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Lupus Blog & Current Events

Famous Faces with Lupus

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
By:  Lance Wong

Famous Faces with Lupus:

File:Selena Gomez - Walmart Soundcheck Concert.jpg

If you have lupus, you are not alone! Here are some celebrities with lupus who have shared their stories and are empowering others facing this disease.

Selena Gomez. In 2014, when Selena stepped out of the spotlight, rumors emerged that she was in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. The truth was that she had been undergoing treatment for lupus. Selena told Billboard that "[she] was diagnosed with lupus, and [she’d] been through chemotherapy. That’s what [her] break was really about". Having lupus can affect many aspects of an individual’s life including the onset of arthritis, cardiovascular problems, kidney failure, and the loss of energy. Lupus also affects many organs, especially the kidneys, explaining Selena’s recent kidney transplant. Selena has been open about her condition, videos of her speaking about her battle with lupus can be found online. A link to her speaking of lupus can be found here:

Shannon Boxx. During the year 2007 when she was diagnosed with lupus, Shannon Boxx was 30 and still playing for the U.S. National Soccer Team, with which she had won gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2012 London Olympics. 

Shannon Boxx mentions that she started feeling the symptoms of lupus, such as extreme fatigue and joint pain even in normal tasks, as early as 2002, but has kept it a secret. That was until slightly before the 2012 Olympics when she went public with her condition. Since then, she has been working to raise awareness of the disease. She has also been working with the Lupus Foundation of America in an attempt to find a cure to the auto-immune disease. You can read more about her and the Lupus Foundation of America here:

Nick Cannon. During January 2012, Nick suffered from kidney failure and blood clots in his lungs. He was later diagnosed with lupus. Nick later admitted that he was quite scared when he experienced the symptoms of lupus, but later realized that this was something that he could live with and overcome with “the proper research and with the proper support system”. Since then, he has been active in raising awareness for the autoimmune disease. You can check out “The NCredible Health Hustle”, a web series created by Nick which documents his experience with lupus from diagnosis to his return to work. He has also spoken numerous times about his life with lupus on TV and has even filmed a public service announcement in 2014. 

Seal. There are many types of lupus. The type that Seal has is known as discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), which causes coin like scarring of the skin. Seal has mentioned in his interviews that he has been affected by lupus since his teenage years, which caused hair loss and scarring on his face. DLE commonly causes sores on the face and scalp but can affect skin anywhere on the body. About 10% of people with DLE will develop systemic lupus, which could further complicate the health of the patient.

Michael Jackson. In an interview with Dr. Arnie Klein, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist, on CNN, Klein told King that Michael Jackson had come to his office for skin issues. He noted that Michael Jackson had a “butterfly rash and he also had severe crusting you could see on the anterior portion of his scalp”. Commonly, a malar rash is associated with lupus, so Klein did a biopsy and found that Michael Jackson did have lupus. 

Toni Braxton. The singer is open about her struggle with lupus. She has told HuffPost Live that sometimes it isn’t possible balancing her busy schedule while battling lupus. 

“Some days I can’t balance it all. I just have to lay in bed,” she said. “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.” 

Although she has been hospitalized multiple times for lupus, Braxton says that she has never canceled a show over the disease. In 2013, she appeared on the Dr. Oz show and discussed what life was like with lupus. Currently, she is monitored regularly for the disease while she continues her work in music.

Kristen Johnston. When she was 46, Kristen Johnston was diagnosed with lupus myelitis, a rare form of lupus which affects the spinal cord. Johnston started showing signs for lupus when she struggled with climbing a flight of stairs. It took her 17 visits to different doctors before she received the correct diagnosis for lupus myelitis. Since then, the actress has been treated with chemo and steroids and is doing a lot better. At one point, the illness affected her so severely that she could not lift her neck without a brace. She told People that “If [she] had to live like that forever, [she] would have killed [herself]”. However, her life has taken a turn after treatment and she now believes that “Every single day is a gift," none of which she takes for granted.

Maurissa Tancharoen. This American television producer, actress, singer, dancer, and lyricist was diagnosed with lupus at a very young age. She has mentioned that she experiences chronic severe flare-ups which affect her kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. 

In 2015 when she wanted to have a baby, she worked with her rheumatologist to control her lupus. After some obstacles including a long hospital stay during her pregnancy to keep her kidneys functioning, she finally gave birth to a “little miracle” named Benny Sue.

She now runs a blog on lupus ( and is an active advocate for lupus, participating in charity walks and supporting the Lupus Foundation of America.


  6. Photo: Selena Gomez in 2013; Credit: Lunchbox LP, Culver City, California, Wikimedia Commons
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