11 Celebrities With Thyroid Disease

From extreme exhaustion to unexplained weight changes, these celebrities discovered trouble with their thyroid glands.

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck, is responsible for controlling various bodily functions, like regulating metabolism and controlling heart, muscle, and digestive functions. Some of the early signs that your thyroid may not be properly functioning include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • A change in heart rate (either slowed or increased)
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold

Many people have experienced thyroid disorders, including these celebrities. Here's what you should know about how they knew something was wrong.

01 of 11

Gigi Hadid

Kudos to this supermodel for standing up to body shamers. In 2018, Haded tweeted to cut through Internet trolls' snarky remarks about her "too thin" appearance by revealing the real reason for her weight loss.

Hadid began modeling at age 17 before being diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, affecting one to two percent of people.

"Those of u who called me 'too big for the industry' were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that," wrote Hadid.

02 of 11

Wendy Williams

Even talk-show divas need time off to take care of themselves. In 2018, Williams announced a three-week unplanned hiatus from her daytime gig after being diagnosed with Graves' disease.

Williams noted she already knew she had a thyroid issue, but it was her viewers who detected her bulging eyes (an outward sign of this common autoimmune disease). 

Graves disease is the most common cause of thyroid hyperactivity, also called hyperthyroidism, and in the United States, it affects one in 100 people.

"I kinda knew it," conceded Williams. "So, what I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we're not good, they're not good."

03 of 11

Gina Rodriguez

This Golden Globe-winning "Jane the Virgin" actor recalled coming to terms with her thyroid disease after an initial diagnosis at age 19.

"I was attending New York University and got very sick," Rodriquez explained in a 2015 interview with US News. "The [healthcare providers] thought I had mono, but it turned out to be thyroid disease. Ten years later, I found out I had Hashimoto's—and my [healthcare provider] said I could have had it for many years."

Rodriquez noted that she strives to be healthy instead of obsessing about what the scale says, achieving that goal by making wise food choices (most of the time) and boxing, she told online magazine SELF.

04 of 11

Sia

"I'm not crazy! I have Graves' disease!" the Australian singer-songwriter proclaimed in 2010 a tweet.

In an interview with The Guardian, known for her quirky, face-concealing performances, Sia opened up about feeling fatigued, among other symptoms. 

"I basically shat my pants for eight months and shook like I had Parkinson's," said Sia.

05 of 11

Missy Elliott

After struggling with Graves' disease since 2008, the hip-hop legend expressed gratitude for her health at Essence magazine's ninth annual Black Women in Music event in 2018 in New York.

"I was sick, and I couldn't even lift a pen," Elliot told the audience. "My nervous system had broke all the way down. I didn't come up here in a wheelchair. Nobody helped me get up here. I walked up here."

06 of 11

Zoe Saldana

Hashimoto's thyroiditis runs in the family of this "Star Trek: Beyond" actor. Saldana described her condition, one she shares with her mother and sisters, in a 2016 interview with The Edit.

"Your body doesn't have the energy it needs to filter toxins, causing it to believe that it has an infection, so it's always inflamed," Saldana explained.

To help fight fatigue and inflammation, Saldana said that she opted to go gluten- and dairy-free. 

Some evidence suggests eliminating lactose and gluten and having a nutrient-rich diet because many people with Hashimoto's have nutrition deficiencies. What's more, lactose and gluten may interfere with medications used to treat the condition.

07 of 11

Victoria Justice

This former Nickelodeon and MTV actor revealed her struggle with Hashimoto's disease in a November 2015 cover story for Health.

"This Korean acupuncturist put me on a super-strict diet, where I was a pescatarian," noted Justice. "I also couldn't eat any sugar, wheat, or dairy. I did that for about two months, and it was so intense."

08 of 11

Brooke Burke-Charvet

The former Dancing with the Stars co-host recalled dealing with Hashimoto's disease for a decade before receiving even more shocking news in 2012. A routine check-up revealed a suspicious lump in her neck that turned out to be thyroid cancer.

The dancer, model, and mom of four went public with her ordeal to encourage people to seek routine preventive care, Burke-Charvet told Health.

"I took that long, annoying, yearly physical, even when I feel perfectly fine. Do we really want to carve out half the day for that? No, but it's so important," said Burke-Charvet.

09 of 11

Sofia Vergara

Vergara's thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2000, at age 28, came completely out of the blue. During her son's endocrinologist visit, the healthcare provider asked to check her, too and found a lump in her neck.

"I felt no symptoms," Vergara told Health in 2011.

Thyroid removal surgery left her with hypothyroidism. The Emmy-nominated actress recalled taking a daily Synthroid (levothyroxine) pill to replace the lost hormone.

10 of 11

Rod Stewart

It took about nine months for the legendary rocker to recover his singing voice after thyroid cancer surgery in 2000. Stewart revealed his cancer scare in 2001.

"It was only because I had a scan that it was spotted. If I had left it a couple of years, it would have been a different story," Stewart told a British tabloid.

11 of 11

Oprah

Sheer fatigue and weight gain due to thyroid troubles compelled the media mogul to take an entire month off in 2007 to seek balance in her life.

"My body was turning on me," Oprah wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine. "First hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days. (Most people lose weight. I didn't.) Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time. (Most people gain weight. I did! Twenty pounds!)"

A Quick Review

With the right medications and a healthy diet, these celebrities have returned to their active lifestyles.

If you think you may have a thyroid condition based on the information in this article and knowing these celebrities' symptoms—extreme fatigue, unexplained weight changes, and inflammation—ask your healthcare provider to order screening thyroid blood tests per the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Thyroid disorders in women.

  2. National Library of Medicine. Hashimoto thyroiditis.

  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Graves' Disease.

  4. Ihnatowicz P, Drywień M, Wątor P, Wojsiat J. The importance of nutritional factors and dietary management of Hashimoto's thyroiditisAnn Agric Environ Med. 2020;27(2):184-193. doi:10.26444/aaem/112331

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