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Celebrities with Type 1 Diabetes wearing CGM

One of our many superpowers as diabetics is that we can easily spot a fellow diabetic in a crowd. We’ve all experienced it – you see someone with a CGM on their arm or an insulin pump peeking out of their pocket and you can’t just walk by without saying something. “Do you have diabetes? Me too!” Even though you’re complete strangers, you immediately have a connection. Only fellow diabetics understand the highs and lows of the disease.

The same thing happens when we see a famous person sporting a CGM. When we find out a celebrity has diabetes, we feel a sense of connection. We identify with them and know the extra work they have to do off-camera or backstage to manage their blood sugars. At the same time, it’s inspiring to see that people with diabetes can achieve anything. Diabetes doesn’t have to stop anyone from living the life they want and doing incredible things.

There are plenty of people with diabetes living their dreams and accomplishing amazing things. Of course, it’s a challenge to manage diabetes while touring the world playing concerts, or training for the Olympics. But there’s no reason diabetes has to keep anyone from doing what they love. Here are just a few of our favorite famous diabetics and their stories that inspire us to live life without limits. 

Singer & Musicians

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas Dexcom G7 CGM
https://www.instagram.com/nickjonas/

Nick Jonas has long been outspoken about his journey with diabetes, so you’re probably not surprised to see he’s the first on our list. The singer and former Disney star is often pictured in magazines and on TV with his Dexcom sensor – he even starred in a Dexcom Super Bowl commercial in 2023!

Jonas was diagnosed at 13 years old. He had lost weight and noticed symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, and irritability. The diagnosis left Jonas and his family devastated. Jonas and his brothers were already pursuing a music career, but the diagnosis left him questioning if he would be able to continue.

“I was thinking that this might end my dream of being able to tour the world and play our music,” said Jonas in an interview with Beyond Type 1. “It was frightening. And really saddening. I think seeing my parents so distraught as well was really tough.”

But Jonas didn’t let the diagnosis hold him back. With the support of his family, he’s been able to manage type 1 diabetes and continue his music career. The Jonas Brothers have made countless hit songs and toured the world playing their music. Throughout his career, Jonas has raised awareness about type 1 diabetes. He is one of the founders of the nonprofit Beyond Type 1. He’s openly talked about his diagnosis and how he manages his glucose with such a busy schedule. “I proudly wear my Dexcom on my arm and wear a cut off shirt on stage to show it,” he mentioned in an interview for STAT news

Este Haim

https://beyondtype1.org/este-haim-interview/

Este Haim has known she wanted to be a rockstar since childhood. The bassist, singer, and songwriter formed the band HAIM with her sisters and has also composed scores for movies and television series.

But her path to stardom wasn’t without its rough patches. At 14, Haim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her doctor sternly warned her that life as a rockstar would now be impossible for her. Thankfully, Haim’s parents told her not to take life advice from her doctor and encouraged her to continue pursuing her goals. 

Haim doesn’t shy away from discussing her struggles with diabetes. Like many teens with type 1, she struggled to manage her blood sugars throughout high school and college. She shared in an interview with Levels that as a teen she rationed insulin so she wouldn’t gain weight, and avoided testing her blood sugar so that her doctor wouldn’t see her high blood sugar. In college and the early years of her music career, she struggled to eat a balanced diet and get enough rest. Over the years, she’s gone through periods of diabetes burnout, and she’s spoken out about the toll diabetes takes on mental health. 

“I think something that I struggled with, something a lot of people with diabetes struggles with, is perfection,” she stated in an interview for Beyond Type 1. “We were taught to look at high blood sugars as a failure. I think that leads to diabetes burnout because you’re constantly trying to be perfect. Mentally, there’s only so much of that you can take without feeling like a failure.”

A turning point for Haim was when she finally began using a CGM. Within just a couple of months, she was able to lower her A1C and improve her habits. She credits her CGM with helping her avoid further health complications she was at risk for due to high blood sugar. 

Now, she wears her Dexcom on her arm as a way to identify herself as a person with diabetes and start conversations with other diabetics. Diabetes hasn’t prevented her from touring and doing what she loves best – sharing her and her sisters’ music with the world. 

Eric Paslay

https://www.instagram.com/ericpaslay/

Eric Paslay is a Grammy-nominated country singer and songwriter. But music wasn’t his first career choice. At age ten, Paslay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and as a teenager, he dreamed of helping kids with type 1 diabetes as a pediatric endocrinologist. But soon his passion for music eclipsed his plan to become a doctor.

In a way, diabetes helped Paslay to dream big. He remembers his time at diabetes camps fondly, not only because they taught him how to manage his diabetes, but also because there he learned that no dream was too big. 

Speaking with Beyond Type 1 about his time spent at diabetes camp, he recalls, “A lot of the nurses and the counselors have type 1, so these little kids are getting to look up to people they admire. As a kid you think, “They’re cool —and they climb mountains and hike with type 1 diabetes—if they can do that, I can do anything.”

