Celebrities with MS

Celebrities with MS

On October 20, Selma Blair made headlines when she revealed that she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Best known for her roles in films like Hellboy, Legally Blonde, and Cruel Intentions, the actress made the announcement via Instagram, confidently telling her fans, “I have MS and I am okay.”

That optimistic message has been expressed by other celebrities with MS. That list includes Jack Osbourne, Richard Pryor, and the award-winning writer Joan Didion, all of whom were (and are) able to lead fulfilling lives in the years following their diagnoses. Some – like Osbourne and Supernatural star Rachel Miner – have become awareness advocates for MS. Others have carried on with their careers. Joan Didion, for instance, has lived with the condition for decades and has continued to write well into her 80s.

For her part, Blair has demonstrated that people with Multiple Sclerosis are able to thrive, even in a physically demanding profession like acting. She was filming the science fiction series Another Life for Netflix at the time of her announcement, and has likely been living and working with the disease for much of her career. She first started showing symptoms more than 15 years ago, though the cause was misdiagnosed at the time.  

That’s not to say that life with MS is easy. Blair has been forthright about her struggles with MS, with symptoms that include memory loss and mobility impairment. Even basic tasks like getting dressed or picking something up off the ground can be difficult thanks to her condition.

The equally candid Rachel Miner walked away from acting for similar reasons. In more recent interviews, Miner has explained how acting – especially the physically demanding roles that she used to cherish – gradually lost its appeal once her limitations became more pronounced. She eventually decided to leave the film industry and has since moved on to the next phase of her career as an activist.

Public figures like Blair and Miner serve as role models for people with Multiple Sclerosis, standing as real-life examples of people whose accomplishments prove that MS is not a terminal diagnosis. Fictional depictions of MS are less common, but convey a similar positivity. President Jed Bartlet battled the disease throughout all seven seasons of The West Wing and actor Martin Sheen received praise for his portrayal of a principled leader who did his best to lead his country despite the physical toll it took on his body.

Ultimately, a strong support system – and in Blair’s case, a strong wardrobe department – has allowed many people with MS to excel in their careers, their personal lives, and beyond. Multiple Sclerosis presents obvious challenges, but it should not prevent anyone from living the life they want to live!

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