Being a celebrity is not an easy job. Although the lifestyle seems glamorous because of all the parties, celebrity friends, and free gifts, being a celebrity also comes with long work hours, tons of traveling, and a demanding schedule. If the constant travel and busy schedule isn’t stressful enough, imagine managing this lifestyle while you’re battling serious medical conditions.
Recently, Selena Gomez announced she will be taking a break from her international tour to focus on her health. Gomez, who was diagnosed with Lupus, has had a few health scares in the past. In 2013, she also canceled dates on her tour because of her condition and checked herself into a facility to undergo chemotherapy.
While Gomez isn’t the only celebrity to have taken a break to focus on medical conditions and treatments, there are many celebrities who live with severe medical conditions and are publicly open about them. From cancer scares to hospitalization stemming from an ongoing medical condition, many celebrities have publicly announced their medical histories as well as the effects that their conditions have on their personal lives and work performance. Some have taken breaks from their careers to focus on their well-being, while others continue to work while managing their symptoms. Take a look at the celebrities below living with serious health conditions.
15 Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, former co-host of The View and contestant on Survivor, suffers from Celiac Disease. Prior to her Celiac diagnosis, Hasselbeck was misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. While taking her treatment prescribed by doctors, she saw that her health was still not getting better. Her time on Survivor led to her finally being properly diagnosed. During an interview with Everyday Health, Hasselbeck said, “Celiac disease is a gateway disease. If you leave it untreated, you're asking for intestinal cancer or diabetes or some other form of malfunction in your body.” Since her diagnosis, Hasselbeck has been an advocate for Celiac Disease and published her book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide in 2008 to help other people living with Celiac Disease maintain a healthy lifestyle.
14 Kathy Bates
Actress Kathy Bates was diagnosed with both breast and ovarian Cancer. The American Horror Story actress was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and was later diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Bates underwent a double mastectomy following her breast cancer diagnosis similar to the treatment taken by actress and philanthropist Angelina Jolie. While Bates has overcome her battle with breast and ovarian cancer, she has since been diagnosed with lymphedema in both of her arms. Her lymphedema developed as a result of her double mastectomy. Despite Bates' medical history, she continues to work as an actress with a role in Harry’s Law and has become a permanent cast member on American Horror Story serving as a character for the past three seasons.
13 Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson is well-known for her golden locks, her role of C.J. Parker on Baywatch, being a PlayBoy Magazine playmate, and her former marriage to Mötley Crüe member, Tommy Lee Jones. Anderson, however, is also known for her medical diagnosis with Hepatitis C. Anderson has been public and vocal about her illness, which she had contracted in 2002 from sharing tattoo needles with her former husband. Following her diagnosis, Anderson said that doctors originally told her she would only live for 10 years, but finally got news that she would be able to live longer with the disease if she got proper treatment. During an interview with People Magazine, Anderson said that she (and her ex-husband) has been cured of the disease, after living with it for almost 20 years.
12 Michael J. Fox
While we know him for his role in the Back to the Future franchise, Michael J. Fox has also been known for his involvement in Parkinson's disease research. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, but didn’t make his diagnosis public until 1998. Following his public announcement in 2000, Fox retired from his then popular TV show, Spin City, with Charlie Sheen later stepping in as his replacement. Following his retirement, Fox focused his attention to being an advocate for Parkinson’s disease and launched The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Fox later returned to television with his show, The Michael J. Fox Show, which revolves around a news anchor who returns to work following a diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.
11 Montel Williams
Montel Williams is known for wearing many hats. Talk-show host, television anchor, radio personality, and actor are just a few of Williams’ accolades. Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999, Williams has also been know as an advocate for the disease. Although Williams’ show, The Montel Williams Show which began in 1991, continued for a while after his diagnosis, the show’s final episode aired in 2008. In 2000, Williams founded The Montel Williams MS Foundation. The organization focuses on research and education for Multiple Sclerosis. While there are no known cures for Multiple Sclerosis, Williams manages his symptoms with regular physical activity and has also been vocal about his use of medical marijuana to help with the pain from the condition.
10 Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty is best known for her roles as Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210 and older sister Prue Halliwell on Charmed. She suffers from Crohn’s disease and was diagnosed in 1999. Doherty was also later diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Doherty’s cancer spread to a lymph node in her breast during a time when she was uninsured and not able to seek medical treatment. To combat her breast cancer, Doherty underwent a mastectomy in 2015 and continued medical treatment for the cancer including chemotherapy. Although Doherty has dealt with various serious conditions, she has not let her them stop her from working. She continues to act in both television and film roles.
9 Lil Wayne
Although he has been in the news recently for his ongoing feud with his record label, Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy. The condition does not yet have a cure and results in seizures that are triggered from a variety of environmental cues. Lil Wayne has publicly stated that he suffered from the disorder and has had it since he was a child. Lil Wayne’s health-related concerns come from multiple instances of seizures and epileptic fits. In 2013, Lil Wayne suffered a series of consecutive seizures, which landed him in the hospital for several days. The media, naturally, was all over the rapper's news, though they originally attributed his hospitalization to drug use. Lil Wayne publicly denounced the rumors, and opened up about his epilepsy during an interview with DJ Felli Fel of Power 106 FM, Los Angeles.
