10 Celebrities With Diabetes


There are currently 30.3 million Americans living with diabetes, so it should come as no surprise that celebrities are among their ranks. From actors to musicians to sports stars to beauty queens, learn about 10 famous people who are managing Type 1[1] or Type 2[2] as part of their daily routines.

Tom Hanks[3]
Tom Hanks (Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com)

1. Tom Hanks
Type 2 diabetes
Diagnosed in 2013, Oscar-winning actor Hanks recounted the day he learned he had diabetes to then Late Show host David Letterman[4]: “I went to the doctor and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you’ve graduated, you’ve got Type 2 diabetes, young man.’” Since his diagnosis, Hanks has made lifestyle changes, including improving his diet and regularly exercising, and is reaping the health rewards of these new habits.

Nick Jonas[5]
Nick Jonas (Photo: a katz / Shutterstock.com)

2. Nick Jonas
Type 1 diabetes
Formerly part of teen sensations The Jonas Brothers, Jonas has become a serious solo performer in his own right. His singing, acting, and touring career has taken off, all while he has successfully managed his Type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed at 13 while on tour, he quickly adopted a positive attitude and commitment to managing his disease.

James Earl Jones[6]
James Earl Jones (Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com)

3. James Earl Jones
Type 2 diabetes
One of America’s most distinguished and versatile actors, Jones has been acting for more than 60 years. He has won multiple Emmys, a Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Academy Honorary Award. Jones was “accidentally” diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after being spotted falling asleep on a gymnasium bench by a doctor and encouraged to seek testing.

Mike Golic[7]
Mike Golic

4. Mike Golic
Type 2 diabetes
Golic might be best known for his years on ESPN’s popular morning and radio show, Mike & Mike. That followed a successful nine-season NFL career as a defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, and the Houston Oilers. But Golic has also had a third career — 12 years of successfully managing Type 2 diabetes.

RaeLynn[8]
RaeLynn (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

5. RaeLynn
Type 1 diabetes
From finishing third on The Voice in 2012 to seeing her second single, “God Made Girls,” go gold in 2014, garnering two CMT Music Award nominations, and touring with Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts, RaeLynn moves at a hectic pace. But despite her busy lifestyle, she takes time to manage her Type 1 diabetes, which she has done since diagnosis at age 12.

S. Epatha Merkerson[9]
S. Epatha Merkerson (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

6. S. Epatha Merkerson
Type 2 diabetes
Theater, film, and television actor Merkerson is best known for her long-standing role as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on Law & Order. Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2004 after being tested at a health fair, she is now inspiring others and helping people with the condition learn about proper blood sugar management.

Dominique Wilkins[10]
Dominique Wilkins (Photo: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com)

7. Dominique Wilkins
Type 2 diabetes
Wilkins may be a Basketball Hall of Famer, but his true calling emerged with his unexpected diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes at the age of 40, shortly after retiring from the NBA. He now works with JDRF, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and American Lung Association, among many other causes.

Eric Paslay[11]
Eric Paslay (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

8. Eric Paslay
Type 1 diabetes
If you’re a country music fan, you’ve probably heard of Paslay, a Nashville-based platinum-selling singer and songwriter. After starting to play guitar at age 15, Paslay knew by 18 that music was his path. A longtime advocate for people living with Type 1, Paslay was diagnosed in 1993 at age 10, after his grandmother, a nurse’s assistant, noticed him drinking too many fluids. But having Type 1 diabetes hasn’t slowed down his busy schedule.

Sierra Sandison[12]
Sierra Sandison (Photo: the Miss America Organization / Bruce V. Boyajian)

9. Sierra Sandison
Type 1 diabetes
Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 18, when she was a senior in high school. Inspired by Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, who wore an insulin pump during the competition, Sandison set a goal of wearing her pump on stage in the Miss America competition. Two years later, she reached her goal.

Ben Vereen [13]
Ben Vereen

10. Ben Vereen
Type 2 diabetes
Actor, singer, and dancer Vereen made his Broadway debut in The Prodigal Son at age 18. The legendary star of stage and screen knows that having Type 2 diabetes is no song and dance. But since his 2007 diagnosis, Vereen has been spreading the word that “diabetes is not a death sentence; it’s a life sentence” — taking to the road to share his story with as many people as possible.

Want to learn more about celebrities with diabetes? Read our interviews with Nick Jonas[14], James Earl Jones[15], and others[16]!

Endnotes:
  1. Type 1: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-1-diabetes/
  2. Type 2: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-2-diabetes/
  3. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_672884902.jpg
  4. to then Late Show host David Letterman: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-24461214
  5. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_777178090.jpg
  6. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_94753186.jpg
  7. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/golic3.jpeg
  8. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_1074627953-1.jpg
  9. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_332765093.jpg
  10. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_785357737.jpg
  11. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/shutterstock_186309764.jpg
  12. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/sandison2.jpg
  13. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2018/07/Ben-Vereen-1.jpg
  14. Nick Jonas: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/getting-to-know-you/getting-to-know-you-nick-jonas/
  15. James Earl Jones: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/getting-to-know-you/james-earl-jones-life-diabetes/
  16. and others: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/getting-to-know-you/

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/10-celebrities-with-diabetes/


Diane Fennell: Diane Fennell has been an editor at Diabetes Self-Management magazine since 2003. She is currently the Editorial Director. (Diane Fennell is not a medical professional.)

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