5 Celebrities With Fibromyalgia

Working and Performing in Spite of the Pain

When someone famous goes public about having a chronic illness, it can have a major impact on awareness and possibly even research funding. Certainly, actor Michael J. Fox's advocacy has done amazing things for Parkinson's Disease.

So far, no celebrities have been as public a face for fibromyalgia, but we do have some people in the public eye who are living with this condition, just like us.

Also like us "normal" people, some of these celebs have continued to work, while others have returned after taking time away. We can only imagine how many people have had to leave a promising career before they became as famous as those who are on this list.

While it may seem impossible to some of us that anyone with fibromyalgia could maintain a movie career, or embark on a world tour to promote their new album, it's important to remember that each case is unique, both in its combination of symptoms and their severity.

1
Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga with her hand on her forehead and her eyes closed.
Lady Gaga is speaking out about living with fibromyalgia. Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Music sensation and actress Lady Gaga has long been outspoken about LGBTQIA rights, but in late 2016, she began speaking publicly about having fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and synovitis, which causes painful joint inflammation.

It remains to be seen whether she'll become an advocate for people with these conditions, but her highly public discussion of symptoms on forums such as Instagram is bound to raise awareness.

Soon after posting about her struggles with chronic pain, Gaga said she was "overwhelmed by the empathy, confessions & personal stories on chronic pain."

This comes after years of hiding her pain from the public and even her staff. She took some time off in 2013 to have hip surgery, but otherwise has kept recording music, touring, and acting.

2
Morgan Freeman

Getty Images
Getty Images

This beloved Oscar-winning actor, who seems to do the voice-over for just about everything, has been public about his fibromyalgia for several years. He said it developed after a 2008 car accident that left him with severe nerve damage in one arm.

During a 2012 interview, an Esquire Magazine columnist asked him about grimacing and clutching that arm.

"It's the fibromyalgia," he said. "Up and down the arm. That's where it gets so bad. Excruciating."

It doesn't seem to have slowed him down—he typically makes several movies per year as well as what must be a steady stream of voice projects. However, if you watch his films closely, you'll notice that he rarely moves his bad arm.

3
Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor sings into a microphone while wearing a priest-like costume.
Sinead O'Connor struggles with fibromyalgia and other illnesses. Al Pereira/Getty Images

The Irish singer-songwriter may be better known for ripping up a picture of the Pope during a Saturday Night Live appearance, but she has been vocal about having this condition.

She's also spoken about battling bipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from childhood abuse.

In 2003, she announced that she was retiring from music because she'd been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After a brief time away, however, she came back and began recording again.

4
Janeane Gorafalo

Comedian janeane Gorafalo smiles in front of a red-carpet backdrop.
Janeane Gorafalo manages to be funny in spite of the pain of fibromyalgia. Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images

With a wit that's often described as acerbic, stand-up comic, actress, writer, feminist, and political activist Janeane Garofalo is open about a lot of things. That includes her heath.

She spoken publicly about her fibromyalgia, as well as dealing with depression and problems with addiction. She also describes herself as a narcissist.

A look at Janeane's imdb.com page reveals that she's worked quite consistently for about thirty years.

5
Rosie Hamlin

The lead singer of the 1960s doo-wop band Rosie and the Originals says that even her epic battles with record companies pale beside her battle against fibromyalgia. She began having symptoms at just 15 years old, which is about the time her music career began as well.

As so often happened back in those days, she wasn't diagnosed for four decades. In a 2004 interview with Fibromyalgia Aware magazine, she said:

“The pain that I experienced [with fibromyalgia] is worse than breaking a leg or childbirth. I never knew there could be pain so intense and ongoing. I hope that my story will help other people that have it seek better treatment if they need it.”

Rosie continued performing on and off through the '90s, then said she was unable to continue due to her health and instead focused on painting.

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