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Life with T1D

Celebrities with Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes, like most illnesses, doesn’t play favorites. You can get type 1 at any age, race, ethnicity, or tax bracket. Here's a short list of famous T1D individuals whose voices give weight to breaking stigmas - Nick Jonas, Lila Moss, Este Haim, Nia Kay, Brec Bassinger, Bret Michaels, Vanessa Williams, Katie Bone, Eric Paslay, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Celebrities with Type 1 Diabetes

13 Famous People with Type 1 Diabetes

The chronic autoimmune disorder, type 1 diabetes (T1D), is shrouded in myths and misconceptions. Medical professionals believed the condition appeared mostly in children and adolescents for decades. We now know that it can develop in adults at any age, with most LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) patients diagnosed over the age of 30. Stereotyping and misdiagnosis can be dangerous, which is why diabetes awareness is so important.

When celebs like pop star Nick Jonas openly discuss their diabetes diagnosis, or when runway model Lila Moss wears her Omnipod pump for fashion shows, it not only breaks stigmas but encourages people to get tested, which could save lives.

Celebrities Living with Type 1 Diabetes

Here are some famous people with type 1 diabetes who are shedding new light on this chronic disease that affects over eight million people worldwide.

Nick Jonas

Hands down, probably the most celebrated T1D superstar today is the lead singer of the Jonas Brothers band, Nick Jonas. The heartthrob to millions has made the T1D community proud with his ongoing positivity, openness, and advocacy (he’s a Dexcom Warrior and co-founder of Beyond Type 1).  

Lila Moss

The daughter of 90s supermodel Kate Moss, Lila Grace Moss, is quickly making a name for herself in the fashion industry. This English model rose to fame as the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty then appeared in Miu Miu’s SS20 campaign. In 2021, the 19-year-old won hearts during a Fendi/Versace fashion show, wearing a bathing suit with her Omnipod insulin pump. Moss also appeared at the 2022 Met Gala in a sheer Burberry dress, proudly donning her insulin pod on her left hip and her Libre continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on her upper right arm.

Vanessa Williams

Singer, actress, dancer, and producer Vanessa Williams was the first Black woman to receive the title of Miss America. She’s received multiple Grammy Award nominations, including her number-one single, Save the Best for Last. Williams made her Broadway debut with the Kiss of the Spider Woman and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, earning the talented actor a Tony Award for Best Actress nomination. She’s also been nominated for numerous Primetime Emmys.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult, Williams actively supports charities that fund diabetes research, notably the Stay Well Foundation for diabetes care in Guam.

Interesting Fact: Parents of T1Ds can be powerful forces in raising funds and diabetes awareness. Grammy award-winning producer and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Jimmy Jam, whose son was diagnosed at age 2, has worked tirelessly alongside Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation delegates to urge Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) and support policies to make insulin available and affordable to all. Also, Super Bowl Halftime headliner Usher has partnered with Sanofi to encourage individuals to test for type 1 diabetes. The Grammy winner’s son was diagnosed at age 6.

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels, lead singer to the 80s rock band Poison, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six. The rocker has sold over 25 million records and, in 2010, won the series Celebrity Apprentice, for which he pledged a large portion of his winnings to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In 1986, Michaels collapsed on stage due to a low blood sugar episode. 

He’s since been open about his condition and always sends out a positive message on World Diabetes Day, advocating for type 1 diabetes care and insulin access to all. The Bret Michaels’ Life Rocks Foundation helps children manage their diabetes and raises funds to help kids attend diabetes camps. He also partnered with EASE T1D and worked with California Senator Richard Roth to bring diabetes education to school children. 

Michaels has been a longtime supporter of the Affordable Insulin Now Act. “With rising costs for insulin in America skyrocketing, it puts treatments out of reach for many. No one with diabetes should ever go without the opportunity for treatment.”

Interesting Fact: There have been many American Idol participants with type 1 diabetes. The list includes Elliott Yamin (a third-place finish in the fifth season), Crystal Bowersox (This Breakthrough T1D (formerly JDRF) advocate performs regularly at diabetes conferences), Kevin Covias (2006 contestant and actor who has most recently appeared on the television drama This is Us).

