18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (2024)

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18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (1)

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The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Associationestimates that 1 in every 5 Americans is living with an autoimmune disorder — and these conditions don’t discriminate based on fame, given the number of celebrities who deal with autoimmune disorders every day.

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Johns Hopkins Medicine definesan autoimmune disorder as “when the body’s natural defense system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells.” Of the known autoimmune disorders, type 1 diabetes, lupus, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis are some of the most common. These conditions disproportionately impact women, who account for nearly 75 percent of cases, according to AARDA.

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While most autoimmune disorders are chronic, Mount Sinai notes that they can be managed with treatment, such as immunosuppressive medicines to decrease the immune system’s abnormal response, supplements to replace what the body is lacking (such as insulin for a diabetic), blood transfusions, and physical therapy. Still, it is often difficult for patients to get an accurate diagnosis for these conditions. And when they are diagnosed, learning to live with a chronic health issue can be disorienting and lonely. That’s why more celebrities are speaking out about their experiences with autoimmune disorders.

Venus Williams, who has Sjögren’s syndrome, shared a poignant message to others who live with chronic illness in a 2019 interview with Prevention. “Don’t be discouraged, because what [you’re] going through is similar to other people,” the tennis icon said. “Talk to those people who understand you or have a similar condition, reach out, and build a [support] team. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t give up.”

From Selma Blair to Gigi Hadid, read on to learn about celebrities who’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and how it has impacted their lives.

  • Halsey

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (5)

    On June 4, beloved singer Halsey posted a video detailing her secret health struggles, while releasing her new song “The End.” While she hasn’t confirmed what health battles she’s undergoing, many believe it is leukemia and lupus due to her saying she would send proceeds to both The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well as the Lupus Research Alliance, per People.

  • Selma Blair

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (6)

    After living with multiple sclerosis for four years, Selma Blair joined Dancing with the Stars as a celebrity competitor. Upon voluntarily leaving the show after five weeks due to a doctor’s recommendation, she said in a pre-taped package, “I was sick for so many years. I was searching and searching for how to help myself.”

    The actress added that she didn’t understand why she couldn’t be a more active mother when her son was younger. “I just thought, ‘Oh, I’m a failure as a mom.’” Blair said that receiving her diagnosis was “a huge relief” and “the beginning of recovery as a person.”

    The Legally Blonde alum explained her motivations for participating in DWTS to Shape in January 2023. “I think it’s important for people with chronic illness or disabilities to see what they can do,” she said. “I deserve to have a good time and try.”

    Multiple sclerosis is a disease within the brain and spinal cord that causes damage to nerve fibers, which results incommunication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.

  • Carrie Ann Inaba

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (7)

    Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba lives with two chronic illnesses, one of which is Sjögren’s syndrome — anautoimmune disorder that causes extensive dryness, fatigue, and chronic pain.

    Of her condition, she told PEOPLE in 2019, “It was debilitating. I was in so much pain, I just had to survive. I had to stay in bed three days a week, and I’m so fortunate because I had the kind of job where I could do that. There were days I could barely make my coffee because I was so exhausted.”

    Inaba told the publication that she’s able to manage her pain with regular craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, and Reiki.

  • Venus Williams

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (8)

    Like Carrie Ann Inaba, Venus Williams lives with Sjögren’s syndrome. The tennis legend told Prevention in 2019, “There are times when things are better and times when they’re not as good, that’s when you have to listen to your body and understand that. Life has changed a little bit, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the same things. You just have to be smarter.”

    Williams spoke directly to others who live with chronic illness, adding, “Don’t be discouraged, because what [you’re] going through is similar to other people. Talk to those people who understand you or have a similar condition, reach out, and build a [support] team. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t give up.”

  • Nick Jonas

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    Nick Jonas was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 13, just as the Jonas Brothers were starting out. Now 30, the musician opened up about being diagnosed in an interview with an organization he co-founded called Beyond Type 1.

    “I remember I told my parents that I needed to go to the doctor, something didn’t feel right and they had already seen the significant weight loss and some of the other symptoms so they brought me in,” he explained. “It was there that my pediatrician informed me that I had type 1 diabetes.”

    “At first I was devastated, naturally,” Jonas continued. “But I didn’t really have time to be devastated because I had to get right to the hospital. It was the start to a crazy new journey.”

