Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyMSTeam
Powered By
See answer

9 Celebrities With MS and How Their Symptoms Affect Them

Medically reviewed by Evelyn O. Berman, M.D.
Written by Joan Grossman and Torrey Kim
Posted on February 1, 2024

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is a different experience for everyone with the condition — no two people experience identical symptoms or disease trajectories, even if they’re relatives. But many people with this autoimmune disease find that they share at least some similarities with others who are living with MS, such as having tough days and needing to take time to rest occasionally.

Celebrities who have the condition are no different — they experience the ups and downs of MS, and symptom flares affect them as well. Check out what nine celebrities have said about the impact that MS symptoms have had on their lives.

1. Christina Applegate

Television and film star Christina Applegate was a hit in the Netflix series “Dead to Me,” and she’s known for her roles in “The Sweetest Thing,” “Anchorman,” and “Married … With Children,” among other popular shows. Applegate was diagnosed with MS in 2021 during the filming of the final season of “Dead to Me” after her sense balance was off and she had trouble with stairs.

Applegate said the producers of “Dead to Me” were ready to stop filming. “The powers that be were like, ‘Let’s just stop. We don’t need to finish it. Let’s put a few episodes together.’ I said, ‘No. We’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it on my terms,’” Appplegate said in an interview with The New York Times.

It was a tough road for Applegate, especially because the final season deals with illness, she explained to Vanity Fair. “None of us knew I was going to be sick and gain 40 pounds from medication and have immobility. It was really difficult to not have my own personal feelings shadow what Jen [her character in the show] was feeling,” she said.


None of us knew I was going to be sick and gain 40 pounds from medication and have immobility.

— Christina Applegate

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...

Read more about how MS can impact emotions and daily life.

2. Selma Blair

Movie actor Selma Blair lived for decades with undiagnosed MS that started when she was a child. By the time she was 7, her left leg, right eye, and bladder were impaired. Doctors dismissed her symptoms of juvenile MS. Blair attributes the lack of medical attention to gender bias, as she explained in British Vogue: “If you’re a boy with those symptoms, you get an MRI. If you’re a girl, you’re called ‘crazy.’”.

Despite ongoing symptoms, Blair became a celebrity for her roles in “Legally Blonde,” “Cruel Intentions,” and “Hellboy.” She was eventually diagnosed in her 40s with MS and went public with her diagnosis in 2018. In 2022, she became a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” but later withdrew.

Blair underwent a bone marrow cell transplant when other MS treatments didn’t work for her. Although her MS has since stayed in remission and she feels better than before, Blair still has a range of MS symptoms. “I really am in pain all the time. There’s a stiffness that does not leave me,” she told NBC’s Meet the Press.


I really am in pain all the time. There’s a stiffness that does not leave me.

— Selma Blair

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...

3. Montel Williams

Talk show host and actor Montel Williams also had symptoms for many years before he was diagnosed with MS in 1999. In 1980, he was about to complete the U.S. Naval Academy’s officer training program. “Three months before my graduation, I went blind in my left eye, which stopped me from actually graduating with my class,” Williams told an audience at a 2019 MS event.

When his sight came back, Williams went on to become a naval officer, prior to his career in entertainment.

Williams has managed his MS with medication, diet, exercise, and mindfulness training and has maintained an active life. He’s become an outspoken advocate for the MS community. He’s also an advocate of medical marijuana for MS symptoms. “I’ve been using it for the past 10 years and will continue to do so for reducing pain in my lower extremities and mitigating spasticity when I sleep,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

4. John King

CNN correspondent John King’s 2008 diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS started with numbness in his legs that moved up his body. He struggled with movement. “I immediately thought, ‘Am I not going to be able to walk or do my job? Am I not going to be able to play baseball or hike with my kids?’” he told People magazine.

More than 15 years later, he’s managing the condition with a healthy lifestyle and medical treatment. “I know I’m lucky, but MS is with me every day,” King said in an interview with NIH MedlinePlus magazine.

He’s still challenged by a lack of sensation in his legs, falling, and headaches. Daily tasks often need to be planned around his symptoms. “But I have learned how to snowboard even though I can’t really feel my feet,” he said. “And just once in 13 years since diagnosis have I had to miss a day of work because of MS.”

