5 Celebrities With Gout

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Cindy Kuzma on September 22, 2021
  • close up of man's hand
    Gout: Not Simply a Royal Affliction
    Gout may be most commonly associated with kings of old, but modern-day actors, artists, and even athletes also suffer from its debilitating effects. For some, the pain has interfered with their careers and lives. Others have worked to increase awareness and understanding of the disease.
  • Jared Leto giving acceptance speech at MTV Movie Awards
    1. Jared Leto
    The actor gained 60 pounds quickly to play the role of Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon. He developed pain in his feet, and after he dropped the weight in a similarly rapid fashion, he was diagnosed with gout. Overweight men are more likely to develop the disease, and fast or extreme weight loss can increase the amount of uric acid in the blood.
  • Laurence Olivier on BBC radio
    2. Sir Laurence Olivier
    Considered by some to be the greatest English-speaking actor of the 20 th century, even knighthood couldn’t save the thespian from a gout flare-up. The disease flared up during filming of 1965’s Bunny Lake Is Missing when Olivier was 58. Men are more likely to develop gout than women, especially between the ages of 40 and 50. However, women’s risk increases after menopause.
  • Pitcher David Wells
    3. David Wells
    A left-handed pitcher who most famously played for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, Wells experienced gout in both feet. In his 2003 autobiography, he described the pain as “somebody drilling a hole in my big toe.” During attacks, Wells took high doses of the anti-inflammatory naproxen in the hope that the pain would subside enough for him to pitch. Your doctor may recommend either anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids to manage the symptoms of an attack.
  • Don Nelson at press conference
    5. Don Nelson
    This coach and athlete spent 14 years as a player in the NBA and more than 30 years on the sideline, including two stints as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. When he won his 1,200th game in December 2006, the New York Times reported that he limited his celebration to just one cigar and one beer to avoid aggravating his gout. Drinking alcohol is linked to both the development of the disease and the occurrence of new attacks.
  • Basketball Coach Maurice Cheeks
    6. Maurice Cheeks
    Another NBA figure, Cheeks was a four-time All-Star player and a coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks said that although he suffered tough injuries in his playing career, he’d never experienced anything as painful and debilitating as gout. He has worked with the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society to raise awareness of the risk factors and triggers for gout, which include obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • senior man on laptop
    Act Fast When Gout Strikes
    Don’t let gout keep you out of the game—or any other activity you enjoy. See your doctor as soon as you develop symptoms, which can include a sore, swollen big toe that often develops at night. Getting treatment quickly can prevent the disease from spreading and damaging your joints.
5 Celebrities With Gout
  1. “Ansel Adams and the American Landscape: A Biography.” By Jonathan Spaulding. University of California Press (October 20, 1998), pp. 319-20.;
  2. “Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches, and Baseball.” By David Wells and Chris Kreski. Harper Paperbacks (2004), pp. 189, 225, 353.;
  3. Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout, ABC News, May 23, 2008 (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4922541&page=1);
  4. Gout, American Academy of Family Physicians, March 2010 (http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/bone/372.html);
  5. Gout, NIH SeniorHealth, March 19, 2009 (http://nihseniorhealth.gov/gout/printerFriendly.html);
  6. Laurence Olivier-Biography, IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000059/bio);
  7. Leto Diagnosed With Gout, IMDB, Aug. 17, 2006 (http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0051434/);
  8. What Is Gout? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, July 2010 (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/gout_ff.asp);
  9. Jared Leto gains 60 pounds to play Mark David Chapman, Daily News Online, March 21, 2008 (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2008/03/23/2008-03-23_jared_leto_gains_60_pounds_to_...;
  10. A Sore Toe May Mean Wells’s Gout Is Back, The New York Times, Feb. 18, 1997 (http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/18/sports/a-sore-toe-may-mean-wells-s-gout-is-back.html); Nelson, an Old-School Revolutionary, Revives a Franchise and His Career,” The New York Times, Dec. 17, 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/sports/basketball/17hoops.html);
  11. NBA Coach Maurice Cheeks Teams Up with the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES) to Call a 'Time Out for Gout,’ PR Newswire (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nba-coach-maurice-cheeks-teams-up-with-the-gout--uric-acid-e...;
  12. Bunny Lake is Missing, Turner Classic Movies (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/76245|0/Bunny-Lake-Is-Missing.html);
  13. Definition: gout,Webster’s online dictionary (http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/gout);
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Sep 22
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.