Healthy Living

15 Famous People Faced with the Pain of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

15 Famous People Faced with the Pain of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sometimes when life comes along and deals a hand that is less than ideal, it can help to know that other people out there are in a similar situation. Celebrities often appear perfect in the media, and can influence the lives of people of all ages. 

When we learn of the struggles that they have, it reminds us that we are all human. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) can be life-altering diagnoses that affect an individual’s everyday living. Seeing how celebrities overcome these obstacles in their lives can be inspiring and reassuring. 

If you or someone you know is affected by Crohn’s or UC, it may help you to know that the following 15 celebrities have had their own struggles with IBD.

1. Dwight D. Eisenhower

In 1956 President Eisenhower was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He was then hospitalized at Walter Reed Hospital where he had surgery. After his surgery he carried on to serve a second term as president.

2. Shannen Doherty

Doherty played Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills 90210 as well as Prue Halliwell in Charmed. As someone that has been in two very popular TV shows she is well known to the public. During her filming career she privately battled Crohn’s. Eventually in 1999 she disclosed to Star Magazine what she had been struggling with. She explained that she had not told the public about this because it wasn’t “very sexy.” This is something that many people with Crohn’s or UC struggle with. If more people come forward and discuss their conditions openly, it can help destigmatize it. People should not have to feel afraid to discuss something that so drastically affects their lives just because they do not “feel sexy.”

3. Theoren Fleury

This Canadian Hockey star was diagnosed in 1995 with Crohn’s disease and is now a motivational speaker. Fleury is retired but is a Stanley Cup Champion and a gold medal winner, helping to inspire people with Crohn’s and UC everywhere.

4. Amy Brenneman

Brenneman has starred in shows such as Judging Amy, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice. She has taken her fame and used it to support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. After years of struggling with UC Brenneman finally had surgery, which she believes healed her. Her personal story can help give others strength to continue the fight.

5. Ben Morrison

Humor can be used to make sensitive and uncomfortable situations more relatable, and comedian Ben Morrison has been using his sense of humor to destigmatize Crohn’s and UC by referring to it as a “poop disease.” He has created a show that he calls “Pain in the Butt: a Touching Tale about a Touchy Tail.”

6. Matt Light

The New England Patriots Offensive Lineman spent 10 years battling Crohn’s after being diagnosed in 2001. During his football career he missed a lot of games and could not take Crohn’s medications. After years of struggling with Crohn’s, he had surgery to remove a large portion of his intestine. Since retiring from football, he has decided to take his experience and share it with others, hoping to raise awareness and educate people about Crohn’s disease.

Read on to learn about even more celebrities who have had Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Photo credit: General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander by Marlon Doss; Thunderpussy with Mike McCready by David Lee; Steve Redgrave120 by The Rowing Company