Top 10 Celebrities with Easy to Miss Illnesses


Celebrities like to project a sanitized image and so we often don’t realize that they suffer from problems that many of us common folk face. And, although they have the money and connections to get the best medical treatment possible, they still sometimes struggle to get a proper diagnosis or treatment. The reason for this is that there are some problems that, for whatever reason, doctors just struggle to diagnose properly even with modern medical science on their side.

 10. Nick Cannon

The affliction: Pulmonary Embolism.

Last year Nick Cannon, husband of pop star Mariah Carey, had to step down from his radio show and head to the hospital due to complications involving a blood clot. It turns out that he had something many doctors fail to notice, and that many haven’t heard of called a pulmonary embolism. This condition is a blood clot in the lungs and can be extremely deadly, and doctors are often negligent in finding it. Luckily for Nick, the doctor found the problem quickly and prescribed bed rest as part of a regiment to help him recover.

9. Rick Perry

The affliction: Sleep Apnea.

Rick Perry became well known nationwide last year due to running for president and coming across as a total goofball and a complete bigot. He couldn’t remember what government programs he wanted to cut, and some speculated that he was actually drunk. After trying desperately to figure out what was wrong with their candidate, his campaign staff realized he was hardly sleeping, and had the doctors look at him. They found that Rick Perry was suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes abnormal breathing during sleep, which is extremely disruptive to the sleep cycle. Most people have no idea they even have a problem, they just end up fatigued during the day, and doctors rarely find it unless looking for it specifically.

8. John Ritter.

The affliction: Aortic Dissection.

John Ritter is well known for being one of the greatest comedians ever, the star of Three’s Company, and an actor who was taken from us way too early. He died in his fifties while working due to an aortic dissection, which the doctors sadly misdiagnosed as a heart attack. An aortic dissection is caused by a tear in the inner wall of the aorta, allowing blood to flow between the layers, which forces the walls apart and is a very serious medical emergency. Unfortunately, doctors simply miss this one a lot, and think that it is a stroke instead.

7. Jimmy Kimmel.

The affliction: Narcolepsy.

Jimmy Kimmel is famous for being a TV comedian that no one finds particularly funny, though we do respect him for trying. Kimmel states that he used to try to self medicate his problems by drinking a ridiculous amount of iced tea, but when his doctor found out, he was alarmed at the amount of caffeine Kimmel was guzzling and prescribed pills. Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder, and many people are not lucky enough like Kimmel to get a proper diagnosis. Often doctors diagnose it as insomnia, depression, schizophrenia or even a thyroid disorder.

6. Sinead O’Connor.

The affliction: Fibromyalgia.

Sinead O’Connor is a talented Irish singer-songwriter, also known for being fairly controversial. Among the controversy is the fact that as a woman she has been ordained a priest, which is considered completely invalid by the Roman Catholic Church. She had admitted to having fibromyalgia, a condition that affects around five million adults, mostly women. Fibromyalgia is often characterized by having a foggy memory, all sorts of tender areas on the body and lots of chronic pain. Unfortunately this condition has many other symptoms that can appear to be  other problems, and so it often goes undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. Sometimes with early diagnosis and treatment people can live fairly normal lives, however, in Sinead’s case, it led to a temporary retirement.

5. Jennifer Esposito.

The affliction: Celiac Disease.

Jennifer Esposito is known for being in movies such as Crash and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as TV shows like Spin City and Blue Bloods. Recently, she discovered that she had Celiac Disease and has become an advocate for it. To say that Celiac Disease is often misdiagnosed is an understatement. According to Esposito, the average diagnosis takes about eight years and for her it took twenty. Nearly one in one hundred and fifty American people have Celiac Disease, and it is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms can also be caused by other diseases. Those who are afflicted are generally fine if they don’t eat gluten, but they often deal with the symptoms for years before realizing they need to cut gluten from their diet.

4. Alec Baldwin.

The affliction: Lyme Disease.