    He added that his mindset has always been to not let the condition, which occurs when antibodies in the body start to attack the cells that produce insulin, slow him down. “There have been many moments where it has. Where I’ve had tough days. Where my blood sugar was high or low and I’ve just had to figure it out and push through. I’m grateful that I’ve got a good support system around me,” Jonas said.

  • Selena Gomez

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (10)

    During a 2015 conversation with Billboard, Selena Gomez revealed, “I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my [tour] break was really about … I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”

    In 2017, the singer and actress underwent a kidney transplant due to complications from the autoimmune disease, which can cause inflammation and pain in any part of the body.

  • Nick Cannon

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (11)

    Like Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon lives with lupus. The actor and television personality was diagnosed in 2012, and he told HuffPost in 2016, “It was super scary because … I knew nothing about [lupus] until I was diagnosed.”

    He continued, “When you hear the words ‘autoimmune disease’ or ‘lupus,’ it’s like, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ That’s how I felt, and that’s how my family and friends felt as well… But you realize it’s something that you can live with and actually overcome with the proper research and with the proper support system.”

  • Dan Reynolds

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (12)

    Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds has ankylosing spondylitis, which is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints, ligaments, and tendons of the spine.

    In 2022, the musician opened up to PEOPLE about how he’s able to manage his condition while touring. “I have to live a really, really rigorous lifestyle, very disciplined, in order to keep my body working,” Reynolds began. “Every day I have to exercise to flood all my joints with blood and keep the inflammation down. It’s a lot of exercise, like physical-therapy-type exercise.”

    He continued, “Then, I live a really regimented diet — no processed food, very little sugar, a lot of complex carbs. It’s like living as an athlete. For me, it keeps me straitlaced. I’m a little prone to wanting to not be straitlaced, so it helps when it’s your health on the line,” the “Thunder” singer joked.

  • Morgan Freeman

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (13)

    In 2008, Morgan Freeman was in an intense car accident that caused fibromyalgia in his left arm. The actor told Esquire in 2012 that he experiences frequent “excruciating” pain up and down his arm and was forced to give up piloting jets, sailing, and horseback riding because of his autoimmune disorder.

    Freeman’s outlook, despite the many downsides of living with chronic disease, is admirable. “There is a point to changes like these,” he said. “I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”

    Fibromyalgia is characterized as widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.

  • Gina Rodriguez

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (14)

    Gina Rodriguez has Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid gland that usually results in a decline in hormone production.

    Of the memory issues the condition causes, Rodriguez told Self in 2018, “I can’t remember maybe a sweet thing my boyfriend has said to me a week ago. Or what we ate yesterday. It makes me feel shame. I don’t want him to think that I’m not remembering our special moments together. And that stinks.”

    The actress added that with treatment, diet, and exercise, she’s been able to manage her symptoms. “I’ve had it for so many years… that rebellion of not taking care of myself can’t exist anymore,” Rodriguez said.

  • Kim Kardashian

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (15)

    In a personal essay published on Kourtney Kardashian’s Poosh, Kim Kardashian opened up about her psoriasis (a skin disorder that causes a rash with itchy, scaly patches) and psoriasis arthritis (a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints where tendons and ligaments connect to bone) conditions.

    Of living with psoriasis, the influencer explained, “For the past eight years, although the spots are unpredictable, I can always count on my main spot on my right lower leg, which consistently stays flared up. I have learned to live with this spot without using any creams or medication — I just deal. Sometimes I cover it up and sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t really bother me.”

    Kardashian added that one day, she started to experience debilitating, unrelenting pain in her hands — she could feel it in her bones. After seeing her doctor, she was diagnosed with psoriasis arthritis. “It’s still painful and scary, but I was happy to have a diagnosis,” the SKIMS founder wrote. “No matter what autoimmune condition I had, I was going to get through it, and they are all manageable with proper care.”

    The Kardashians personality mentioned a few of the practices that have helped her manage her autoimmune disorders — “I live a healthy life and try to eat as plant based as possible and drink sea moss smoothies. With all the stress in life, I try to make sure I take time for myself so that I am centered and keep my stress to a minimum,” she explained.

  • Ted Danson

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (16)

    On a 2018 episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Ted Danson opened up about living with psoriatic arthritis. The actor told Shepard he had been living with the disorder for about 15 years, “which is no fun because it does mess up your joints.”

    Although he experiences chronic back and hip pain, Danson said he’s mostly able to manage it with meditation, breathing exercises, and diet. “By and large I don’t eat wheats or grasses of any kind,” the actor explained, adding that he implements a lot of “healthy good fish” and vegetables in his diet.