5. Emma Caulfield Ford

Television actor Emma Caulfield Ford hid her MS diagnosis for 10 years, sharing it only with her parents and her husband, Mark Ford. The star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “WandaVision” finally went public with her condition in 2022 in an interview with Vanity Fair. Caulfield Ford’s symptoms started with tingling and numbness in her face, which her neurologist said could be any number of neurologic diseases, such as Bell’s palsy.

After her diagnosis, Caulfield Ford continued to work before revealing that she had MS. While shooting “WandaVision” in the summer of 2020, she found that the heat triggered her symptoms badly: “The heat was unbearable. And I was feeling every inch of that. I got really weak. … I was very, very uncomfortable and no one knew. I said nothing. And I paid the price for that.”

Now that she’s spoken out about MS as an advocate for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and other groups, she can take the precautions she needs to manage her symptoms.


The heat was unbearable. ... I got really weak.

— Emma Caulfield Ford

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...

6. Janice Dean

When Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean lost sensation in her feet and thighs and was overcome with fatigue in 2005, she was soon diagnosed with MS, she told Brain & Life, a publication of the American Academy of Neurology. An MRI showed lesions in her central nervous system, on her brain and spinal cord. With treatment, she went into remission and gave birth to two children, in 2009 and 2011. “I had such wonderful pregnancies, and I temporarily forgot that I even had MS,” she said.

More recently, Dean has discussed her flare-ups that cause pain and other uncomfortable sensations, such as a feeling of sunburn on her neck. She’s used her public platform and social media to raise awareness about MS and express her hope that new therapies in development may make living with MS easier.

Read more about MS ribbons, symbols, and why awareness is important.

7. Jack Osbourne

Reality TV star Jack Osbourne was diagnosed with MS in 2012, when he was 26 years old. He told Today that he was at a gas station when he noticed that his vision was impaired. Within two days, he lost 90 percent of his central vision and underwent a series of tests. An MRI showed lesions on his spine and brain, and doctors told him that he had MS.

Once Osbourne began taking medications, his vision returned, but he still has days when eye issues affect him. He told CNN that he has periods when his hands don’t grip properly and when his vision wanes. He’s also experienced depression, fear, and fatigue due to the disease.

Read more about how MS can lead to mood swings and behavior changes.

8. Teri Garr

Teri Garr is known for her work in movies like “Young Frankenstein” and “Tootsie,” but for years the actor lived with the secret that she had MS. She initially noticed her symptoms in 1983, when she began to trip while jogging — the higher her body temperature rose, the weaker she felt. She asked doctors about her symptoms, but no one could nail down her diagnosis until 1999, when she found out she had MS.

Garr developed a limp that sometimes prompted her to use a cane or wheelchair, and she has also discussed weakness in her right leg and arm. She once told Brain & Life that, to keep stress and anxiety at bay, she aimed to simplify her life by prioritizing which activities were the most important. She noted, too, that tries to exercise whenever possible.

Read more about leg weakness in MS.

9. Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler initially found out she had MS when she was playing Meadow Soprano on the HBO show “The Sopranos.” Then 20 years old, she kept her diagnosis quiet for 15 years, privately dealing with symptoms such as balance problems and bladder issues.

After revealing the diagnosis, she opened up about some of the symptoms that affect her, including requiring rest after walking for too long, not being able to run, and struggling to climb stairs. “When I walk, I have to think about every single step, which is annoying and frustrating,” she told People.

These are only a few of the celebrities who have publicly discussed their MS diagnosis. Others include Ann Romney, the wife of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney; Art Alexakis, frontman of the band Everclear; singers Clay Walker and David Osmond; and news anchor Neil Cavuto.

Find Your Team

On MyMSTeam, the social network for people with multiple sclerosis and their loved ones, more than 207,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with MS.

Can you relate with these celebrities experiences? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting to your Activities page.

