Celebrity

14 Celebrities Who Live With Serious Chronic Illnesses

Most celebrities are rich, successful and beautiful, but they're far from perfect. Their wealth can buy them a lot of things, but health isn’t one of them. Just like regular people, celebrities also experience the occasional minor health scare and some even battle chronic disorders and diseases like lupus, endometriosis and HIV.

Even with access to some of the best doctors and treatments in the world, some famous entertainers and athletes continue to live with chronic illnesses that take a huge toll on their lives.

Here are 14 celebrities who suffer from serious chronic illnesses:

1. Charlie Sheen

Variety

Medical condition: HIV

The Two and a Half Men star revealed he was diagnosed with HIV in November 2015. He apparently got infected with the virus after engaging in only two instances of unprotected sex.

"I was always the guy that promoted it and said 'you’ve got to use condoms, this and that,' said Sheen in an interview with The Sun. "I was too drunk or too bored one night and here we are."

Other HIV positive celebrities include Basketball legend Magic Johnson and Who's the Boss star Danny Pintauro.

2. Toni Braxton  

Medical condition: Lupus

The Unbreak My Heart singer has openly spoken about her struggle with the autoimmune disease over the years. The battle hasn't been easy for Braxton, she's been hospitalized numerous times and some days she "can't balance it all."

"Pretty much when you have lupus you feel like you have the flu every day. But some days you get through it," the Grammy Award winner told Huffpost.

There are a surprising number of other celebrities who are also fighting lupus including Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Seal and Nick Cannon

3. Tom Hanks

Medical condition: Diabetes

The movie star got diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes circa 2013. He shared the news on The Late Show with David Letterman and confessed that he could've avoided it by having a better diet.

“I was heavy. You've seen me in movies, you know what I looked like," the actor said in another interview, "I was a total idiot."

He attempted to bring his elevated blood sugar numbers down but that would require him to go back to his lowest weight and he just found that to be impossible.

Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers fame, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Paula Deen, Sheri Sheppard, Delta Burke, Jay Cutler and Patti LaBelle also have diabetes.

4. Michael J. Fox

Medical condition: Parkinson's Disease

Fox is arguably the most popular celebrity battling a chronic illness. The Back to the Future actor was just 29 years old when he was diagnosed with the disease but it wasn't until 1998 that he broke the news of his ailment. He is a strong advocate of Parkinson's disease research and started the Michael J. fox Foundation to raise awareness for it.

Creator of the Peanut comics Charles M. Schulz and Muhammed Ali were both diagnosed with Parkinson's disease prior to their deaths.

5. Lena Dunham

Rolling Stone

Medical condition: Endometriosis

The star of the hit show Girls penned an open letter in 2015 addressing her every day struggle with endometriosis. The condition occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows in other areas like the ovaries and major organs. It creates debilitating pain and oftentimes requires surgery to correct. After undergoing five operations, the actress and author may be free of the disease, but it could impact her fertility.

Other famous women with endometriosis are Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Dolly Parton, Padma Lakshmi, Jillian Michaels, Tia Mowry, Halsey and Julianne Hough.

Click on the next page for more celebrities with severe medical conditions including Cher.

6. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Medical condition: Celiac Disease

The View co-host has lived with symptoms of celiac disease for over a decade before being correctly diagnosed with the condition. It wasn't until 2003 that she adopted a gluten-free diet and she even published a book, The G-Free Diet, to help others in the same position as her.

Chelsea Clinton, Victoria Beckham, Drew Brees, Zooey Deschanel, Jessica Simpson, Rachel Weisz, Ryan Phillippe and Emmy Rossum are some more celebrities who live with celiac disease.

7. Montel Williams

Medical condition: Multiple Sclerosis

The Emmy-winning TV personality has candidly spoken about his fight against MS since he was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago. He talked about the crippling neurological disease on his show, but no one truly understood how much pain he was experiencing. He taped multiple episodes of his show while dealing with intense pain.