He credits his positive role models with diabetes for helping him go outside his comfort zone. “I think being diagnosed with T1D as a kid has encouraged me to reach further than I otherwise would have.”

Although he didn’t become an endocrinologist, Paslay is an active diabetes advocate. He also recorded a podcast called Level with Me, where he interviewed several people with type 1 diabetes.

Bret Michaels

https://www.instagram.com/bretmichaelsofficial/

Bret Michaels, the frontman of the band Poison, is no stranger to health scares. He’s suffered a brain hemorrhage, a hole in his heart, and kidney surgery. But one health problem in particular has been a constant struggle throughout his life. Michaels was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old.

As a kid, it was tough being the only one at school with diabetes. Low blood sugar would cause him to pass out, and some parents who mistakenly believed that diabetes was contagious wouldn’t let their kids hang out with Michaels. 

Despite the challenges, Michaels was determined to be successful. And instead of limiting him, he feels that diabetes has helped him achieve his goals. “My challenge was brought on early because I had no choice,” he said in an interview for Yahoo Life. “And in some great way it really helped me step up to the plate.”

Talking about diabetes hasn’t always been easy for Michaels. But a scary incident during a concert made him realize that he needed to speak out about his condition. In 1987, he was onstage with Poison at Madison Square Garden, when suddenly his blood sugar dropped and he passed out. He had to be rushed to the hospital. People began to speculate what might have caused the incident, and Michaels knew it was time to tell the world that he has type 1 diabetes.

Giving back to the diabetes community has always been important to Michaels. He’s founded a diabetes camp and started the Life Rocks Foundation, which helps send kids with diabetes to diabetes camps. When he won “Celebrity Apprentice,” he donated his earnings to the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Crystal Bowersox

https://www.facebook.com/neilsegalsperformancephotography/photos/t.100044198961002/739350982885568/

Crystal Bowersox was a contestant on the 9th season of American Idol, and has been making music ever since. She learned an important lesson on the show that’s stuck with her.

Bowersox was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old. As a fiercely independent person, Bowersox felt capable of handling her diabetes on her own. When she started Idol, she didn’t mention that she had type 1 diabetes because she didn’t want it to be viewed as an advantage or disadvantage. But that quickly changed when she was hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis during her time on the show. “The fire that was lit was really in the realization I had after they let me come back to the competition, and that this really was a platform I could use for good and share my story, help raise awareness and possibly inspire others living with Type 1 diabetes,” she said speaking to Celeb Secrets

These days, Bowersox doesn’t hold back from speaking about diabetes. She’s teamed up with Lilly Diabetes and promoted their Know Before the Low campaign to help people recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar.

Actors

Halle Berry

https://www.instagram.com/halleberry/

Famous for her role as Catwoman, Halle Berry started out as a fashion model and went on to become an Oscar-winning actress. At 22, her world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She was severely ill and went into a coma for several days. 

Once she had recovered from the initial crisis that led to her diagnosis, Berry knew that her lifestyle would have to change. “It was a moment I’ll never forget,” she said in an interview for Insider. “I had to respin the way I lived my life and have carried that with me ever since.” Berry started on a keto diet to help manage her diabetes and has been on it ever since.

She’s long claimed that she was able to stop taking insulin thanks to her healthy diet, something that has caused controversy in the diabetes community. Type 1 diabetics need insulin therapy, and even with a strict diet, they need insulin to live. Reports suggest that she may have been misdiagnosed and actually has type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is not uncommon. 

James Norton

https://www.instagram.com/jginorton/

James Norton has gained fame as an actor in television series like Happy Valley, Grantchester, and BBC’s War and Peace. He’s also starred in films and theater productions. 

Norton grew up taking care of his little sister, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 9. He knew how to help her if her blood sugar was high or low. But he never expected that one day he would also be diagnosed with the disease.

When the symptoms arrived, Norton was in denial. But he knew the signs and finally went to the doctor, where he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22 years old. 

It took time for Norton to adjust to life with diabetes. He enjoyed drinking and partying, but he knew that he needed to make changes to take care of his health. Now he’s strict about keeping his blood sugar under control. That’s not always easy as a busy actor, but he’s happy to have diabetes tech like the Dexcom CGM system to help.

Norton hesitated to talk about diabetes at the beginning of his career, as he wanted to be known for his acting skills and not just as “the diabetic actor.” But once he opened up about it in public, he knew he could make a positive impact on other people with type 1 diabetes. 

“I love my work and I love being an actor. I also enjoy the sideshow of being in the public eye, going to all the parties and that stuff – but the most rewarding part of that whole thing has been communicating with diabetics or parents of diabetics. Without being too grand, it’s like acknowledging that I can be a role model to people. I didn’t become THE diabetic actor at all,” he stated in an interview for Lampoon.

Alexandra Park

https://www.instagram.com/alexandrapark1/

Alexandra Park is an Australian actress known for her roles in the television series Home and Away and The Royals

Park was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 23 years old. She was totally unfamiliar with the disease and it took time for her doctors to recognize her symptoms and get her the needed testing for diabetes. 

