Justin Bieber recently revealed he has been suffering from Lyme Disease. The "Yummy" singer is not the first celebrity to admit to dealing with the sometimes debilitating tick-born illness. Bella Hadid, Shania Twain, Ben Stiller, George W. Bush, and Alec Baldwin have all made the same revelation. How does it affect their lives and career? Gossip Cop takes a look.
Alec Baldwin admitted in 2011 that he had Lyme disease, but he first opened up about his struggles with the sickness at a fundraiser for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation in 2017. The symptoms were so bad, the actor thought it might kill him. Baldwin told the audience that his first bout was around the turn of the century. "I really thought this is it, I'm not going to live," he said. "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.'"
He added that the disease would rear its ugly head at the same time every year. "I got the classic Lyme disease [symptoms] for each successive summer for five years," he said. "Every August, like this black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed." Baldwin said that he and his wife, Hilaria, are constantly checking for ticks on their children now. It's not that he wants to be invasive, but he knows how devastating the symptoms can be. "That is part of the lifestyle of where I live," the actor said, referring to his home on Long Island.
Supermodel Bella Hadid grew up with the disease and it, according to her, forced her to give up on her dreams of having a career in horseback riding. Hadid was one of the honorees at the Global Lyme Alliance's Uniting for a Lyme-Free World Gala in 2016, where she shared her experiences with the disease. "I know what it's like to not want to get out of bed from bone pains and exhaustion," she said, "to not want to socialize and be around people because the anxiety isn't worth it."
The model's mother, Yolanda, and brother, Anwar, also have Lyme. Yolanda opened up about in a 2017 book called Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease. Sadly, the tabloids took advantage of the book when OK! published a phony report claiming Bella and Gigi Hadid was angry at Yolanda for "airing their dirty laundry." Gossip Cop debunked that false claim. The whole family has spoken about how difficult bouts with Lyme have been for them.
Comedian and actor Ben Stiller discussed his situation with the disease in a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Stiller told the magazine, "My knee became inflamed, and they couldn't figure out what it was, then they found out it was Lyme. I'm symptom-free now, but Lyme doesn't ever leave your system. It's a really tough thing." According to the actor, he contracted the disease in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and it took some time before doctors figured out the correct diagnosis, something that often happens with Lyme.
In a 2007 report on President George W. Bush's health, it was revealed that the avid outdoorsman had contracted Lyme Disease. The former president was treated by White House doctors in 2006, but beyond that, Bush has not opened up about his bout with Lyme. It seems the president didn't suffer any long-lasting effects that others have, which he is likely very grateful for.
Country superstar Shania Twain contracted Lyme disease in Virginia while on tour in 2003. She even saw the tick fall off her and was treated quickly. Still, the disease took its toll, and in 2011, the singer admitted it had impacted her vocal cords. The Canadian singer told CBC that it caused dysphonia, which affects the vocal cords and required her to undergo extensive vocal training to treat.
Thankfully, she is doing much better today, but she still raises awareness for the insidious disease. "Normally it can attack your nervous system or the vital organs — heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system," she told the outet. "It's a debilitating disease and extremely dangerous. You can't play around with it, so you've got to check yourself for ticks."
Justin Bieber may be the latest star to go public with his diagnosis, but he's not the only one. As the others have shown, while Lyme disease is a serious condition that needs to be treated, it shouldn't affect his career in the long run. Unfortunately, Gossip Cop suspects the tabloids will use the diagnosis for fodder in future untrue stories about the pop star3.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is accurate to the best of our ability.