Celebrities who've struggled with Lyme disease

Carly Milne
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle

Celebrities might seem superhuman, but even the strongest star isn’t immune to the painful issues associated with Lyme disease. The disease is a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria, and though symptoms vary widely, it often causes problems such as fatigue and headaches and can lead to more serious health issues, such as meningitis, heart failure, and memory problems. Former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid is speaking out about her struggle with Lyme disease in a new memoir, but these other recognizable names are also survivors.

Yolanda Hadid

The former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star has been outspoken about Lyme disease awareness since her diagnosis five years ago. In her new book, Believe Me: My Battle With the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease, Hadid reveals that her health struggles made her want to die. “God please just take me away in a wave,” she recalls thinking. “I can’t live like this one more day. Please carry my body away. I just want to disappear.” It was the thought of her children, she wrote, that changed her mind. (Photo: Yolanda Hadid via Instagram)

Anwar and Bella Hadid

Two of Yolanda’s children, models Anwar and Bella, also suffer from Lyme disease. Bella, now 20, spoke candidly about how it’s affected her at the 2016 Global Lyme Alliance. “It was my dream of my life and what I did every single day until I just stopped and realized I didn’t have the brain power to ride horses anymore, so that was the end of that,” she said. “I know what it feels like to not want to get out of bed from bone pains and exhaustion and days on end of not wanting to socialize or be around people because the anxiety and brain fog just isn’t worth it. After years of this, you begin to get used to living with the sickness, instead of getting cured and moving on with your life.” (Photo: Chance Yeh/WireImage)

Avril Lavigne

Canadian songbird Avril Lavigne went public with her health struggle in 2015 and revealed the cause to be a tick bite. “I had no idea a bug bite could do this. I was bedridden for five months,” she said. “I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, and I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying.” Since then, Lavigne has been a vocal advocate for Lyme disease awareness, even leading fundraisers, and has revealed that she’s on the mend. As she posted on Instagram, “Feels good to have my Dr. smile and tell me how much progress I am making. I’m coming out on the other side batches!!!” (Photo: Avril Lavigne via Instagram)

Shania Twain

The Canadian country music star didn’t talk much about her Lyme disease while she was in the thick of it, because she didn’t want to worry fans. Since then, her singing voice has changed due to dysphonia, which she believes resulted from the disease. She now does lengthy warm-ups and “very, very difficult” physical therapy. “I was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again, ever,” Twain said. “I went through that moment, but I found a way. I found a way to do it.” (Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin

Actor Alec Baldwin has had his fair share of struggles, but his battle with Lyme disease made him think he was going to die. As the master of ceremonies at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s 2017 gala, LymeAid, Baldwin said, “I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.'” (Photo: Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)

Debbie Gibson

Singer Debbie Gibson detailed the hell that she went through after being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013. “My back kept going out, I couldn’t lift my head sometimes,” she told People the following year. “My boyfriend said I was mixing up words in my texts. It really got into my cognitive skills.” However, things were looking up for Gibson when Yahoo spoke with her this month, thanks to her health and the more relaxed approach to life she’s taken since dealing with Lyme. “My adrenals are finally repairing in a way that, I hope, is going to make me stronger than I ever was, because I’ve finally taken this moment,” Gibson said. “I think my immune system was always a bit compromised, my adrenals were weak, and I just hit the override button constantly, really up until four or five years ago, and then something made me.” The something, of course, was Lyme disease. (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Ben Stiller

Funnyman Ben Stiller was first diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2010, which he suspects he contracted in Nantucket, Mass. Stiller told the Hollywood Reporter he was diagnosed after suffering from a long-term knee injury but was happy to report that he was doing better in 2011. “I’m symptom-free now,” he said, “but Lyme doesn’t ever leave your system. It’s a really tough thing.” (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Nantucket Film Festival)

Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne also got Lyme disease from a tick bite — this one from a reindeer that was part of a surprise celebration for her dad, Ozzy, on his 56th birthday in 2004. She suffered numerous symptoms, including a sore throat and stomach pains, but has since recuperated. As she wrote in her memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch, “I’ve learned to advocate for myself when it comes to my health, and I trust my intuition. If I think something is wrong, I refuse to let anyone dismiss it. And sadly, I stay the f*** away from reindeer.” (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan)

Parker Posey

In 2009, actress Parker Posey was forced to drop out of an off-Broadway show to deal with her Lyme disease diagnosis. After traditional antibiotics didn’t help her heal, Posey treated the disease naturally and shared her experience in a documentary film, Rethinking Cancer. “The first round of antibiotics did not destroy all the bacteria and I made a decision not to take them anymore and instead approach it purely holistically — through the help of my homeopathic doctor, who guided me with my diet and gave me the natural supplements to bring my body back to its vitality,” Posey said in the doc. “It raises the questions: How can a natural approach to healing oneself be considered so unconventional? Why do we think we can’t play an active role in getting healthy? Why do we give ourselves away so easily to pharmaceuticals that deplete our system and confuse the natural healing process?” (Photo: Getty Images)

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