Celebrities and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Somewhere between 17-24 million people across the world suffer from a condition that is known as chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.

Many of them are celebrities. Some of them would rather keep this quiet, for the sake of their careers, but many of them have made their struggles public.

Following are ten of the ones that have opened up about the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Not only have these individuals opened up, they have also raised funds, written books, made movies, and done what they can do in order to rid the world of the thought that the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome is “all in their heads.”

Laura Hillenbrand

Laura Hillenbrand: author of well-known books such as Unbroken and Seabiscuit. She developed this condition when she was in college.

Keith Jarret

Keith Jarret: one of the most famous jazz musicians in America. He developed this condition in 1996- and for several years was unable to play or even listen to music.

Michelle Akers: former soccer star and Olympic athlete that played more than 130 international matches over 15 years. She played until she couldn’t play anymore.

Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards: a film director/producer/screenwriter that started out in silent films and is most well-known for his work on the Pink Panther. He struggled with the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome for 15 years, describing it as the flu that wouldn’t go away.

Randy Newman: a composer/pianist/singer that is most known for his work on several film scores. He was diagnosed with the condition in the 1980s.

Mama Chill: a rap artist from Britain that has written songs based on this condition, and donates all profits to a foundation dedicated to research of chronic fatigue syndrome.


Cher: American actress/singer who became famous in the 1960s as half of Sonny & Cher. She was sent to Belgium for treatment and made a full recovery.

John Rutter: British composer of chorus shows. He suffered from the condition from 1985 to 1992 and had to stop working because he was unable to meet the necessary deadlines.

Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford: British singer/actor that developed this condition in 2004, when what he assumed was the flu culminated into a full physical meltdown. After 7 years, he returned to the stage.

Leigh Hatcher: one of the most well-known journalists in Australia. After developing the condition, he was forced to quit work for over 2 years.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome- also referred to as CFS- is a term used to describe prolonged lethargy, or just being tired all the time, that isn’t associated with any other particular condition or disease.

Simple rest does not improve the condition, and the fatigue can become worse following any mental or physical exertion.

There is no clear-cut cause for this condition, but there are lots of theories floating around from psychological stress to viral infections.

There are some experts that believe this condition could be triggered by a combination of different factors.

There are no specific tests that exist to confirm a diagnosis of CFS. Your physician will most likely recommend a battery of medical tests in order to rule out any other potential health problems that are characterized by similar signs and symptoms.

The primary focus of treatments for the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome is relieving the symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of CFS

There are eight “official” signs and symptoms that characterize the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Loss of concentration/memory
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes in armpits or neck
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Pain that moves from one joint to another
  • Fatigue/extreme exhaustion that lasts over 24 hours
  • Not refreshed by sleep
  • New headaches, or change in severity/pattern

Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

As already stated, the primary focus of treatment of this condition focuses on relieving the symptoms.


Since the condition of CFS affects different people in different ways, treatment is going to be tailored to you and your specific symptoms. Your physician may prescribe medications to help relieve your symptoms:

Antidepressants: many times, individuals with this condition also have depression. Treating the depression can make it much easier for you to deal with the other issues that characterize the condition of CFS.

In addition, lowered dosages of some of these medications can help you to experience pain relief as well as relief from insomnia.

Sleeping pills: if self-care measures, such as avoiding too much caffeine don’t help you rest at night, you may speak with your physician about prescription sleeping medications.


In some cases, the most effective treatment for this condition seems to be gentle exercise accompanied by psychological counseling.

Graded exercise: you can work with a physical therapist in order to find out which exercises will work best for you.

Individuals who are inactive will often begin with stretching and/or range-of-motion exercises for just a few minutes each day.

If you find that you’re completely drained the following day, you did too much. Over time, your endurance and strength will gradually improve as you increase the intensity of the exercises and stretching.

Psychological counseling: speaking with a counselor can help you to determine the options you have for working around the limitations caused by CFS.

When you feel in control of your situation and your life, your overall outlook is drastically improved.

One thing you must remember is that this is a real condition- it is not all in your head- you are truly exhausted.

While there is no treatment that will cure the condition of CFS, you can relieve your symptoms and make life easier for yourself. When you feel exhausted, it’s okay to rest.

It’s perfectly okay to say no if you feel like you’re being stretched too thin. Remember, you must take care of yourself first and foremost. You can’t do anything for anyone if you’re completely drained, right?

If you feel like you’re suffering from the condition of chronic fatigue syndrome like the celebrities mentioned above- and countless others in the world- speak with your physician about what you’re feeling. He or she will help you determine what is going on.



1 Comment

  • I have been diagnosed with chronic pain. Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia and had Dengue Fever to boot in the last 3 months. Worst 3 months of my life and to make matters worse I went off all my pain meds just prior to this diagnosis so now I’ve got lots of pain and loads of discomfort and no relief. Could someone please post as to how they are treating this severe illness?

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