4 Celebrities With Multiple Sclerosis
There are many high-profile people with MS. Here are four who have openly shared their strategies for feeling their best.
Getty ImagesJack Osbourne
Ozzy and Sharon's son was diagnosed with MS at age 26—just weeks after he became a first-time father—after complaining of vision problems. Doctors put him on prescription medication and urged him to adopt a healthier diet, which have helped improve his symptoms and reduce his risk of complications from the disease.
Lesson learned: It's never too late to change. "I've done a diet overhaul, choosing healthy, well-balanced meals," says Osbourne on his website. "My daughter, Pearl, is a great breakfast buddy and I love making her scrambled eggs. I also make smoothies with fresh produce from the farmer's market we go to on weekends. It's important to find a friend or family member who can be your main support in eating healthy."
The talk-show host experienced intermittent symptoms, such as tingling in his feet and loss of balance, for years before being officially diagnosed in 1999. Later that year, he told People that the stress of MS caused him to almost take his own life. Williams fought back with a rigorous workout schedule, a diet loaded with fruits and veggies and medication injections to slow the disease's progression.
Lesson learned: Follow the rainbow. "Anything that's got color, I buy it," Williams has said. "I liquefy whole fruits and vegetables to make smoothies. I use coconut water as the base, mix it with four or five fruits—watermelon, pineapple, an apple, blueberries—then put spinach in it. I can drink 15 pieces of fruit a day. Nobody is going to sit down and eat that."
The R&B singer and wife of former NBA star Grant Hill was diagnosed with MS in 2003, at age 28, but has said that living with a pro athlete has helped her concentrate on staying in shape, which has improved her overall health. In 2007, she told The Young, Black and Fabulous that being pregnant with her second daughter improved her symptoms, as well: "When a woman is pregnant, the symptoms of MS subside. But you have to be careful because after you give birth, there's a higher rate of attacks."
Lesson learned: Attitude is everything. The singer focuses on remaining upbeat and raising awareness about living with MS. "I just felt it was important to get out there and let people know that it's not a sign of weakness," Tamia told Extra about her MS diagnosis. "You have good days and bad days."
Ann Romney The wife of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was diagnosed with MS in 1998 after experiencing dizziness and what she referred to as "the MS fog." Side effects from the MS, as well as the medications to treat it, took their toll. To recover strength and mobility, she embarked on her own plan, combining traditional medicine with alternative therapies.
Lesson learned: Think outside the box. When Romney found that the steroids she was taking didn't help with the extreme fatigue she was feeling, she turned to acupuncture, reflexology and a favorite activity: horseback riding, which she said left her feeling "joyful, energetic and stronger."