In recent weeks, multiple celebrities, including Bella Hadid and Riley Keough, have spoken up about their experiences with Lyme disease. The tick-borne illness impacts more than 476,000 people in the US every year, and it’s symptoms can be extremely debilitating.
While the disease isn’t yet acknowledged as a notifiable condition in Australia (due to Australian ticks not carrying the disease) this doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of Australians also suffering from the disease as well—but unfortunately, the disease is still largely misunderstood.
Below, nine celebrities you probably didn’t know had Lyme disease.
9 Celebrities With Lyme Disease
“I can carry children, but it felt like the best choice for what I had going on physically with the autoimmune stuff,” Keough told the publication in August, 2023.
Keough also revealed that she has been undergoing treatment to “try and see if I can alleviate it a bit. It’s a holistic treatment center and offers all kinds of things that you can’t really do in America yet, like cleaning your blood.”
Bella Hadid has been open about her struggles with Lyme disease since she acquired the illness as a teenager. Most recently, Hadid shared a vulnerable post on Instagram detailing her almost 15 year journey with the illness.
“Living in this state, worsening with time and work while trying to make myself, my family and the people who support me, proud, had taken a toll on me in ways I can’t really explain,” Bella wrote on Instagram, alongside a series of photographs of her with IV drips and undergoing medical treatment.
“I have so much gratitude for and perspective on life , this 100+ days of Lyme, chronic disease , co infection treatment, almost 15 years of invisible suffering, was all worth it if I’m able to, God willing, have a lifetime of spreading love from a full cup, and being able to truly be myself, for the first time ever.”
Bella’s mother, Yolanda Hadid, and brother, Anwar Hadid, have the disease as well.
Shania Twain first contracted Lyme disease in 2023 while horseback riding. The singer has spoken openly about the disease’s impact on her vocal cords, which eventually required two open-throat surgeries to allow her to sing again.
“My symptoms were quite scary because before I was diagnosed, I was on stage very dizzy. I was losing my balance, I was afraid I was gonna fall off the stage,” she shared in her Netflix documentary Shania Twain: Not Just A Girl. “I was having these very, very, very millisecond blackouts, but regularly, every minute or every 30 seconds,” and then she thought, “I’d lost my voice forever.”
Mark Ruffalo revealed he had Lyme disease in 2017, when he posted about it on Twitter. The Incredible Hulk star wrote, “Lyme disease sucks, I know.” When another Twitter user replied, “I’m finally treating my Lyme after more than a decade. It has altered my entire life,” Ruffalo commented, “Me too.”
Ruffalo has since released a documentary about Lyme disease titled The Quiet Epidemic. He’s described his experience with the disease as “brutal, persistent and misdiagnosed.
Avril Lavigne opened up about her experience with Lyme disease in a 2015 interview with People, when she revealed it kept her “bedridden for five months,” and sometimes not showering for weeks because she “could barely stand.”
The singer even started her own foundation for people suffering from serious illness and disabilities (with a focus on those with Lyme disease) in 2010.
Amy Schumer took to Instagram in 2020 with a update on her health.
“Anyone get LYME this summer? I got it and I’m on doxycycline,” Schumer wrote. “I have maybe had it for years. Any advice? Can you have a glass of wine or 2 on it? I feel good and am excited to get rid of it.”
Ben Stiller discussed his experience with Lyme disease during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.
“My knee became inflamed and they couldn’t figure out what it was, then they found out it was Lyme,” Stiller said. “I’m symptom-free now, but Lyme doesn’t ever leave your system. It’s a really tough thing.”
Justin Bieber revealed that he had Lyme disease via a now-deleted Instagram post, which read: “While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like sh*t, on meth etc. they failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health.”
“It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever.”
Since then, Bieber has been diagnosed with facial paralysis and Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which is linked to Lyme disease.
Kelly Osbourne contracted Lyme disease in 2004, when she was bitten by a tick at her dad’s outdoor birthday party. The illness lead to a decade-long suffering with sore throats, stomach-aches and seizures.
“The doctors kept changing my prescription, trying to get the dosage right, and it turned me into a zombie,” she wrote a book excerpt published in US Weekly. “You know in movies where a mental patient sits in a rocking chair in a cardigan and nightgown and stares at a wall all day? That was me.”
“I had started entering my symptoms into online quizzes, and the results kept coming back Lyme disease.
“I got tested. The results were positive: I had stage III neurological Lyme disease. I was relieved to finally know what was going on, but I was also scared s—tless.”