8 Missy Elliott
Rapper, singer, and musical superstar Missy Elliott is known for her larger-than-life personality. While in the past she has been consistent with making music and creating some of the most animated videos, Elliott took a break from music. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Graves' disease, which she discovered after almost crashing her car due to extreme leg pain. Elliott’s break from music lasted a few years, but fans were grateful for her eventual return to the music industry. Since her diagnosis and her break from music, Elliott has undergone treatment and made her comeback with songs, “WTF” and “Pep Rally”. She's also performed with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show.
7 Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon is quite a busy man. From working on Nickelodeon to having his own line of headphones to his acting roles and we forget his set of twins from his marriage to Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon has not let his Lupus get the best of him. In 2012, Cannon was hospitalized to treat minor kidney failure. A month later, Cannon was hospitalized again after a pulmonary embolism. In March 2015, Cannon said his kidney problems were a result of Lupus and has publicly announced his diagnosis with the disease. Cannon continues to work on television as the host of America’s Got Talent and he recently enrolled to Howard University and is part of the 2020 graduating class.
6 Halle Berry
Actress Halle Berry has had a long, successful career in Hollywood. In 2002, Berry won an Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the only woman of color to win the award, and she has since starred in various films including a role in the X-men franchise, Die Another Day, and was even an executive producer in Kidnap as well as starring in it. While Berry has, and continues to work in the entertainment industry, she suffers from Type 1 Diabetes. Many undermine the severity of the disease, probably because it's so common. But what people don't realize is how dangerous it is if their blood sugar level drops too low. In 1989, Berry went into a diabetic coma during the taping of Living Dolls. She was later diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Like other celebrities, Berry has not let her medical condition to stop her from working. Along with publicly talking about her disease, Berry is a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Association.
5 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is one known to defy odds and march to the beat of her own drum. The singer, who can now add acting to her long list of accomplishments, also suffers from Lupus. The 'Born This Way' songstress was diagnosed with Lupus and made the announcement public in 2011 during an interview with Larry King although she has said that she doesn’t suffer from any of the symptoms associated with the disease. Celebrating her recent marriage to Taylor Kinney, a duet-album with legend Tony Bennett and a successful season on American Horror Story, Lady Gaga has not let her diagnosis stop her from creating music and following her passion. Lady Gaga’s new single “Perfect Illusion” is off of her next album, which is her fifth studio album, and is set to be released later this year.
4 Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton is a singer, songwriter, producer, and also a philanthropist. Braxton’s youngest son, Diezel, has been diagnosed with autism, and she has been vocal about her son’s autism and has served as a philanthropist advocating for education and awareness about the disease. Braxton is involved with Autism Speaks and serves as the organization’s International Spokesperson. While she has been supportive with her son’s diagnosis, Braxton also suffers from her own medical conditions. In 2008, rumors began to circulate that Braxton had breast cancer. While she denied the claims, she did have a benign lump removed from her breast. While serving as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, Braxton had been diagnosed with microvascular angina and had publicly stated her Lupus diagnosis in 2010. In 2o12, Braxton was hospitalized for health issues stemming from her Lupus.
3 Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen’s character and personality is larger than life. While he has given us some of the best pop-culture moments and phrases we still use, in 2015 the Two and a Half Men star announced he was HIV positive. Sheen’s serious health concerns date back to 1998 when he suffered a stroke. Sheen’s personal life, including his drug and substance use, has been publicly noted and discussed. Ex-wife Denise Richards filed for a divorce from Sheen stating that the actor suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. Though he admits to being diagnosed in 2011, in 2015 Sheen’s HIV positive status became public. He has also stated since his diagnosis, that he’s had to pay people approximately $10 million dollars to not disclose his medical condition.
2 Selena Gomez
Making her way from being a Disney Channel star to a pop superstar, Selena Gomez has come a long way in her career. Although most may know about Gomez’s previous relationship to Justin Bieber, not all are familiar with her medical diagnosis. Gomez is another star that suffers from Lupus, which she publicly admitted to in 2015. Prior to her diagnosis, there had been rumors surrounding Gomez’s health. In 2013, she canceled the Australian and Asian leg of her tour and in 2014 she spent two weeks at The Meadows in Wickenburg, AZ, which specializes in treating young people suffering from addiction and trauma. During her stay there, Gomez admits to having underwent chemotherapy as part of her Lupus treatment. Last month, Gomez announced her Lupus was affecting her performance and canceled dates on her Revival World Tour.
1 Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a basketball legend and entrepreneur. Johnson openly admitted to have contracted HIV in 1991. After announcing his medical condition, he went on to create The Magic Johnson Foundation, an organization to help fight HIV, although the foundation now includes other charitable initiatives. Johnson also helps in the fight against AIDS in African American communities and has partnered with Abbott Laboratories in the fight. Johnson has also assisted in the fight against the negative stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS stating that he wanted to educate all people about the disease and combat discrimination against people who suffer from the diseases. Since his public announcement of being HIV positive, Johnson has served in multiple organizations and held various roles in the fight for HIV education and awareness including the National Commission on AIDS and serving as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.