Faces of Famous People with Fibromyalgia

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 in Emilys Thoughts, Featured | 21 comments

Faces of Famous People with Fibromyalgia

Recently Esquire.com shared an interview with Morgan Freeman entitled “This Earth that Holds Me Fast Will Find Me Breath.”  In this interview (on the second page), Morgan Freeman talks about having Fibromyalgia and the excruciating pain he has in his arm.  For Mr. Freeman, this started after a car accident about four years ago.  Despite the pain, he makes the best of the situation and even plays golf with one hand

 

Personally, I was touched to hear of such a well-known actor having the courage to come forward and talk about his experience with Fibromyalgia and impressed that he has been able to keep Fibromyalgia from taking over his life.

After reading this article, I started thinking.  Why haven’t I ever heard of any other famous people with Fibromyalgia?  I kind of remember someone telling me an actress named Janeane Garofalo has Fibromyalgia, but I’m not even sure if this is true.  But I vow I will find out, before I’m done writing this post!

I suspect that the reason we aren’t hearing about it is because it’s not a “cool” illness to have. When I say “cool illness to have,” I mean one that everyone recognizes as being a devastating disease that doesn’t have so much controversy surrounding it. We are still dealing with people in the medical profession who don’t believe it really exists, much less having all of society with a strong understanding and level of compassion for people with Fibromyalgia.

 

My other thought, in terms of why so few famous celebrity people have talked about having Fibromyalgia, is simply that they are like so many of us with Fibromyalgia.  We put on a happy face and keep trying and don’t let people know how much pain we are really in. I went through years of not sharing how bad it really was, hiding at home when the pain was visible through my face or the way I was walking. This theory of course is based on a presumption that famous people are *choke, gasp* real people, you know like actually part of the human race.

 

As a result of learning about Morgan Freeman and realizing I haven’t heard of many people with Fibromyalgia, finding more famous people with Fibromyalgia has become my current obsession.

I’ve started scouring the internet for famous people with Fibromyalgia and I’m surprised at what I’ve found.  Despite the fact that Fibromyalgia affects millions of people throughout the world, there are only a handful of famous celebrity people who have shared that they are actually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and some of them I would never have guessed that they have it.  Fibro is truly an “invisible disease” in so many ways.  We could really use a truly famous spokesperson (like Morgan Freeman-HINT HINT).

Here’s my list of Famous People with Fibromyalgia

Faces of Famous People with Fibromyalgia

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman – American Actor from many movies including Shawshank Redemption.

 

Sinead OConner

Sinead O’Conner – Irish Singer and activist, most famous for her song “Nothing Compares 2 U”

 

Susan Flannery

Susan Flannery – American actress on a soap opera called “Bold and the Beautiful.”

 

A.J. Langer

A.J. Langer – American Actress best known for her role on “My So-Called Life”
Francis Winfield Bremmer

Francis Winfield Bremer –American Author and wife of an Ambassador

 

Mary Mcdonough
Mary McDonough
–American Actress best known for part of Erin Walton on “The Waltons”

 

Michael James Hastings

Michael James Hastings – American actor, best known for playing ‘Captain Mike’ on West Wing

 

Jo Guest

Jo Guest – Former English Model, media figure, and advice columnist.

 

Rosie Hamlin


Rosie Hamlin
– Lead singer for the band “Rosie and the Originals” in the 1960’s

Janeane Garofalo

And last but certainly not least, American comedienne and actress, Janeane Garofalo, best known for West Wing and Saturday Night Live (SNL), has Fibromyalgia too.

Here are some that I’m not entirely sure I believe or even if it can be proven, but thought I’d add them here as well. I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out!

Might Have Had Fibromyalgia-But How Can We Know For Sure?

Job

Job (as in Job from the Book of Job in the Bible)

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (famous English nurse in the 1800’s)

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin (English Naturalist from the 19th Century best known for his theory of natural selection aka “Survival of the Fittest”)

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (Mexican painter who died in the 1950’s)

Rumored to Have Fibromyalgia, But No Proof to be Found

Oh and, here are two other famous people who are rumored to have Fibromyalgia, but I was unable to find any confirmation of it, so I just don’t know for sure.   I find it interesting that both of them have had careers in dance.

Paula Abdul

American singer, dancer, and former judge on American Idol.
Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul

All I could find is a diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a progressive disease of the nervous system affecting one or more of the extremities and causing pain and constriction.  It sounds similar to Fibromyalgia, but not exactly the same thing.
Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen
American dancer, choreographer, and judge on So You Think You Can Dance.
I found multiple posts from people saying she has Fibromyalgia,  if she has it, she hasn’t released it to the press yet. She is pretty outspoken about heart disease though, so I believe she does NOT have Fibro.
Conclusion:
Honestly, I don’t really know why there are so few famous people who have publicly stated they have Fibromyalgia.  I suspect many more of them have Fibromyalgia than we could even begin to guess.