Katie Bone

The nationally ranked rock climber Katie Bone is a member of the 2022 Speed Youth National Climbing Team and the 2023 Speed National Team. The American Ninja Warrior competitor appeared in season 2 of ANW Jr. (Bone qualified at age 16) and season 14 of the hit competition television series.

The T1D athlete raised awareness for type 1 diabetes during the show by proudly showing off her pump and continuous glucose monitor. Diagnosed at age 11, Bone told Shape magazine, “A kid that I babysit had told me once that he didn’t want to wear his Omnipod [a tubeless insulin pump] on his arm because he didn’t want it to make him feel weird. That was the moment in which I knew that I wanted to openly talk about [type 1 diabetes] on the show and make that my story.”

According to the Breakthrough T1D's Children’s Congress, Bone is a prime T1D role model. Other Breakthrough T1D celebrity ambassadors: 

  • Orlando Brown, Jr.
  • Brec Bassinger
  • Austin Basis
  • Lauren Cox
  • Ryan Reed
  • Cameron Gellman
  • Adam Lasher
  • Madison Carter
  • Susan Fong
  • Antoine Gibson
  • Stephanie “Bambi” Northwood-Blyth

It’s a fun fact: T1D heroes are natural-born crooners and talented musicians.

Eric Paslay

Grammy-nominated country artist Paslay is another celeb advocate for individuals with type 1 diabetes. The T1D musician recently released a podcast series, sponsored by Dexcom, called “Level with Me – An Eric Paslay Podcast.” The show features inspirational T1D stories from people living with the disease nationwide.

Nia Kay

Rap star recording artist and actress, Nia Kay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14. As an ambassador for Breakthrough T1D, Kay plans to work with global organizations to educate the public on early detection. She recently released a new video, “Go Best Friend,” to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes. The single, released under the Smashtown Records label, regards how her friends support her through her daily journey.

Kay, featured in Vogue Italia, LA Weekly, and Hello Beautiful, has over six million fans on Facebook and more than 1.5 million Instagram followers. She has collaborated with and received industry co-signs from Cardi B and Dreezy.

Este Haim

The singer, songwriter and composer is best known for her rock band, Haim, which Este formed with her two sisters. Haim has composed scores for film and television and acted as executive music consultant for the mini-series A Small Light and season two of HBO Max’s The White Lotus. The T1D advocate has participated in Breakthrough T1D (formerly JDRF) One Walk and Breakthrough T1D Children’s Congress.

Haim was diagnosed with T1D when she was 14. The band performs at charity events to raise funds for diabetes, and Haim visibly wears her diabetes devices on stage. “I want people to see that I’m wearing it because I don’t want to be stigmatized.”  Her new song, Hallelujah, was written for “anyone struggling with a chronic illness.”

Victor Garber

This Canadian singer and actor has starred in film, television and Broadway productions. Diagnosed with type 1 at 12, the actor has been nominated for four Tony Awards and six Primetime Emmy Awards.

Garber has been an outstanding advocate for Breakthrough T1D Canada and Beyond Type 1. The T1D role model supports the Breakthrough T1D Children’s Congress Delegation and advocates for the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).

Interesting Fact: People with type 2 diabetes are sometimes mistaken as having type 1. Some famous T2Ds include: Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Hanks, Randy Jackson, Billie Jean King, Drew Carey, Delta Burke, Sherri Shepherd, Patti LaBelle and Larry King.

Jean Smart

Actress and T1D celebrity advocate Jean Smart has volunteered for Breakthrough T1D and the American Diabetes Association (ADA), spreading awareness and talking about her diagnosis at age 13. Smart has starred in dozens of popular film and television shows, most recently HBO Max’s hit comedy, Hacks, which won her the Best Actress Primetime Emmy in a comedy series- twice!