The diagnosis was tough for Park. She was in denial at first and struggled to manage her blood sugar with her busy acting schedule. She felt overwhelmed and alone. Shortly after her diagnosis, she got her role on The Royals. She didn’t want diabetes to get in the way of her career, but she was struggling with extremely low blood sugar incidents and her doctors were worried.

A huge relief came for Park when she started using an insulin pump. She uses a Minimed 780g with a Guardian 4 sensor. “This CGM tells the pump what to do,” she told Beyond Type 1 in an interview. “It’s so accurate. I actually feel safe—like I can rely on this thing. It gives me so much information that I never had before.” With her insulin pump and CGM, she doesn’t have to make as many decisions as she did with injections, lessening the mental burden of diabetes. 

Her diabetes journey has inspired Park to get involved with diabetes advocacy and even write a book about her story, Sugar High: The Unexpected Journey of an Inexperienced Type 1 Diabetic. Park donates 10% of the book’s earnings to the organization Life for a Child, which helps provide insulin and diabetes education to kids who need it. She’s also partnered with Medtronic to help educate people about diabetes tech that can change the lives of people with diabetes.

Derek Theler

https://www.instagram.com/derektheler/

For Derek Theler, diabetes has virtually always been a part of his life. The actor, known for TV roles like The Baby Daddy and Marvel’s New Warriors, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3. His younger sister also has type 1, so growing up he always had the support of someone who could understand that aspect of his life. 

As an actor, Theler faced challenges managing the stresses of auditions and diabetes. He didn’t want to mention that he had type 1 to the producers and directors, but he realized that it was better to be open about his diabetes. Now he’s upfront with his directors from the start and explains to them that his glucose is under control and what he needs if his blood sugar drops. 

When asked by Beyond Type 1 what advice he’d give to others with type 1 diabetes, he said, “You shouldn’t be ashamed of it. You have to be more responsible, but you can still achieve any of your goals.”

Theler is enthusiastic about supporting the diabetes community and raising awareness. He has teamed up with Dexcom in the past to raise money for diabetes charities.

Models

Lila Moss

https://www.instagram.com/lilamoss/

Lila Moss, the ravishing fashion model daughter of Kate Moss, is bringing diabetes to the runway. Moss was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8, and she doesn’t shy away from showing off her diabetes tech.

Moss was left in shock by the diagnosis. She didn’t know much about diabetes, and the realization that she would have to deal with the disease for the rest of her life was hard to take in. “When they told me, I was kind of just like in shock,” she said in a video for Vogue. “I was like, I didn’t even know what that means, and then the reality set in of like, you’re gonna have this forever.” 

 

But diabetes hasn’t held Moss back from pursuing a modeling career. As she struts the red carpet in Fendi, Burberry, and Miu Miu, she’s also showing off her Omnipod and Freestyle Libre. 

Moss knows how life-changing diabetes tech can be, which is why she flaunts her devices on the runway. She also raises awareness by posting on social media, and teaming up with Diabetes UK for their Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait campaign.

Bambi Northwood Blyth

https://www.instagram.com/bambilegit/

Bambi Northwood Blyth is an Australian model whose career takes her all over the world. She’s been featured on the covers of top fashion magazines and walked the runways throughout Europe and the US. 

Blyth was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11 years old, which was a total shock to her and her family. They didn’t have any family history of the disease and didn’t know anything about it. Like most newly diagnosed diabetics, Blyth and her family had to learn everything they could about caring for diabetes during her week-long hospital stay, before taking on the daily challenges of diabetes at home. 

Despite the unexpected diagnosis, Blyth didn’t let diabetes get in her way. At just 14, she won a modeling competition, and within a few years became recognized internationally. 

Modeling is a challenging career for a diabetic. From hectic flight schedules, managing jetlag, and figuring out how to carb count in unfamiliar places, it’s not always easy to manage diabetes with so many factors affecting your blood glucose. Blyth has expressed how grateful she is for diabetes tech, like the Dexcom CGM, that helps her stay on top of her blood sugar with such a busy schedule.

“The Dexcom CGM device (continuous glucose monitor) has played a great role in helping me stay on top of my blood sugars, especially with time differences and running around locations, being able to just pick up my phone and see my level and my direction I’m heading, gives me ease,” Blyth said in a Marie Claire article.

Blyth is an active advocate, as a JDRF type 1 diabetes role model and Dexcom Warrior. She also often posts about diabetes on social media.

Celebrities with diabetes can be a huge inspiration, especially when they use their platform to raise awareness and encourage people with diabetes to pursue their passions. Diabetes doesn’t have to be an obstacle to success, and all of these famous diabetics are proof that people with diabetes can do anything they set their minds to. 

Let us know if we missed anyone, send us a DM @notjustapatch

If you have type 1 diabetes, we’d love to hear your story! — who knows who you might inspire!

And don’t forget to keep up with the latest diabetes news, research, and tech here on the NJAP blog.

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