27 Most Shocking Moments in Celebrity Health-2011

Good or Bad, celebrities continue to shock and amaze us, and 2011 was no exception.

From Charlie Sheen’s outburst in February, and Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff admitting to being an alcoholic, to the tragic losses of Steve Jobs, Ryan Dunn, Amy Winehouse and others, 2011 was a year filled with shocking celebrity health moments that will not soon be forgotten.

Below you’ll find our list of the 2011’s 27 most shocking moments in celebrity health.

1. Charlie Sheen Will Make Your Face Melt Off

How could we forget Charlie Sheen‘s rant back in February?

In what was arguably one of the biggest celebrity meltdowns in since Britney Spears in 2008, Charlie Sheen simultaneously got fired from his role on Two and A Half Men, and became an internet sensation.

His comments in interviews with various media outlets raised questions as to whether or not he was using drugs again, but at the time of the infamous 20/20 interview, he was clean.

Dr. Drew Pinsky argued that Charlie Sheen was showing signs of mania at the time, and we detailed the symptoms of manic and depressive episodes.

In the end, Charlie’s outbursts gave him a huge spike in internet traffic, and spawned several items of Charlie Sheen branded Clothing & Accessories based on his outrageous comments.

And if you ask Mr. Sheen how he was able to come out “Winning” he’d simply say;

I’ve got Tiger Blood, bro.

2. Michael Douglas Beats Throat Cancer

Sheen’s “Wall Street” co-star Michael Douglas was diagnosed with throat cancer in August of 2010, but, in January after 7 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, he announced  “The tumor is gone.”

Douglas lost about 35 lbs during his treatment, but regained 12 back by “eating like a pig.”

Perfect timing for Michael Douglas as he began preparing for the Steven Soderbergh directed Behind the Candelabra, an upcoming biopic that tells the story of the “tempestuous relationship” between famed singer Liberace (Douglas) and Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon), his younger lover.

3. Bret Michaels Survives Heart Surgery

In April 2010, 10 days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy, rocker Bret Michaels of Poison and Rock of Love fame suffered a major brain hemorrhage, which landed him in the intensive care unit.

His recovery was marked by a number of set-backs including suffering a “warning stroke” in May. Despite all this, he went on to win Celebrity Apprentice.

It was during the medical evaluation to determine why he had the stroke that physicians diagnosed Michaels with patent forale ovale, a congenital hole in his heart.

The hole in his heart was real, but it was surgery, not a VH1 reality show that was going to fix it. He underwent a successful repair in January 2011.

Michaels told People Magazine:

It was one thing after another…It has been rough. But I’m feeling pretty damn good. I’m really blessed to be here.

4. Barbara Walters Opens Her Heart to the World

What do Barbara Walters and Brett Michaels have in common?

At first glance, you wouldn’t think much, but on February 4th the 20/20 host aired “A Matter of Life and Death” where she spoke with the likes of Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Regis Philbin, Robin Willams, and Charlie Rose about their open heart surgery.

Walters also used her special to turn the cameras on herself to showcase a teachable moment in medicine and document her own surgical journey.

In the special, she talked to doctors, including her own to educate viewers, especially women, on what they need to know about cardiovascular disease (which kills more than 450,000 women a year)

She used her celebrity to promote public health awareness (something we’re a huge fan of at Cdx) and said,

“I didn’t want people to feel that this was going to be an hour lecture,”  “To have these very famous, and in some cases very funny people, meant that they [the viewers] would watch.”

5. Serena Williams Undergoes Treatment for Pulmonary Embolism

Tennis superstar Serena Williams had a rough year.

First her feet were deeply lacerated by a broken glass in 2010 for which she had two surgeries, then in March she had to undergo emergency surgery for a pulmonary embolism.

At the time of diagnosis, she was experiencing shortness of breath and swelling in her leg. She had also developed a hematoma the size of a grapefruit that had to be surgically removed.

Ultimately though, she did very well in the Wimbledon tournament and the US Open Final.

She was also named UNICEF’s international Goodwill Ambassador where she will use her popularity and personal interest in children’s issues to support UNICEF’s mission.

6. Matthew Morrison’s Sweet Potato Abs

Matthew Morrison (aka Will Schuester on Glee) revealed something very interesting about his diet this year.

Before a photo shoot, Morrison will only eat sweet potatoes and drink very little water.