The five-time Emmy winner appeared before Congress alongside Breakthrough T1D and hundreds of children to ask for continued government T1D research. Smart is an ambassador for the Entertainment Industry’s Diabetes Aware, highlighting the importance of early detection and proper management.

Interesting Fact: The American actress, producer and T1D advocate Mary Tyler Moore helped define a new vision of the American working woman and supported Breakthrough T1D research with her Vision Initiative. Moore had a LADA diagnosis at the age of 33 and lived to be 80 years old. For more on this T1D inspiration, fans can watch the HBO Max documentary Being Mary Tyler Moore, the Woman Behind the Smile.

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone, actress, model and producer, has never let her type 1 diabetes steal the spotlight. Stone, who won a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for her role in the Martin Scorsese film Casino, hasn’t been too vocal about her T1D diagnosis but is active in fundraising projects toward finding a cure.

Stone speaks out more about her massive stroke in 2001, where she had a one to five percent chance of survival. The debilitating illness took her seven years to heal. In her later years, Stone discovered the joy of painting. The talented artist has showcased her artwork at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Actress Salma Hayek’s name often comes up with diabetes searches. The actress developed gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina. Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy. For most women, the diabetes goes away after giving birth, but in some instances, it can progress into type 2.

Halle Berry

Another award-winning actress diagnosed with T1D as an adult, Halle Berry, was 19 years old when she went into severe diabetic ketoacidosis. Berry won an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for portraying Dorothy Dandridge in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. The talented actor went on to make history by becoming the first Black woman to win the Best Actress Academy Award in 2002 for her performance in Monster’s Ball. Known as one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood during the 2000s, Berry made her directorial debut in 2020 with the Netflix drama Bruised.

Conflicting reports swirled when Berry came out in 2007 and said she no longer had type 1 diabetes but rather type 2 diabetes. This could be due to the confusion and misdiagnosis between the two conditions. Berry has since embraced her diagnosis. “Diabetes turned out to be a gift. It gave me strength and toughness because I had to face reality, no matter how uncomfortable or painful.” Also, for the past 30 years, Berry has followed a strict keto lifestyle to manage her diabetes.

Interesting Fact: No one can elevate or change their diabetes type. Type 1 diabetes can’t turn into type 2 diabetes. However, there is a condition called double or hybrid diabetes that affects about four percent of all cases. According to the National Library of Medicine, some patients show type 1 and type 2 signs. If you truly have type 1, no miracle diet, exercise program, or cure is available to the public yet—but we are hopeful!

Saving the Best for Last

Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Sotomayor, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of seven. She is the first person of Latin American descent and the first T1D individual to serve on the high court. The U.S. Supreme Court judge released a children’s book, Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, encouraging children to embrace their differences.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke openly at Breakthrough T1D’s Children’s Congress about her diagnosis and management. She tests her blood sugar levels diligently and carries glucose tablets wherever she goes to avoid hypoglycemia. For more on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, click here for our featured story.

Interesting Fact: It was a big revelation when Tom Hanks admitted his type 2 diagnosis on the David Letterman Show. The star said he felt like an idiot after being diagnosed with diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes less insulin, and the body becomes resistant to it. Diet and exercise may help move your blood sugar levels closer to the normal range. However, in type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin because the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells. No amount of dieting or exercise will reverse T1D.

Some other note-worthy T1D athletes are Gary Hall Jr. (Olympic swimmer), NASCAR driver Ryan Reed and IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball. NFL players include Marc Andrews (Baltimore Ravens), Noah Gray (Kansas City Chiefs), and retired Chicago Bear quarterback Jay Cutler. 

Celebs Speaking Out

In conclusion, empathy is the ability to share the feelings of others. When we hear someone has an identical disease or illness as we do, it reminds us that we are not alone. Sharing another person’s experiences and emotions fosters a human connection and emboldens us to rise to meet challenges.

T1D celeb advocates can use their platform to educate the less informed and empower the type 1 community. Their status can elevate support, and their bankrolls boost funding all over the globe. Plus, their idealism spreads hope for us all. Having diabetes might change the way you live, but it can’t hold you back from accomplishing your dreams.

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