20 Celebrities Who You Didn’t Know Had Diabetes


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More than 100 million Americans live with diabetes — and that number includes some of your favorite actors, singers, athletes, and TV hosts. Here’s what these famous faces had to say about dealing with their type 1 or type 2 diabetes over the years.

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  1. 1 Tom Hanks


    The Oscar-winning actor announced he has type 2 diabetes when late-night host David Letterman commented on his newly slim figure in October 2013. "I went to the doctor and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you’ve graduated. You’ve got type 2 diabetes, young man.'" Hanks added that the condition is controllable, but he joked that he couldn't get back down to his high-school weight of 96 pounds. "I was a very skinny boy!"

  2. 2 Penny Marshall


    Best known as Laverne in the classic 1970s show Laverne & Shirley, Marshall died of complications related to diabetes in December 2018 at age 75. The Bronx native was also an accomplished director. In 1988, the movie Big made her the first woman to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million, and she enjoyed similar success with A League of Their Own in 1992.

  3. 3 Larry King


    The talk show host has type 2 diabetes. "It's definitely controllable," King has said on his show. Diabetes makes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other serious health problems more likely. King has had bypass heart surgery. Diabetes wasn't the only thing that raised his risk for ticker trouble: King had been a heavy smoker, and smoking hurts the heart. But by taking care of his diabetes (and quitting smoking), King helps his ticker and the rest of his body.

  4. 4 Salma Hayek


    The Oscar-nominee had gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy, while expecting her daughter, Valentina. Hayek has a family history of diabetes. Experts say all women should get checked for gestational diabetes when they are 24-28 weeks pregnant. Those at risk for type 2 diabetes are checked at their first prenatal visit. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery, but it could return with a later pregnancy. It can also make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes later on.

  5. 5 Nick Jonas


    This singer went public with his type 1 diabetes in 2007. He has said that his symptoms included weight loss and thirst. When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, his blood sugar was over 700 -- and normal blood sugar levels are from 70 to 120. Jonas was hospitalized, but he learned to manage his condition. Once called juvenile diabetes, type 1 is the most common kind among people younger than 20, but it can strike at any age.

  6. 6 Paula Deen


    The celebrity chef announced in January 2012 that she has type 2 diabetes. Well known for her buttery, sugary recipes, Deen said she learned she had the disease a few years earlier, but she didn't speak about it publicly because she wasn't ready. Now, she says, she wants "to let the world know that [diabetes] is not a death sentence."

  7. 7 Delta Burke


    The Emmy-nominated actress publicly battled weight gain, which may have triggered her type 2 diabetes. With the help of doctors, a healthy diet, walking, and medication, she has lost weight. "There are so many things you have to watch," she told Diabetic Living. "It's a lot of searching and it can be tedious, but you just have to stick with it."

  8. 8 Drew Carey


    The sitcom star and game show host said he had type 2 diabetes and was tired of the health problems and all the extra weight he was carrying. He cut carbs from his diet and began hitting the gym religiously. He dropped 80 pounds and announced that he no longer needs diabetes medications.

  9. 9 Sherri Shepherd


    The actress and former co-host of The View said even after she was diagnosed with diabetes, it took her a while to change her pasta-heavy diet. Eventually, she discovered vegetables without sauce and oatmeal without brown sugar. She cut out fried foods and white bread, too. A healthy diet combined with exercise helped her lose weight and feel a lot better.

  10. 10 Randy Jackson


    The former American Idol judge learned he had type 2 diabetes in 2001. Back then, Jackson was obese, which makes type 2 diabetes more likely. Jackson was also at risk because diabetes ran in his family, and African-Americans are more likely than whites to get the condition. Jackson underwent gastric bypass surgery, lost 100 pounds, improved his diet, and made exercise -- including walking on a treadmill and practicing yoga -- a staple of his life.

  11. 11 Billie Jean King


    The tennis great says as an athlete she's always been mindful of diet and exercise. But when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, she took it to a new level. The hardest change, she says, was cutting back on carbs and sugars. "That's not fun for a lot of people, but it sure is fun to feel good," she told Ladies' Home Journal. She tells people who are diagnosed: "Just know that you can live a normal, wonderful, terrific, active life."

  12. 12 Jay Cutler


    The Chicago Bears quarterback was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008 after he lost 35 pounds and felt like he had no energy, according to reports. But Cutler hasn't let diabetes sideline him. He now wears an insulin pump, tracks his blood sugar, and has called his condition "manageable." Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the immune system attacks the cells that make insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar.

  13. 13 Bret Michaels


    Poison's lead singer manages diabetes while living the life of a rock star and television personality. Michaels was diagnosed at age 6. He takes insulin injections daily. In 2010, he had a series of health problems, including a brain hemorrhage, yet he finished and won TV's The Celebrity Apprentice. He pledged his $250,000 award to the American Diabetes Association.

  14. 14 Patti LaBelle


    This singer has type 2 diabetes. On her web site, LaBelle opens up about her diagnosis. "I passed out on stage ... and the doctor came back to me and said, 'Did you know you were typing 2 diabetics?' And I said, 'I had no idea,'" states LaBelle, who has a family history of diabetes. She has since written healthy cookbooks, and she exercises regularly. She called herself a "diabetic" -- that's a mix of diabetic and diva -- in People in December 2008.

  15. 15 Mary Tyler Moore


    The late actress had type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed at age 30 when she was hospitalized after having a miscarriage. A routine blood test at the hospital showed a very high blood sugar level of 750. "They put me on insulin right away," she told Larry King in 2005. She took an active in promoting diabetes research and was the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She died on January 25, 2017.


  16. 16 Halle Berry


    Berry was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 19 years-old and has since cut out processed sugars and bread from her diet. She initially said the diagnosis left her petrified, thinking she was going to die, but now she says, "Diabetes turned out to be a gift." She told the Daily Mail. "It gave me strength and toughness because I had to face reality, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it was."


  17. 17 Sharon Stone


    People often ask the 60-year-old actress with type 1 diabetes her secret to staying in shape. Her reply: "My secret is no secret," she told E! News, "I just do all the things you're supposed to do. I eat right, I sleep, I work out, I'm happy. I choose the good things."


  18. 18 Vanessa Williams


    The chanteuse is a type 1 diabetic who supports multiple charities for diabetes research. "I am happy for my journey," she told Essence. "I am right where I am supposed to be, and I'm looking forward to where I'm going in the future."


  19. 19 George Lucas


    The Star Wars creator found out he had type 2 diabetes a long time ago in a galaxy far far away when he was getting a checkup during his draft for the Vietnam War.


  20. 20 Sonia Sotomayor


    The Associate Justice of the Supreme Court first noticed her type 1 diabetes symptoms at the age of 7. She says her early diagnosis taught her to multitask, which later helped with school work. "Diabetes is a constant part of my life," she told the Children's Congress of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. However, it hasn't stopped her from securing her "dream job."



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