9 Celebrities With Crohn's Disease

  • Anastacia, singer-songwriter diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 13 years old, performing at Vatican Christmas Concert December 15, 2018
    Famous Faces Humanize Crohn’s Disease
    Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder, has some uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. But with appropriate medical management, most people with Crohn’s disease live fulfilling lives. These 9 famous people with Crohn’s disease are helping increase awareness of this common medical condition by candidly sharing their experiences.

  • comedian Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live attends American Museum of Natural History's 2018 Gala November 15, 2018
    1. Pete Davidson
    The "Saturday Night Live" actor was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 17 years old. Like many other people with Crohn’s, Davidson found it difficult to eat enough food to keep up his weight and energy levels. “There was a point where I couldn’t get out of bed. I was 110 pounds,” Davidson told People magazine. According to multiple published interviews, Davidson uses marijuana to control his symptoms. In 2016, he told High Times, “Weed [was] the only thing that would help me eat” and said, “I wouldn’t be able to perform on 'SNL' if I didn’t smoke weed.”

  • Mike McCready of Pearl Jam performs at Fenway Park on September 4, 2018
    2. Mike McCready
    McCready was a 21-year-old struggling rock musician when he began experiencing excruciating abdominal pain and unusual bowel movements. After he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, he took a six-month hiatus from music while attempting to cope with the news. Two years later, he became one of the founding members of Pearl Jam. “I was successful beyond my wildest dreams musically, but very sick physically,” McCready wrote in a 2013 Huffington Post article. In 2018, he and his wife, Ashely, helped raise over $281,000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Northwest Chapter.

  • Actress Shannen Doherty attends Paramount Network Launch Party on January 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA
    3. Shannen Doherty
    Best known for playing Brenda Walsh in the original iteration of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and Prue Halliwell on the late 1990s version of "Charmed," Doherty first revealed her Crohn’s diagnosis in 1999. She’s talked about how difficult it is for women to juggle societal expectations of beauty, grace and sex appeal with the reality of Crohn’s disease.

  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower, former US President, speaking at a press conference in London on August 15, 1962
    4. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
    The 34th president of the United States “suffered bouts of intestinal discomfort throughout his life,” according to the American College of Surgeons. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, developed an intestinal blockage, and underwent surgery to remove a portion of his intestines in 1956, while serving as President. Scholars have claimed that President Eisenhower’s “prolonged convalescence” after his surgery “arguably contributed to the 1956 Suez crisis.” Eisenhower experienced several more bowel obstructions (and multiple heart attacks) before he died in 1969.

  • Anastacia, singer-songwriter diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 13 years old, performing at Vatican Christmas Concert December 15, 2018
    5. Anastacia
    American singer-songwriter Anastacia was just 13 years old when she noticed a grapefruit-sized mass in her abdomen. An exploratory operation led to a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Upset with her four-inch surgical scar, Anastacia struggled with self-acceptance. The medication she took to manage her symptoms caused weight gain, so Anastacia started a strict diet—and landed in the hospital. Today, Anastacia’s symptoms are well-controlled, and she says that living with Crohn’s has helped her overcome vanity and discover her true priorities.

  • David Garrard, former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback
    6. David Garrard
    American football is a physically punishing game, but the pain of football is nothing compared to the pain of Crohn’s disease, says former Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard. In a 2010 Guideposts magazine article, Garrard describes his initial Crohn’s attack as excruciating: “I’d never felt anything like the pain that ripped through my gut that January afternoon,” he wrote. “Not even Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis hitting me from the blind side hurt that bad.” Garrard ultimately underwent surgery to remove a portion of his diseased intestine. He served as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback from 2007 to 2010.