“My trainer said eat nothing apart from sweet potato and very little water.The potato acts as a sponge and your body literally shrinks and gets ripped and tight.”

Of course, he also cycles 100 miles a week, and runs another 25 and does :08 min. Abs daily. He also works on a different muscle of his body for about 20 minutes every day and does resistance training four times a week, AND follows a strict diet that limits even healthy snacks like nuts, AND he doesn’t eat fruit after dark.

Not to mention all of the dancing he does on the set of Glee.

So, if you want abs like Matthew Morrison, be sure to follow all of the steps in his workout routine.

BTW, sweet potatoes and  little water is considered a semi starvation diet and is by no means sustainable.

Still, his abs aren’t all that bad to look at.

7. Keenan Cahill is Dynamite!

Keenan Cahill may very well be the only “non traditional” celebrity on this list, being that his claim to fame is lip syncing famous songs on YouTube and that he’s created his own celebrity status from a webcam in his bedroom.

Don’t let “lip syncing” fool you though, BeenerKeeKee19952 (as he’s known on YouTube) has 567,068 subscribers on YouTube and his videos have been viewed over 360 million times.  He is the 39th most subscribed musician of all time on YouTube.

Keenan frequently features celebrity guest stars in his videos, such as 50 Cent, Flo Rida, Cobra Starship, and Jennifer Aniston, just to name a few.

Now for the amazing thing, he’s only 16 years old.

He also has a rare genetic disorder called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome which prevents his body from breaking down certain complex sugar molecules.

He undergoes weekly enzyme replacement therapy that doctors hope will stabilize his disorder and extend his life. But treatment is expensive which is why Keenan teamed up with members of the San Francisco Giants to start “Dynamite: A Fundraiser for Keenan Cahill”

He’s been involved in several other campaigns, working with NY Knicks, Smartwater, and Wrigley Gum  and he also runs his own clothing line Just Love Apparel.

All this from a kid in his room with a webcam. Amazing!

8.  Missy Elliot with Graves

Wonder why Missy Elliot has been absent from the music scene for the past few years?

In June, Missy Elliot told People Magazine that she had been diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, a thyroid condition, in 2008.

When she was diagnosed, she said the disease had “began affecting her motor skills, followed by a string of symptoms: dizzy spells, lumps in her throat, mood swings, hair loss, a fast heart rate and bulging eyes.”

She was treated with radiation therapy and medication, and is apparently feeling much better.

After being featured on “Behind the Music” she was also voted the second favorite female rapper  by Power99 (though she only lost by .69% margin). She also remixed Last Friday Night by Katy Perry, was featured on Demi Lovato‘s All Night Long, and J. Cole’s Nobody’s Perfect.

It’s good to see the 39 year old rap innovator back in the game, and we hope to hear more from her in 2012.

 9. Harry Potter was an Alcoholic?!

Harry Potter fans may have received a shock when they read in GQ in July  that Daniel Radcliffe was heavily reliant on alcohol while filming Harry Potter in 2009.

“I became so reliant on (alcohol) to enjoy stuff…There were a few years there when I was just so enamored with the idea of living some sort of famous person’s lifestyle that really isn’t suited to me.”“As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn’t work for me. I do that very unsuccessfully. I’m actually enjoying the fact I can have a relationship with my girlfriend where I’m really pleasant and I’m not (expletive) up totally all the time.”

So, it’s good to know that he’s been able to kick the sauce, and Voldemort’s butt in this year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

10. R. Kelly Has a Bump N’ Grind Removed (From His Throat)

In July, R. Kelly was likely saying “I Believe I Can Fly” not because he was feeling inspired, but from the drugs used during an emergency removal of an abscess in one of his tonsils.

He had been complaining of a sore throat but couldn’t get “The Best of Both Worlds” when it came to treatment. Physicians drained the abscess immediately at the hospital.

Though his publicist said he would be “laid up indefinitely” he was nominated for a Soul Train award for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist and received two Grammy nominations for  Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album for his Album “Love Letter

Surely, the singer doesn’t feel like he’s “Trapped in the Closet” anymore.

P.S. He sounded in great form last night on The X Factor-  he sand a duet with contestant Melanie Amaro!

11. Angelina Jolie Eats Bugs

That’s right, Angelina Jolie and her children have revealed that they love eating insects.

