Many celebrities have spoken out about their Lyme disease diagnoses over the years, and because the disease can be easily misdiagnosed, many have had to fight to be believed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks and caused by four types of bacteria in the United States, Europe and Asia. In fact, it is the most common tick-borne disease in those regions. Early symptoms include a bull’s-eye rash, fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes. If the disease is left untreated, symptoms progress to severe joint pain and neurological problems such as meningitis and Bell’s palsy.
Justin Bieber told fans about his diagnosis in January 2020, and his wife, Hailey Bieber, came to his defense the same day. “For those trying to downplay the seriousness of Lyme disease, please do your research and listen to the stories of people who have suffered from it for years,” she wrote. “Mocking and belittling a disease you don’t understand is never the right thing to do. All you need is to educate yourself.”
Almost three years earlier, Kelly Osbourne described in a memoir how she advocated for her health and sought out an alternative medicine practitioner who believed her. “I had started entering my symptoms into online quizzes, and the results kept coming back to Lyme disease,” she explained. “For the first time, someone listened to me and I was tested. The results were positive: I had stage III neurological Lyme disease. … I have learned to advocate for myself when it comes to my health, and I trust my intuition. If I think something is wrong, I don’t let anyone overrule it. And unfortunately I stay far away from reindeer.’
Yolanda Hadid also wrote a book about her battle with the disease, 2017 Believe me: my battle with the invisible disability of Lyme disease. “I honestly don’t have the right words in my vocabulary to describe the darkness, the pain and the unknown hell I’ve been living in for the past few years,” she said in a speech in 2015. “I haven’t actually lived. I simply existed in the prison of my own paralyzed brain. This disease has brought me to my knees. Many nights I wish to die. I pray I just wash away to heaven where there will be no pain.”
Scroll down to read more about the sagas of these celebrities and those of other Hollywood stars who have battled the disease.