"[I would] let it go, refocus, come back out and sit down, and do another interview with a person," he says. "I was doing that every day.

He has been managing his pain through physician recommended cannabis and founded Lenitiv Scientific to ensure that people suffering from MS can have access to the medicine they need to curb the pain.

8. Bill Clinton

Medical Condition: Heart Disease

The former President of the United States has been battling heart problems for years. Stress and poor lifestyle choices have caused him to experience blocked arteries and had to undergo an emergency quadruple coronary bypass surgery in 2004.

With a new lease on life, the 42nd president has since adopted a vegan diet with the exception of eating salmon once a week.

“The vegan diet is what I like the best,” he said. "I have more energy. I never clog. For me, the no dairy thing, because I had an allergy, has really helped a lot. And I feel good.”

Rosie O'Donnell, Barbara Walters, Bret Michaels, Star Jones, David Letterman, Regis Philbin, Miley Cyrus, Jennie Garth and Alex Trebek all have some form of a heart disease.

9. Cher

Billboard

Medical Condition: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Isn't that a mouthful to pronounce! Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a degenerative neuro-immune disease that causes chronic fatigue. Cher was diagnosed with the condition in 1992 after she constantly complained of having low energy levels. She took a break from performing for 3 years to manage the hard-to-treat condition.

Stevie Nicks is another well-known figure who suffers from chronic fatigue.

10. Lil Wayne

Medical Condition: Epilepsy

In March 2013, the rapper suffered three seizures in a row and had to be hospitalized. The media speculated that his excessive use of a cough syrup-based drink called "sizzurp" was the cause of his ailment. However, Lil Wayne later confirmed on Power 106 radio that he suffers from epilepsy and he’s been experiencing seizures often but “y’all just never hear about it.”

Danny Glover, Susan Boyle, Neil Young and Prince have all suffered from epilepsy throughout their lives.

Check out more celebrities battling chronic illnesses including Pamela Anderson on the next page.

11. Pamela Anderson

Medical Condition: Hepatitis C

The former Baywatch babe has lived with Hepatitis for two decades. She started an FDA-approved drug regimen a few years ago and it has supposedly cured her of the disease. Anderson has also been following a vegan lifestyle and exercises often to make sure the disease doesn't win.

Gregg Allman and Naomi Judd also live with Hepatitis C.

12. Kim Kardashian

Medical Condition: Psoriasis

The reality star may appear to have flawless skin every time she's spotted in front of the camera, but the reality is she puts in a lot of hard work to keep it that way. She's been battling Psoriasis her whole life and has experienced some severely painful flare ups. She tries to keep stress to a minimum and eats a balanced diet to prevent breakouts from occurring.

LeAnn Rimes, Stacy London and Art Garfunkel also struggle with psoriasis.

13. Missy Elliott

Medical Condition: Graves' Disease

The singer was first diagnosed with the immune system disorder in 2008 after she lost a large amount of weight. Graves' disease is caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormones and symptoms include extreme weight loss and heart palpitations. "It causes hair loss, your eyes bulge,” Elliott explained to Billboard. “My blood pressure was always up from just overworking.”

Sofia Vergara, Kim Cattrall, Oprah Winfrey, Jillian Michaels, Brooke Burke, Roger Ebert and Kelly Osbourne are a few other celebrities who have been diagnosed with Graves' disease.

14. Shannen Doherty

Medical Condition: Crohn's Disease

Her breast cancer made headlines over the last year, but Shannen Doherty also suffers from another silent condition, Crohn's disease. The disease occurs when the body mistakes food and its own microbes for foreign bodies and attacks the immune system which results in the release of inflammation-causing white blood cells. The Beverly Hills 90210 actress has been dealing with this illness since childhood and has been very outspoken about the struggle.

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam is another popular celebrity who suffers from Crohn's disease.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.