There is no question that with the blessings of fame come many burdens and chronic illness don’t just affect average folks like you and me, they affect the rich and famous as well. I thought I would share with you some of those famous persons that have been afflicted with chronic illness and/or autoimmune disease.
Desperate Housewives star, Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp), suffers from painful migraines that go back to her teen years. She is one of the 28 million Americans who suffer from painful migraines and anything can trigger these headaches, whether it is the weather or a stressful day.
Elizabeth Taylor was born with scoliosis which causes an unnatural curvature of the spine and as a result; she has suffered from back pain for years. Moreover, she has been addicted to pain medications, alcohol and sleeping pills. One out of every three people has some form of scoliosis.
Susan Flannery, who played Stephanie Forester on the Bold and the Beautiful, took a leave of absence due to severe fibromyalgia flare-ups in 2007. Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
Actress and Comedian Lucille Ball had rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 17 but it did not keep her from pursuing her dreams. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.
The famous French painter Renoir also battled rheumatoid arthritis for nearly three decades of his life. His first attack happened in 1898 and his joints became severally deformed. By 1910, he was confined to a wheelchair and his deformed hands looked like bird claws. Despite this, he continued to paint and produced some great masterpieces.
Bernie Mac lost his battle with sarcoidosis in 2008. Sarcoidosis is a mysterious and sometimes devastating immune system disorder that causes cells to cluster and damage organs throughout the body. He had been battling the disease since 1983 but it did not stop him for nearly 25 years.
Mary McDonough, the actress who played Erin on the Waltons suffers from Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and Sjogren’s. Lupus is a chronic disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to become hyperactive and attack the body’s own tissue and organs. At least 1.4 million Americans have Lupus, 90% of who are women. Even though she had served as the spokeswoman for Lupus in the late 70s, McDonough was not diagnosed with lupus until 1994. In addition to Lupus, Mary has Fibromyalgia (painful muscles) and Sjogrens Symptom (a collagen disorder causing dry mouth, eyes or skin).
Rob Thomas’ wife Marisol also has lupus. The song “Her diamonds” was written by Rob to explain the difficulties that his wife has endured struggling with lupus and his inability to try to understand her struggles with the disease.
For a complete list of celebrities and other famous people who have been affected by autoimmune disease or chronic illness, visit the WEGO Health website.