Why do you think there are so few famous people who have talked about having Fibromyalgia?

AND

Do you know of any other famous people that I should be adding to this list?





References:

These references include links to pages that state somewhere in them that the people in the lists I’ve compiled above have actually confirmed that they have Fibromyalgia.  The pages are in alphabetical order based on the Company Name or Website Name.

All pictures have come from Wiki Commons or other commons areas. In other words, I did not take the pictures of the celebrities and I do not have a copyright on them. If I have accidently used a picture that was not intended to be in the creative commons, please let me know and I will either put credit on it or remove it, your choice if you own the picture!

Esquire.com, “This Earth that Holds Me Fast Will Find Me Breath.” http://www.esquire.com/features/morgan-freeman-interview-0812-2

Fibromyalgia-information-relief.com, “Famous Fibromyalgia People: from Job to the Bold and the Beautiful.” http://www.fibromyalgia-information-relief.com/fibromyalgia-people.html

Healthline, “Famous Faces of Fibromyalgia.”  http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/celebrities-fibromyalgia#1

Life with FMS, “Celebrities with Fibromyalgia” http://www.livinglifewithfms.com/2012/04/celebrities-with-fibromyalgia.html

National Fibromyalgia Association “The Broken Column.” http://www.fmaware.org/News29c4a.html?page=NewsArticle&id=7289

New York Post (found on YouTube) “Janeane Garofalo Dishes on Drugs.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qna1Derz-nY

Smashing Interviews Magazine “Mary McDonough Interview: ‘The Waltons’ Star Pens memoire: ‘Lessons From the Mountain’.”  http://smashinginterviews.com/interviews/authors/mary-mcdonough-interview-the-waltons-star-pens-memoir-lessons-from-the-mountain

Third Age.com, “5 Celebrities with Fibromyalgia.” http://www.thirdage.com/fibromyalgia/celebrities-with-fibromyalgia

Hello Fibro Friends. My name is Emily. I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have me, at least not anymore! After coping with the chronic pain and other difficult symptoms of Fibromyalgia for more than a decade, I have learned wonderful ways to improve my quality of life and find inspiration in the world around me. My purpose in life is to increase Fibromyalgia awareness and understanding, while helping others reach an Inspired Life! I love teaching others how to not only cope with Fibromyalgia, but to actually excel at living an abundant, healthy, and inspired lifestyle.

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21 Comments

  1. Wow, what an inspired post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it & I must admit I had no idea that Morgan Freeman came out with “Fibromyalgia”.

    You’re right! I agree that many don’t tell people about it because we try to give the impression that we are pushing through it. I recently saw the “Codral” advert on TV and it reminded me that it summarises the main attitude of our culture. Just soldier on, pop some pills or drinks & pretend like nothing’s wrong and just keep being busy!

    We can’t blame the celebrities per say, if we ourselves with Fibro, hide behind curtains. After all, they are people too. Perhaps if we get better at speaking about it, so will they.

    I’m not too sure that Job had fibromyalgia. It is possible but he definitely had leprosy. I had heard about Florence Nightingale though, the rest of the list was news to me!

    Please check out my blog @ http://fmsfaith.blogspot.com.au/

  2. This is my first visit to your blog. Delighted with cool info you’ve shared about celebs & FM. I’m not sure I would have put the two together myself, but you’re so right! I wonder why there’s so little talk about it. You’re probably right though. I only tell close friends/family. Typically people feel really badly for me, or want to fix it (human nature, right?) and it’s much easier to remain silent. For me anyway. I’ve managed to create a pretty unique work/lifestyle. Most people see it as luxury, when truly I set it up this way so that I could be productive on good days & rest when I need it.
    Like I said before, really glad to be here! Thanks for this post.

  3. I LOVE that you’ve managed to setup a work/lifestyle that allows you to do what you want while coping with the FM stuff that can’t always be controlled. You are an inspiration!

  4. Is the Codral ad the one with the family in the kitchen with the sick mom and the guy talking about being too busy to be sick?

    Anyway, you’re right our society has a very strong message to people who are sick or ill that they should be able to just keep going with the help of pills if needed, but it doesn’t work like that for very long especially with Fibro.

  5. Thanks for a good post.

    When I was diagnozed with FM 3 yrs ago, it was a relief and I could finally provide an ANSWER to all people wondering “what is wrong with you?” I’m very open about this syndrome because it has left me with a big physical disability to care for my children, my household, my life and my family.

