Celebrities! They’re just like us, but sometimes it’s easy to pretend they are somehow better than us––especially when it comes to their health. It doesn’t matter how famous or rich you are because sleep disorders can be an equal opportunity offender. This is especially true of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA affects millions of people every year, and that includes celebrities. This is a sleep disorder where the body obstructs the airways during sleep because of sagging muscles in the throat and mouth. These obstructions can hinder quality sleep and cause sufferers to experience excessive daytime fatigue, headaches, irritability, and a host of other symptoms. While those with OSA can suffer from mild, moderate, or severe incarnations of the disorder, all need a similar type of CPAP or AutoPAP treatment that can only be diagnosed through sleep testing from a reliable provider.
See if you were able to guess anyone on this list!
1: Shaquille O’Neal
He was a legend on the basketball court because of his 7 foot, 325-pound frame, but Shaq wasn’t only facing opponents on the court. He was diagnosed with a moderate form of sleep apnea, which can be common in large people because of the extra pressure the body puts on the respiratory system during sleep. After being fitted for a CPAP mask, Shaq mentioned that he saw quick improvement in all aspects of his life.
2: Anne Rice
Anne Rice is a literary legend known for creating vampire favorites like Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned. Perhaps part of her affinity for these nocturnal monsters was because she had her own issues sleeping at night? Rice suffered from sleep apnea because of her struggle with obesity. After undergoing gastric bypass surgery, her sleep apnea cleared up because of the reduced weight on her chest during sleep.
3: Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin had all the answers on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire but didn’t have any idea what the problem was when his wife begged him to go to the doctor for his incredibly loud snoring. Turns out, Reg had sleep apnea which was causing his abominable snoring and unhappy wife. After his diagnosis, he was fitted for a CPAP machine and both he and his wife are sleeping much more soundly these days.
4: Larry the Cable Guy
GITRDONE! You know the call of Larry the Cable Guy, and you likely know he isn’t really a cable guy either. But this fun-loving fan of Southern culture also struggles with sleep apnea as a result of his weight and lifestyle habits. Larry shared his diagnosis with fans during an interview for his movie Tooth Fairy 2. He sought the appropriate treatment and can continue bringing fans laughs for years to come.
5: Randy Jackson
You probably know Randy as the third judge on the original American Idol, but did you know he also has sleep apnea? Randy was actually diagnosed with both sleep apnea and Type II Diabetes at the same time. It’s common for those suffering from untreated sleep apnea to develop more severe health concerns down the road, and Randy got hit with a double whammy. However, with CPAP and insulin treatments, he’s doing just fine, dawg.
6: Jerry Garcia
We know that the Grateful Dead’s lead singer Jerry Garcia died in 1995 from a heart attack, but his doctors say that his heart attack was exacerbated by sleep apnea. Like Randy Jackson above, sleep apnea often leads to significant health concerns like heart attack, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and even types of cancers. He was a hippie who made love and not war, but use his memory as a reminder that sleep apnea is serious if left untreated.
7: Rosie O’Donnell
Rosie is a larger than life TV personality and, like most other things in her life, her road to sleep apnea diagnosis was televised. She underwent a home sleep test led by her personal doctor in order to see if she suffered from sleep apnea. She had a very severe case of this disorder which caused her to wake up over 200 times that night and she frequently stopped breathing for up to 40 seconds! She was immediately diagnosed and given a CPAP––she believes this changed her life for the better.
8: Adam Savage
You know him as the frontman on the scientific exploration show MythBusters, and, if you’ve followed his career, you also know he went through a 30 Lb weight loss journey. Savage participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) where he revealed that he was diagnosed with sleep apnea. However, after losing those 30 pounds, all of his sleep apnea symptoms went away. Savage emphatically referred to himself as “one of the lucky ones.”
9: Brett Favre
Most people think of OSA as a condition for those who are out of shape, but the disorder is what former Viking Quarterback, Brett Favre, said led to his premature decision to retire from professional football. After undergoing sleep apnea testing, Favre was diagnosed with OSA despite being an extremely physically fit individual. After he learned of his condition, he immediately sought treatment. “I haven’t felt this good since the first time I tried on a pair of Wrangler jeans,” Favre said. “My CPAP makes me feel like a man.”
10: William Shatner
He dared to go where no man had gone before as Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek, but he was one of several millions of people who have experienced and suffered from OSA. Like others on this list, we’re pleased to report that Shatner is still kickin’ after receiving CPAP therapy. “After I was diagnosed with sleep apnea 10 years ago, my CPAP machine changed my life,” Shatner says.If you’re concerned you may also be suffering from sleep apnea, you’re in good company. Just know that, regardless of your severity, sleep apnea can have adverse health effects and does require you to get testing in order to get a CPAP prescription. If you’re interested in seeking out more information, you can learn more about sleep testing and ApneaMed here.