References

  1. What Is MS? — Multiple Sclerosis Trust
  2. Christina Applegate Pours One Out for ‘Dead to Me’ — The New York Times
  3. Christina Applegate on MS and Its Toll on Her Life and Iconic Career: “It F--king Sucks” — Vanity Fair
  4. ​​​​It Took 40 Years of Silent Pain for Selma Blair To Receive Her Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis. Now, She’s Done Staying Quiet — British Vogue
  5. Selma Blair Says She’s ‘in Pain Everyday’ From Multiple Sclerosis — NBC News
  6. Montel Williams Confronts MS Head On — Los Angeles Times
  7. Montel Williams Opens Up About His First Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis — Yahoo! Sport
  8. CNN’s John King Opens Up About His Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis: ‘I’m a Very Lucky Man’ — People
  9. CNN’s John King Isn’t Letting Multiple Sclerosis Slow Him Down — NIH MedlinePlus Magazine
  10. ‘I Told Nobody’: WandaVision Star Emma Caulfield Reveals She Has Been Living With MS for Past Decade — Independent
  11. Fox Meteorologist Janice Dean's Forecast for Life With MS Is Bright — Brain & Life
  12. Fox News’ Janice Dean Gives Health Update Amid MS Battle — TV Insider
  13. Jack Osbourne on Living With Multiple Sclerosis and Overcoming Depression — CNN
  14. Jack Osbourne on Life With Multiple Sclerosis: ‘It’s Not a Death Sentence’ — Today
  15. Jack Osbourne on Having MS — the Same Disease Father Ozzy Osbourne Was Misdiagnosed With in the 90s — Yahoo! Life
  16. Actress Teri Garr Reveals She Has MS — ABC News
  17. Teri Garr on Life With MS — Brain & Life
  18. Teri Garr: Post-Aneurysm, Comedy Keeps Her Going — CNN
  19. Garr Back on Her Feet, Back on the Big Screen — Los Angeles Times
  20. Newlywed Jamie-Lynn Sigler Reveals She Has Been Battling MS for 15 Years: ‘It’s Still Hard To Accept’ — People
  21. Jamie-Lynn Sigler Opens Up About Living With MS, Her Sex Life and Marriage, and What’s Next — Glamour
  22. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler Shares MS Diagnosis — Brain & Life
  23. Ann Romney Shares Her MS Story To Benefit Research — Brain & Life
  24. Everclear’s Art Alexakis on His Battle With Multiple Sclerosis, His Continued Sobriety & How He's Moving Forward — Grammy Awards
  25. Clay Walker Opens Up About a ‘Dark Time’ That Prompted a Change in How He Manages His Multiple Sclerosis — Country Now
  26. David Osmond Inspires MS Community Through Song — MS Focus Magazine
  27. Neil Cavuto’s Personal Perspective on Multiple Sclerosis — ABC News

Posted on February 1, 2024

A MyMSTeam Member

The survey doesn’t have Cold sensitivity? I know many MS patients like myself where that trumps heat.

posted April 2
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Subscribe now to ask your question, get answers, and stay up to date on the latest articles.

Get updates directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Is There A Way I Could Meet These People? I Have MS Like They Do.
February 16, 2024 by A MyMSTeam Member 4 answers
Do You Know It Also Effects Your Gut?
June 26, 2024 by A MyMSTeam Member 31 answers
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D. is a neurology and pediatric specialist and treats disorders of the brain in children. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about her here.
Joan Grossman is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about her here.
Torrey Kim is a freelance writer with MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

Recent Articles

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease. In people with MS, the body’s immune system at...

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Options: List of Medications and Therapies

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease. In people with MS, the body’s immune system at...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the acti...

How Does MS Cause Disability? 4 Ways It Can Affect Mobility and Function

Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the acti...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition with a variety of symptoms that come and go. Aroun...

Is It an MS Relapse or a Pseudoexacerbation? 6 Differences

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition with a variety of symptoms that come and go. Aroun...
Transcripción00:00:09:49 - 00:00:33:91Eric PeacockUn último tema aparte ahora, fuera de la espas...

¿Alguna vez se descubrirá una cura para la esclerosis múltiple? El Dr. Boster explica los avances en la investigación

Transcripción00:00:09:49 - 00:00:33:91Eric PeacockUn último tema aparte ahora, fuera de la espas...
Las bebidas con cafeína son un elemento básico matutino para muchas personas en todo el mundo. La...

La cafeína y la esclerosis múltiple: ocho cosas que debe saber

Las bebidas con cafeína son un elemento básico matutino para muchas personas en todo el mundo. La...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS),...

What Is Smoldering MS? Inflammation May Linger During Remission

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS),...
MyMSTeam My multiple sclerosis Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close