  • Journalist Cynthia McFadden attends 2018 International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Awards October 25, 2018
    7. Cynthia McFadden
    Renowned American journalist and news anchor Cynthia McFadden says she “had a lot of abdominal pain, which was often very extreme, and spent a lot of time in the bathroom” as a child but was not diagnosed with Crohn’s disease until she was a freshman in college. At the time, a physician suggested that her “‘Type A’ personality caused my illness,” McFadden said, which led to nearly unbearable guilt until she realized she was not responsible for her disease. Two years after her diagnosis, McFadden underwent surgery to remove a large section of her intestine.

  • Assistant coach Kevin Dineen, formerly of Chicago Blackhawks, at the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Classic Winter Classic on January 2, 2017
    8. Kevin Dineen
    Dineen was three years into what would become a 19-year career in the National Hockey League when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. “It was a real eye-opening experience,” Dineen told USA Hockey Magazine. “This is a chronic, debilitating disease that’s with you for life. It took me a couple of years to come to grips with that.” Despite periodic hospitalizations, Dineen had a successful hockey career. He scored more than 350 goals as a pro and served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2014-2018.

  • Kathleen Baker holding up Bronze Medal at 14th FINA World Swimming Championships December 15, 2018
    9. Kathleen Baker
    Baker was 12 years old and a promising swimmer when she began experiencing frequent stomach pains and unexplained weight loss. Medical testing led to a Crohn’s diagnosis. With the help of her medical team, Baker was able to continue swimming, and in the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay and a silver medal in the individual 100-meter backstroke. Soon after her Olympic triumph, she began talking publicly about her disease. “I wanted…something positive [to] come up when people Google ‘athletes with Crohn’s disease,’” Baker told Swimming World Magazine.

Celebrities With Crohn's Disease: Pete Davidson, Mike McCready & More

About The Author

Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a Registered Nurse-turned-writer. She’s also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and co-creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching Tomorrow’s Men.
  1. 42 Celebrities with IBS or IBD. Becker’s GI & Endoscopy. https://www.beckersasc.com/gastroenterology-and-endoscopy/42-celebrities-with-ibs-or-ibd.html
  2. Pete Davidson is Back to Smoking Marijuana Regularly: Everything He’s Said About Sobriety. People. https://people.com/tv/everything-pete-davidson-said-sobriety/
  3. SNL star Pete Davidson tells HIGH TIMES pot keeps his Crohn's Disease in check. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF-Gj-lRS28
  4. What Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week Means to Me. HuffPost. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mikemccready/crohns-colitis-week_b_2259921.html
  5. Mike McReady Raises Funds for Crohn’s and Colitis. PearlJam.com. https://pearljam.com/acts/news/mike-mccready-raises-funds-for-crohns-colitis
  6. Shannon Doherty & Crohn’s Disease. IBD Disease Center of Excellence. http://ibddiseasemd.com/shannen-doherty-crohns-disease
  7. President Eisenhower and His Bowel Obstruction. American College of Surgeons. http://bulletin.facs.org/2017/11/president-eisenhower-and-his-bowel-obstruction/
  8. How Crohn’s Disease Helped Anastacia Reach the Top. Daily Mail. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-109012/How-Crohns-disease-helped-Anastacia-reach-top.html
  9. An NFL Player’s Battle with Crohn’s. Guideposts. https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/sports/an-nfl-players-battle-with-crohns
  10. The Big News on Crohn’s: Cynthia McFadden’s Story. Celebrity Health Minute. http://celebrityhealthminute.com/2010/11/08/the-big-news-on-crohns-cynthia-mcfaddens-story/
  11. Gut Check: Kevin Dineen. USA Hockey Magazine. http://www.usahockeymagazine.com/article/2010-04/gut-check-kevin-dineen
  12. Kathleen Baker Refuses to Let Crohn’s Disease Interfere with Swimming Goals. SportsEngine. https://community.sportsengine.com/news_article/show/937278
  13. Olympic Gold Medalist Kathleen Baker Shares About Swimming with Crohn’s Disease. Swimming World. https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/olympic-gold-medalist-kathleen-baker-shares-about-swimming-with-crohns-disease/


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