10 celebrities who have diabetes
After a decades-long battle with high blood sugar, Tom Hanks says he has officially been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. But he’s by no means the only celeb who has struggled with the disease. Here are 10 others
1. Halle Berry
It seemed to come out of nowhere: weakness, exhaustion and then a sudden urge to lie down. But it wasn’t until Halle Berry suddenly collapsed and slipped into a weeklong coma in 1989 that the Oscar-winning actress knew something was seriously wrong. Berry was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and, over the course of the last 20 years, has taken every opportunity to talk about her disease – even going so far as to controversially claim she had been cured by weaning herself off insulin in 2007. She now considers herself to be in the Type 2 diabetes bracket. Many experts speculate Berry is either confused or was simply misdiagnosed and had Type 2 diabetes all along.
2. Drew Carey
Comedian Drew Carey is another celebrity who claims to have cured his diabetes. After dropping 80 pounds in about six months with a low carb diet and lots of cardio exercise, the ‘Price is Right’ host says he stopped requiring medication to treat his Type 2 diabetes. “I’m not diabetic anymore,” he told People magazine after his dramatic weight-loss. “No medication needed.” Doctors say Carey is probably in remission and that his technique is by no means a cure for the disease.
3. Bobby Clarke
He’s known as the rugged leader of the Broadstreet Bullies, one of the most notorious teams in hockey history, but for most of his 15-season NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers, Bobby Clarke’s biggest battle was off the ice. The Canadian hockey legend was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age and, in spite of his obvious talent, needed doctors notes to prove he would be able to play in the NHL. Clarke went on to lead the Flyers to two Stanley Cups and was awarded the Hart Trophy as league MVP three times.
4. Larry King
Considering how long Larry King has been on the air, it’s surprising how little most people actually know about him. That’s because the broadcasting legend has, for the most part, kept his private life private – eight marriages aside. However, in an interview with Diabetes Forecast in 2009, King opened up about his battle with Type 2 diabetes. His diagnosis in 1998 came as a shock, since he had already quit smoking years earlier in a bid to live a healthier lifestyle. Now, dealing with the disease is simply part of his day-to-day life.
5. Salma Hayek
Best known for donning a fake unibrow in her Academy Award-winning portrayal of Frida Kahlo in the movie ‘Frida’, Salma Hayek has, in recent years, carved out a new identity as a spokesperson for gestational diabetes – a condition that can occur during pregnancy and lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Hayek developed the condition – which often has no symptoms – while pregnant with her daughter in 2007. For Hayek, though, gestational diabetes caused long-bouts of nausea. “I didn’t know whether I was feeling bad because I was pregnant or whether something was seriously wrong,” Hayek told Parents about her pregnancy. “If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t eat so much fruit at the beginning. I didn’t know that eating fruit that is high in sugar is not recommended when you have gestational diabetes.”
6. Neil Young
“Don’t tell me hard luck stories / And I won’t tell you mine.” Canadian rock icon Neil Young could have very well been referring to his struggle with diabetes in his 1986 song Hard Luck Stories. Though he hasn’t talked much about it over the years, early life wasn’t easy for Young. As a child, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy. He also suffered a bout of polio in 1951 that left him with a permanent limp. Hard luck indeed. Despite his disease, Young has always kept on rockin’ in the free world.
7. Anne Rice
In a bizarre twist of fate, the author famous for her tales of bloodsucking vampires actually has a bit of an issue with her own blood … sugar. Anne Rice was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1998 after she nearly died. Rice had been having digestive problems for months when, one day, she woke up with a bad headache. Rice later learned that she had been in a diabetic coma. She now urges others to get their blood-sugar levels tested if they suspect they might have diabetes.
8. Paula Deen
Celebrity chef Paula Deen faced a storm of controversy in 2012 after announcing to the world she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Deen was accused of pedalling a high-fat and high-sugar diet through her TV shows and cookbooks while, at the same time, taking a paycheque from a Dutch insulin company. In light of her more recent controversy, Deen has since been dropped by the company.
9. George Lucas
Shortly after George Lucas graduated from college, a medical test showed that the legendary filmmaker had diabetes, which made him exempt from the Vietnam War draft. How did he spend his time instead? Oh, he just made a couple of movies about light sabres, droids and Wookiees.
10. Bret Michaels
For almost as long as Bret Michaels can remember, diabetes has been part of his life. The glam rocker was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six, meaning daily insulin shots are just as much a part of his life as bandanas, cowboy hats and ripped jeans. In 2010, Michaels won ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and raised $390,000 for the American Diabetes Association.