    Danson also shared, “It’s a little strange to have this autoimmune disease and also be 70, because you never know: Is this what a healthy 70-year-old feels like … or is this your autoimmune disease?”

  • Ashton Kutcher

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (17)

    “Like two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis,” Ashton Kutcher revealed on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge. “[It] knocked out my vision, knocked out my hearing, knocked out like all my equilibrium. It took me like a year to build it all back up.”

    “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone,” the actor continued. “Until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to see again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to walk again.’”

    Vasculitis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the blood vessels, leading to inflammation and narrowing of veins, arteries, and small capillaries that can restrict or completely block blood flow.

  • Wendy Williams

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (18)

    Wendy Williams was diagnosed with Graves’ disease (a disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones) in 2018, and in 2021, she was forced to leave her talk show to focus on her health.

    An insider told PEOPLE in February 2022, “Wendy won’t be returning to the show for the rest of this season. Her healing is going slower than everyone had hoped. She continues to deal with a number of medical issues, including Graves’ disease, and she and her team are taking it one day at a time.”

    The Wendy Williams Show aired its final episode in June 2022, as Williams’ health issues were ongoing at that time.

  • Christina Applegate

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (19)

    Christina Applegate received her MS diagnosis in 2021 and went public with the news that same year. “It’s been a strange journey,” wrote the 51-year-old actress, “but I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition. It’s been a tough road.”

    Per Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary widely but can be disabling. Some patients experience numbness or weakness in their limbs and struggle to walk independently. This is the case for Applegate, who recently walked the SAG Awards red carpet with a mobility aid.

    Applegate also said it was her good friend Selma Blair who first told her to get tested for MS. Speaking to British Vogue earlier this year, the Dead to Me star remembered sitting in Blair’s living room a few years ago and telling her about a strange “tingling” sensation she felt in her feet.

    “[Selma] said, ‘You must get tested for MS.’ [Even my doctor doubted it] but there it was,” Applegate said. “In essence, because of her, I’m going to have a better quality of life.“

  • Gigi Hadid

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (20)

    Like Gina Rodriguez, Gigi Hadid has Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid disorder that can cause pain, fatigue, and weight gain. The supermodel first spoke publicly about her diagnosis in 2016. Sadly, Hadid later felt compelled to elaborate on her health issues because of body shamers, who were constantly critiquing her appearance.

    “For those of you so determined to come up w why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started [modeling] @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed w/Hashimoto’s disease,” she tweeted in 2018. “Those of u who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that.”

    “Over the last few years I’ve been properly medicated to help symptoms including those, as well as extreme fatigue, metabolism issues, body’s ability to retain heat, etc.,” added Hadid, now 28. “Although stress & excessive travel can also affect the body, I have always eaten the same, my body just handles it differently now that my health is better.”

    She also implored social media users to “have more empathy for others.” After all, it’s impossible to know the “whole story” about a person’s health and wellbeing by looking at them.

  • Lady Gaga

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (21)

    Little Monsters who’ve watched Lady Gaga’s 2017 documentary Five Foot Two will recall the Grammy-winning pop singer’s struggle with chronic pain as a result of fibromyalgia. According to Mayo Clinic, this autoimmune disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and problems with sleep and memory. It often begins after a physically or psychologically traumatic event.

    “In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia,” Gaga tweeted in 2017. “I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.”

    There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but certain treatments can help alleviate symptoms.

    “Thought ice helped #Fibromyalgia. I was wrong & making it worse. Warm/Heat is better,” Gaga advised in the replies. “Electric Heated Blanket, Infrared Sauna, Epsom Baths.”

  • Heather Rae El Moussa

    18 Celebrities Living With Autoimmune Disorders (22)

    The star ofThe Flipping El Moussas first mistook her Hashimoto’s symptoms for “mom brain,” she told Todayin a recent interview. “I remember saying to my assistant, ‘I feel like I’m dead,'” she recalled. “My brain was so tired. My body was so tired. I was exhausted all the time and no amount of sleep could make it better. Filming was absolutely brutal because I could barely get out of bed.”

    But when El Moussa’s milk supply changed after she gave birth to son Tristan with her husband Tarek El Moussa, she headed to the doctor’s office, where she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It was a shocking revelation, but El Moussa was able to start medication and is now “feeling much better,” she said.

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