10 Celebrities You Never Knew Had Life-Threatening Conditions

Just as the public was getting over the shock of Charlie Sheen’s announcement that he is HIV positive, another celebrity revealed a life-threatening illness. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, best known for her role as Meadow on “The Sopranos,” recently came forward with her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a disorder of the central nervous system and disrupts the flow of information to the brain. The life expectancy for a person with MS varies greatly, but the average is 25-35 years after a diagnosis is made. This may sound like good news, but the MS population suffers from a variety of debilitating symptoms including the inability to walk, decreased memory and imprecise speech – all of which are essential to the profession of acting. And, the suicide rate of those with MS is over seven times greater than that of the average person. Surprisingly, many other celebrities are living with life-threatening illnesses.

10 Michael J. Fox

9 Christy Turlington


8 Nicole Richie

7 Robert Downey, Jr.

6 Demi Lovato

5 Selena Gomez

4 Mary Tyler Moore

3 Bob Barker

2 Rebel Wilson

1 Michael Douglas and Catherine-Zeta Jones

Superstar Michael Douglas and his stunning wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, both suffer from life-threatening conditions. Douglas, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko in the “Wall Street” franchise, revealed in 2010 that he was diagnosed with throat cancer; years later he revealed that he actually had tongue cancer. He underwent both radiation and chemotherapy to eradicate the tumor. Still, Douglas is not out of the woods. He requires monthly cancer screenings to check if the deadly disease has returned. Recurrence of oral cancer can be as high as 30 percent; and Douglas has a good chance of recurrence due to his history of heavy smoking and alcohol use. Oral cancer has devastating consequences. It can lead to a multitude of speech problems, from slurred or hoarse speech to the inability to talk – all of which could end an actor’s career. Another complication is difficulty swallowing, which can lead to chronic inhalation of food particles in the lungs, pneumonia, and eventually death. Douglas is 71 years old, which makes his disease all the more dangerous as the risk of cancer increases with age. His bout with cancer may have slowed down his career, as the last blockbuster movie he starred in was 2010’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” His much-younger wife’s career - and life - are also in jeopardy. Zeta-Jones shocked fans in 2011 when it was revealed that she suffered from bipolar disorder type II disorder and received inpatient therapy. The disorder is characterized by shifting moods with more low periods than high periods. Those with the type II disorder are at a great risk for substance abuse and suicide. There is no cure for the disorder, and Zeta-Jones checked herself into inpatient therapy again in 2013. Since coming forward with her diagnosis, she appears to have shied away from the spotlight. Zeta-Jones reports that this is due to wanting to spend more time with the two children she has with Douglas, Dylan and Carys.


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10 Celebrities You Never Knew Had Life-Threatening Conditions