5 Celebrities with Lupus

Written by Lupus Life Insurance

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If you have been diagnosed with Lupus, you are not alone. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there are at least 1.5 to 2 million Americans living with Lupus, and around 5 million worldwide. It’s estimated that more than 16,000 new cases are reported annually, but that these figures may be low.

The Lupus Foundation of America describes the condition as “a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.”

Essentially, Lupus is a disease that causes the body to attack itself, and for no clear reason. It is commonly called “a cruel mystery.”

Symptoms of Lupus are varied, but it’s common for those with the disease to experience stiffness, hair loss, fatigue, and photosensitivity. Depending on which type of Lupus a person has, whether it’s Discoid or Systemic, symptoms can be much more severe and attack the internal systems of the body. These symptoms may come and go as “flares,” and range from mild to life-threatening.

There is no known cause or cure for Lupus, and it disproportionately affects women and people of color. In fact, women between the ages of 15 and 45 make up more than 90% of those diagnosed. Those who are affected by it are also at a much higher risk for other medical illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, strokes, and heart failure.

Despite the severity, the majority of people do not know much about Lupus. Unless it affects them, a family member or a friend, this disease is a mystery to most. That is except for the handful of prominent celebrities who are afflicted with the disease and have spoken publically about their experience.

Using their fame as a stage to build awareness, these celebrities have brought needed attention to the disease. They’ve helped others understand what Lupus is while proving that a Lupus diagnosis does not dictate your fate in life.

In this article, we’re going to highlight five celebrities with Lupus and how they’ve been affected by and dealt with the disease.

Five Celebrities With Lupus

Toni Braxton

The 49-year old Grammy Award-winning singer was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008 after collapsing during a performance in Las Vegas. More recently, in October 2016, she was forced to cancel a show in Cleveland, Ohio due to a Lupus flare-up.

Braxton went public with her battle against Systemic Lupus in April 2011 during an interview on Entertainment Tonight. Since then she has undergone several stints in the hospital, and become a recognized face for the disease.

“Some days I can’t balance it all. I just have to lay in bed,” Braxton said of her Lupus struggles in a 2015 interview. “Pretty much when you have lupus you feel like you have the flu every day. But some days you get through it. But for me, if I’m not feeling well, I tend to tell my kids, ‘Oh mommy’s just going to relax in bed today. I kind of take it easy.”

As a high achiever, Toni has learned to manage her disease as best as she can through medication and lifestyle changes. She’s a proponent of heart-healthy habits, including a metabolism-revving diet, gentle workouts, and stress reduction.

Selena Gomez


As one of the most recent celebrities to come forward about their battle with Lupus, 24-year-old Selena Gomez has become globally recognized for her responsible approach to the disease. As a singer, Gomez has had to balance the symptoms of her Lupus and the demands of being a famous pop star.

In 2013, she took a break from her career to secretly undergo chemotherapy and recover at a rehabilitation center. Amidst gossip that she was in rehab for drugs, the singer finally spoke out in 2015, revealing, “I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke.”

Since undergoing chemotherapy, Gomez has completed a world tour but has also struggled to balance her health and work. In 2016, she broke away from the spotlight once again to focus on herself. She revealed that her Lupus caused side effects of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Responsibly, Gomez said, “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.”

Paula Abdul


The singer, dancer and former reality show judge has, unfortunately, had to deal with more than just Lupus. The former American Idol judge says she has both Lupus and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, two illnesses that when combined, create intense pain and fatigue.

It is these diseases that made her act erratically in public and have derailed her career. Because of her afflictions, Abdul was unable to sing and dance due to the pain and fatigue, and was not able to act normally in front of cameras and the scrutiny of viewers.

Abdul is now a recognized advocate for Lupus awareness and research and has turned to social media to spread awareness about the disease.

Nick Cannon


Cannon, the ex-husband of Mariah Carey and the television and radio star, became aware of his disease in 2012. After being hospitalized with kidney failure and treated for blood clots in his lungs, Cannon has become one of the biggest advocates for Lupus. He served as the Grand Marshal for the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now in 2014 and has spoken with CNN’s Piers Morgan on national television.

Striving to live a healthy life, Cannon has stepped back from the limelight to focus on himself and his disease management. He has also attempted to educate others. In his own words, “When you hear the words ‘autoimmune disease’ or ‘lupus,’ it’s like, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ That’s how I felt, and that’s how my family and friends felt as well…. But you realize it’s something that you can live with and actually overcome with the proper research and with the proper support system.”



The 53-year old singer/songwriter Seal, who earned his international fame in 1991 with the single “Crazy,” has always been scrutinized for his facial scars. Many speculated that the scars were from bad acne when he was younger. But in reality, they are from Discoid Lupus (DLE), which affects the skin and can lead to hair loss.

Seal has spoken candidly about his disease and the impact it had on his childhood. He has been an advocate for Lupus organizations. Lending his celebrity status to fundraising efforts for lupus research, awareness and education. He has performed at the annual spring Orange Ball, the premier fundraising gala for the disease hosted by Lupus LA, and has spoken out during his own live performances.

Married to model/actress Heidi Klum, Seal’s affliction with Lupus just goes to show that a person’s beauty is not determined by their skin.

Why You Need To Consider Life Insurance With Lupus

If you have Lupus and have experienced the ups and downs of the disease like these five celebrities and millions of other people around the world, realize that you are not alone. Despite the severity of the disease, a normal life is possible. And just like others living normal lives, it is highly encouraged that you invest in life insurance for the security and protection of your family.

It can be argued that individuals affected by Lupus are in greater need of financial protection. As medical costs and lost work days can lead to the accrual of debt. With life insurance, you can provide your family with the peace of mind they deserve if something tragic were to ever happen to you.

If you are affected by Lupus, please contact one of our agents and we will work with you to find the right product, protection, and financial security.  

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