getting pregnant. It can also cause chronic pain. Michaels controls her symptoms through diet and exercise.
1. Venus Williams – Sjögren Syndrome
Venus Williams suffers from Sjögren’s Syndrome, which is pronounced Show-grins. It’s an autoimmune disorder where a person’s white blood cells attack moisture glands. It results in dry mouth and eyes, but can get a lot worse, affecting the kidneys, central nervous system gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, liver, lungs and pancreas. Sjögren’s can also result in extreme fatigue and joint pain. In 2011, Williams had to withdraw from the U.S. Open due to her illness, but came back the next year. The athlete told Time magazine, “There’s only so much you can do, so I’ve definitely had to adjust a lot but I just see it as a challenge because in my life I’ve never been defeated by anything.” That’s why she’s a champion.