Alec Baldwin, the aging star of 30 Rock who sometimes throws fits on airplanes because he’s told to stop playing Words with Friends, apparently is a chronic sufferer of lyme disease. He doesn’t talk much about the ailment, but did star in a movie called Lymelife, possibly to raise awareness about the disease. Lyme Disease is caused by bites from certain ticks, and is a fairly common problem, with over one hundred and fifty thousand cases since 1982. If the disease isn’t caught quickly enough it can often lead to chronic suffering, but unfortunately doctors are notoriously bad at finding the disease early, and much more research needs to be done in regard to early detection.

3. Oprah Winfrey.

The affliction: Hypothyroidism.

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t really need an introduction. When she isn’t giving everyone a car, she is busy being richer than God and more influential than just about anyone in entertainment, at least when it comes to bored housewives. On her show, she admitted that she had gone to the doctor after feeling tired and looking ill and had discovered that she had serious thyroid problems. This could also be the cause of her sometimes yo-yoing weight, as thyroid issues make it very difficult for people to maintain a stable weight. While hypothyroidism is incredibly common, it is believed that nearly half of the people who are afflicted with this don’t get a proper diagnosis. Part of the reason for lack of a proper diagnosis is that the symptoms often appear over a very long period of time, making early, or any detection difficult.

2. Justin Timberlake.

The affliction: ADD

When Justin Timberlake isn’t busy bringing sexy back, he is actually struggling to deal with ADD and OCD at the same time, and has been fairly angsty when talking about his disorder. While many people, just like Timberlake, can survive with ADD and perform quite well, it is an often misdiagnosed problem, and is easily one of the most over-diagnosed issues that exist. In fact some experts believe that incorrect diagnosis of ADD and the ensuing medication can lead to problem behaviors in youths, meaning that the common misdiagnosis of ADD can actually be quite harmful. It is likely that Timberlake really does have ADD, but unfortunately many kids diagnosed with it actually don’t have the disorder at all.

1. Stephen Fry.

The affliction: Depression.

Stephen Fry is one of the funniest men in comedy, delighting us over the years with his performances and generally being an amazing actor with excellent wit and charm. However, he has also long been a sufferer of depression and has admitted to being close to attempting suicide before. Unfortunately, going without proper treatment or diagnosis for depression, sometimes until it has reached such a dangerous point is fairly common. Worse, however, is that depression has become an alarmingly common diagnosis for all kinds of other problems and is often being prescribed to people who do not actually have a chemical imbalance in their brain, but are simply unhappy with their lives. Perhaps with better knowledge of this disorder, we can treat people properly and avoid misdiagnosis.

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  1. Wow, Sinead O’Connor looks so different nowadays than she did when her Prince-penned song was on the Billboard charts.

  2. I know that several celebrities also have multiple sclerosis and I just admire the snot out of them. It forced me into retirement in 2008 and I am sadly certain that they will leave the public eye soon as well. But for now, they have my unwavering respect. I won’t name them because I’m not sure they have told anyone except those of us in the MS network.

  3. BiPolar biatch on

    Stephen fry is BIPOLAR! which is twice as bad as depression. He has even made a documentary about it. Get. Your. Facts. Right.

    And too many self diagnose depression when just sad. sometimes people need to suck it up.

    • What really sucks is that bipolar disorder can be wrongfully diagnosed and, I’m sorry to say, it carries a stigma with it that is hard to overcome. I have depression, but not bipolar, tho I’ve been tested for it. I was upset to find out how many people think that depression is a choice and those who suffer from it are lazy, stupid, make poor choices, cause it themselves, just a bad attitude, etc., etc.. And these are things I heard from otherwise empathetic, kind people who are normally empathetic. The stigma is so strong that, after searching fifteen years for help, I not only have no had any successful help, but I’ve alienated and lost the respect of a lot of people, well-intentioned people, who are ignorant and in denial about the existence of the disorder. This is why I look forward to the day I die, though my death will not be at my own hands. Never give up hope, no matter how unlikely it is that things will change for the better some day.