    Keep this work up! Society needs to understand and research needs to be done!
    Pernilla, Stockholm, Sweden. shfar96hep03@hotmail.com

  6. This is my first visit to your blog and I just love it! I’m going to add it to my reading list for sure!

    I wanted to add that I’m currently reading a very interesting book entitled “All the Women of the Bible”. Mary Magdalene’s story is particularly interesting since there is documentation that she has “the symptoms of illness that had no cause any doctor could find”. It goes further to explain migraines, IBS, and “her skin seemed to hurt”.

    I just started reading the book and I am skipping to my particular favorites, but there is a lot of documentation about Fibromyalgia– even in the Bible. Hopefully these findings will allow some newly diagnosed to find comfort, as well as, have doctors find a cure. And let’s call a spade, a spade– if people WAY back in Bible times had it, and we can pass this beast onto our children– it’s a DISEASE!

    Okay… backing away from the soap box… LOL!

  7. I’m glad you visited and I really do hope you come back again! I have do believe Fibromyalgia has been around far longer than our society wants to admit, it’s just the name that’s new and the huge numbers of people suffering with it. I’ve always thought of it as more of a disease, but since the medical professions is only finally starting to recognize it as a syndrome and illness, I stick with those terms.

  8. Great list, I have never seen such a large list. I thought it was definate that Frida had Fibro. Also I was a dancer too and often wonder if the pain I have is anything to do with it (I have 2 other pain diseases as well as fibro)

  9. Thanks for being so supportive! I agree society needs to understand more and more research needs to be done! I love meeting other people who are open about having Fibromyalgia!

  10. I’ve wondered whether dance had anything to do with it too. I’m glad you liked the list! I spent a lot of time researching, but couldn’t find anything 100% definite on Frida having it, but Frida certainly had a lot of the symptoms.

  11. They want to work. When people hear I suffer from numerous nerve pain conditions they remark on how great I look and where does my energy come from. When they’re working on a movie they have to be insured. And as many of us know once insurance companies see pain and depression they won’t cover you privately.

  12. That’s a great point and that is probably a major reason why the famous people with Fibromyalgia don’t come forward more often.

  13. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND SPREADING AWARENESS. WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER. LOVELY SITE…
    I LIVE WITH FMS, CFS AND MORE AND WE NEED TO STICK TOGETHER

  14. IN ORDER TO CHANGE YOU HAVE TO EXCEPT WHAT YOU CAN DO, NOT WHAT YOU CAN NO LONGER DO. NEW THINGS START TO BECOME IMPORTANT TO YOU AND FILL YOU WITH JOY. TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD IT MAY SEEM STRANGE. ALL THEY SEE IS WHAT YOU ARE GIVING UP, WHAT IS NO LONGER YOU AND WHAT THEY CAN NO LONGER RECOGNIZE. INSTEAD OF GETTING TO KNOW THIS EVOLVED VERSION OF YOU THEY THINK YOU GAVE UP. ALL YOU GAVE UP ON IS TRYING TO DO WHAT IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE AND INSTEAD SUCCEEDING AT WHAT IS. THEY MAY NO T AGREE WITH YOUR CHOICES AND MAY NOT UNDERSTAND. PAIN IS PERCEIVED DIFFERENTLY FROM ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER. CRIMSON VOICE
    THIS AN EXERT FROM MY MANY POSTS. WE NEED TO BE HEARD.

  15. There is an author who resides in Virginia that has Fibromyalgia. Her name escapes me right now, but her book about a horse was recently made into a movie. Can’t remember the name of it either. I do know that she came out publically about her illness.

  16. Hi great writing and info, I have been in a flare etc last couple years after being in remission so to speak. I think celebs don’t want people/fans/patients to know as it could jade their opportunities should people hiring or ? be uninformed or fearful of person with fibro not being able to fulfill obligations.

    • Yes, the stigmas attached with Fibro could potentially jade opportunities or cause people to be concerned about their abilities. Still, I wish a few more people would come forward and help smash the stigmas entirely!

  17. Perhaps the reason celebrities hide their fibromyalgia is because they don’t want to lose credibility or their fan base due to people thinking they’re whacked out because “there’s no such thing as fibromyalgia.” There’s still a stigma associated with FMS. Also, celebrities might think they’ll lose job opportunities if the people who hire them assume they’re too disabled to perform to spec. Just a thought.

    • Those are some great points! I think you’re right about it being in large part due to the stigmas that are unfortunately still attached to having FIbromyalgia

  18. This is my third comment today. Who would have thought that “coming out” with fibro is as difficult as coming out. I agree wholeheartedly that if we had a famous spokesperson that it would change things for all of us.

    • Right? It’s interesting how much of a social stigma is still attached to Fibro, but at least some people are starting to talk about having it and in time I suspect more and more famous people will come forward and talk about their experiences.

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