Having a rare or serious illness can be a painful, sometimes lonely, journey. Anyone can be affected, young, old, rich or famous. These five celebrity moms are living with a serious or rare disease and, hopefully, their stories will help others going through similar struggles.
1. Selma Blair (Multiple Sclerosis) – Selma Blair was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2018 after seeing a doctor for what she thought was a pinched nerve. She was told she had MS after lesions were found on an MRI. She wasn’t responding to traditional treatments so she opted for chemotherapy. The actress spoke at the Time 100 Health Summitt and told a panel, “I was really declining more rapidly than I found acceptable… “And I was like, ‘I’m not ruining my body — what’s left of it — why would I put this horrible drug in my body? Chemotherapy? …I don’t have cancer, I don’t need it,’ but I was kind of out of options.”
2. Toni Braxton (Lupus) – In an interview with Live with Kelly and Ryan, Grammy Award-winning artist, Toni Braxton spoke about her struggles with having Lupus, which she was diagnosed with in 2018. Lupus can cause inflammation of the myocardium, the muscle tissue of the heart and Braxton revealed that her particular type of Lupus “loves her heart,” and attacks it with microvascular angina (a form of chest pain due to abnormalities in the tiny arteries of the heart that causes decreased blood flow) and causes blood clots and other illnesses related to the autoimmune disease.
3. Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Multiple Sclerosis) – In an essay that she wrote for Shondaland in 2019, Jamie-Lynn Sigler shared in-depth about her MS struggles. The actress said, “The truth is, it’s definitely taken a lot from me: my ability to run, dance, jump, wear high heels (its been 11 years since I’ve done that, and now I walk with a slight limp). My ability to control my bladder (meds help with that). My career. And while that’s out of much of our control as actors, it’s definitely gotten super quiet for me since I came public with my MS…” She went on to say that her disease has been stable for 10 years and that MS, or any chronic illness, becomes your whole family’s disease, not just your own and that although she faces regular challenges it has made her see just how strong she is.
4. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins (Sickle Cell Anemia) – Tionne Watkins, known as “T-Boz,” in the chart-topping singing group TLC, has been very open about her battle with sickle cell disease (SCD). In her memoir, A Sick Life: TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage, the musician talks about her long journey with this disease. She was told that she would be disabled her whole life and never have kids. The mom of two beat the odds and in her book shares her struggles with this debilitating and incurable condition that renders her unable to perform, walk, or even breathe. The book chronicles Watkins’ journey from a sickly young girl, who was told she wouldn’t live to see 30, to breaking into the music scene and becoming a superstar musician and sickle-cell disease advocate.
5. Dr. Jennifer “Dr. Jen” Arnold (Skeletal Dysplasia) – Dr. Jennifer Arnold is a tv personality and a neonatologist. She also has skeletal dysplasia or dwarfism. Dr. Jen starred on the TLC show The Little Couple and documented what it was like to receive a stage 3 choriocarcinoma cancer diagnosis, a rare cancer that began with a pregnancy loss. This particular cancer begins in the cells that would become the placenta and since Arnold has dwarfism, treatment for the disease was difficult, however, according to a 2014 Bustle report, Arnold has been in remission since 2014. She told the AARC Foundation, “For me, life after cancer is about remembering that life is truly short – no pun intended – and we have to prioritize the things that make us happy, the things that we want to do, and the things that are important to us and to those we care about.”