It is believed that as many as one in every 20 people in the United States have fibromyalgia. This means that many people in Hollywood are likely affected by the pain disorder, although few reveal that they suffer from the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). This is likely due to a certain stigma which makes celebrities fear loss of work opportunities if they reveal their condition.
Because fibromyalgia is so difficult to pinpoint or relate to specific causes, many celebrities may simply not be aware that they have the condition. This is true of other Americans, so believing the same lack of awareness by afflicted Hollywood personalities makes sense.
Some celebrities have stepped forward and admitted they suffer FMS. This is helpful to non-celebrities, as it provides an iconic figure to relate to with the same syndrome from which others may suffer. Celebrity ownership of their ailment also helps raise awareness and funding for research into the little-understood health condition.
In retrospect, there are many deceased people who were well known that scientists now suspect suffered from fibromyalgia. One of those is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Another is English nurse, Florence Nightingale.
Below are 10 celebrities who have fibromyalgia and have made their condition public:
Morgan Freeman, American Actor, Director and Narrator
Morgan Freeman has enjoyed an exceptionally successful film acting career. His movies include The Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy. He narrated the extremely popular documentary about penguins, called March of the Penguins. Freeman admitted his condition of FMS in an interview with Esquire magazine in 2012.
Janeane Garofalo, American Actress and Comedian
Janeane Garofalo became very popular in the mid-1990’s in the cult classic film Reality Bites. From there, she became a regular on television, in film and on the comedy circuit. She frequently provides voice work for animated films, as well. Her outspoken nature and dark wit have combined to create a long list of work credits throughout the media industry. When a doctor prescribed an antidepressant to treat her fibromyalgia, she reportedly was very pleased with the uplifting effect. She is quoted as saying, “I had no idea I was chronically dissatisfied.”
Frances Winfield Bremer, American Author
Ms. Bremer is Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, III’s wife. In 2003, her husband was appointed the Presidential Envoy to Iraq. She was designated as a spokeswoman for the National Fibromyalgia Association in 2007. She has made many appearances around the world, accompanied by her husband, as an advocate for fibromyalgia.
Susan Flannery, American Soap Opera Actress
Susan Flannery is best recognized in one of her recurring roles, as an original and current character on The Bold and the Beautiful, an American soap opera. She had to take medical leave from her soap opera role in 2007. This made headlines, as she temporarily left to treat her fibromyalgia.
Sinead O’Connor, Irish Singer and Songwriter
Sinead O’Connor first became globally famous in 1987 with her debut album entitled, “The Lion and the Cobra.” That release led to a gold record and Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Female. She had a controversial moment in the mid-1990’s on Saturday Night Live, wherein she tore up an image of the Pope. In 2003, she exposed her diagnosis of fibromyalgia and put her career on hold. After regaining strength and getting to know how to handle her FMS, O’Connor returned to an active and thriving singing career.
Jo Guest, English TV Host and Actress
Jo Guest began modeling at a young age, then appearing in a multitude of adult magazines. In an appearance on a British morning TV show called This Morning in January 2008, she revealed she had an unknown illness which left her unable to work. The illness remained a mystery until three months later, when she returned to This Morning and reported her diagnosis of fibromyalgia as a direct result of her earlier appearance on the show. Viewers with fibromyalgia had seen her appearance and pointed her in the direction of her final FMS determination by her doctors.
Rosie Hamlin, American Singer for Rosie and the Originals
A 1960s lead singer for the band bearing her first name, Rosie Hamlin is most known for her song “Angie Baby.” During an interview with Life magazine in 1969, John Lennon called her one of his favorite singers. Rosie discussed her ongoing battle with FMS on the cover of Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine in 2004.
Michael James Hastings, American Television Actor
Michael James Hastings is best known for his recurring role on television’s The West Wing, on which he played Captain Mike. Michael is a passionate speaker and advocate for FMS. He has his own website dedicated to providing information about fibromyalgia and fighting the syndrome. Hastings was featured in a 2013 article by television’s Dr. Oz, about men with FMS. The actor is now working on a fibromyalgia-related film.
A.J. Langer, American Television Actress
A.J. Langer was a key player on a cult television program of the 1990s, called My So-Called Life. The television drama did not last long, but her role and others on the show became quite popular among teens worldwide. Langer developed symptoms of FMS as a child. But she was not diagnosed until her early 20s. The very first Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine issue cover featured the actress for its launch in 2002.
Mary McDonough, American Television Actress
Mary McDonough is best known as her character Erin Walton on the Emmy Award winning television show of the 1970s called The Waltons. Mary suffered from FMS pain, fatigue and other symptoms for over a decade before she was diagnosed with the syndrome. Like many others with fibromyalgia, McDonough suffers from co-disorders. Her two other illnesses are lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.