By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie
As part of our endometriosis awareness series, we are sharing the stories of five celebrities with endometriosis (1). We have only included celebrities who have shared publicly about their endometriosis diagnosis.
Editors note: There are many treatments available for endometriosis. The ones discussed in this article may not work for you. A hysterectomy is not a cure. Please discuss any change to your endometriosis treatment with your doctor.
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1. Marilyn Monroe
It is well known that Marylin Monroe (also known as Norma Jeane) died from a drug overdose in 1962 at the age of 36. She did not speak publicly about her endometriosis during her life. It was only after her death that it was revealed that she had endometriosis through letters and accounts from people who knew her.
First husband Dougherty said, ‘Norma Jeane had so much trouble during her menstrual periods, the pain would just about knock her out.’– Anthony Summers, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe
She was often bedbound with severe menstrual cramps that prevented her from working. At the time, the main treatment for endometriosis was strong painkillers. As Marylin desired children, she refused to have any of her reproductive organs removed (2). Many people believe that Marilyn’s death was related to her dependency on painkillers to manage her endometriosis pain (3).
For God’s sakes Dear Doctor no ovaries removed– Marilyn Monroe (1952), From a letter to her doctor April 28th, 1952
2. Whoopi Goldberg
The popular actor, Whoopi Goldberg is also a well-known advocate for endometriosis (4). She is committed to raising awareness to prevent people from living with the consequences of being undiagnosed (6).
“You have to take whatever stigma people think that is there. You have to take it. It’s not male or female. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with, here’s a disease you don’t know about and you need to know about it. It’s that simple. It’s not rocket science.”Whoopi Goldberg (2009), 2009 Endo Foundations Blossom Ball
Whoopi also owned a medicinal cannabis company called Whoopi and Maya from 2016-2020 which was centred around period pain relief.
Halsey was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016 and has been open about her treatment journey on Instagram (5). She has also donated and raised over $300,000 for endometriosis research (6).
“For those of you who have followed this battle of mine or who may suffer with it yourself, you know the extremes to which it can be mentally exhausting and physically painful.”Halsey (2017), Instagram
Earlier this year, she announced her first pregnancy. Halsey has also shared in the past about her multiple miscarriages and surgeries (6).
4. Emma Bunton
The Spice Girls singer, Emma Bunton, was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 25. Like many who are diagnosed at a young age, she did not know how it would affect her fertility. She was told that she had a 50% chance of conceiving (7).
“That nearly broke me. I knew I had the right partner; I knew I wanted to be a mum,”Emma Bunton, Stella Magazine
Emma went on to have two sons; Beau in 2007 and Tate in 2010 (8).
5. Tia Mowry
The Sister Sister actor Tia Mowry is an advocate of the anti-inflammatory diet which she uses as part of her endometriosis treatment (5). She was first diagnosed in 2006 and has had laparoscopic surgery to treat it (9).
“Although I’ve had my own powerful healing experience, that does not give me the expertise or credentials to offer specific healing advice to anyone with a serious condition,”Tia Mowry
Tia has since written a cookbook called Whole New You. She has gone on to have two children and lists her change in diet as a contributing factor to getting pregnant with endometriosis (9).