Specifically crickets. While shooting a Louis Vuitton ad in Cambodia, Jolie said;

They ate them like Doritos and they wouldn’t stop. But they’re good. They are like a potato chip.”

Angie’s however has really acquired a taste for cockroaches.

“There’s this very pointy bit on their stomach you just can’t eat. You have to kind of pop that off.”

However strange this celebrity diet seems, eating certain insects can actually be good for you. They’re lower in fat, higher in protein, and have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, lamb, pork, or chicken.

They say you are what you eat, now if we could only stop getting stuck in fly traps, this diet would be great.

12. Kim Kardashian Gets a Nasty Rash

After a trip to the dermatologist, Kim discovers that the nasty rash on her legs is psoriasis.

Her doctor let her know that the disease can be influenced by “stress, food, water, diet. Travel has a lot to do with it” and while there’s no “cure” the condition can certainly be controlled and that she should “lead an easier, slower paced life.”

Of course, in an authentic Kim Kardashian moment, she became very flustered, saying;

“My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots. People don’t understand the pressure on me to look perfect…Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots”

Two words Kim, Photo. Shop.


13. I’ll take “Kick Ass Game Show Hosts For $100, Alex”

“He refused to let Lucinda Moyers take cash and the bracelet his mother gave him.”

“Who is Alex Trebek?”

That is correct!”

Before hosting the National Geographic World Championship at the Googleplex, Trebek spotted a 56 year old woman leaving his hotel room.

His first reaction? Chase her down!

Unfortunately for the 71 year old Jeopardy host though, he tore his Achilles tendon while in pursuit .

“My Achilles tendon ruptured and I then fell on carpet, bruising the other leg in process. Surgery on Friday.”

Crazy part is, this story took place on a Wednesday. So Trebek toughed it out for the next three days while walking around on crutches.

Take that Pat Sajak!

14. Dianna Agron Gets a Broken Nose

And no, it’s not because somebody punched her (God, I hate Quinn this season!)

While on the “Glee Live! TourDianna broke her nose for the second time.

The actress broke her nose for the first time at a high school dance when she was 13, causing her to have a deviated septum. She broke her nose again after going dancing with some friends the night before a day off.

”We were in the middle of doing this concert tour and we had gotten into New York and we had a day off the next day. So I met some of my friends out and we were dancing. And there was a collision of sorts – again… It’s fixed now!”

So now that it’s all fixed can Quinn stop being such a mess? Please?

15. Sean Kingston looks at Beautiful Girls – Crashes Jet Ski – Nearly Dies – Twice

After crashing into a bridge, Sean Kingston’s jet ski accident put the 21 year old singer in the ICU with a broken jaw, fractured wrist, and water in his lungs.

After 11 days in the hospital, as he was about to be released, Kingston complained of having a searing pain in his chest which turned out to be a torn aorta and was rushed in resulting in two open heart surgeries.

Now for the good news, Kingston lost 70 pounds, is living a healthier lifestyle, and even played a show with the Black Eyed Peas in September.

16. Steven Tyler Slips in the Tub

Got to hand it to Steven Tyler and the other aging rock stars who made the list.

They spit in the face of getting old. They rock crowds, fill stadiums, and… slip in the tub?

Yup, Steven Tyler, 63, slipped in his Paraguay hotel’s tub and broke two of his teeth and suffered some lacerations to his face.

Of course, everything was repaired within short order, and he was back to his American Idol hosting duties in no time.

17. Tanorexics Everywhere!

Peanut butter and jelly, ice cream and apple pie, celebrities and tanning; all perfect pairs.

But it turns out, being addicted to tanning could be a very real thing.

According to a study by UT Southwestern released this year, Tanorexia is a real condition. The study found that when frequent tanners are exposed to UV light, the reward and addiction centers of the brain light up like a Christmas tree, indicating increased blood flow to these areas.

What about when the UV rays are blocked?You guessed it… these centers become dim as blood flow decreases to these areas.Lead investigator, Dr. Bryon Adinoff, says:

Using tanning beds has rewarding effects in the brain so people may feel compelled to persist in the behavior even though it’s bad for them… The implication is, ‘If it’s rewarding, then could it also be addictive?’ It’s an important question in the field.

18. Bono’s Heart Skips a Beat


You know, Bono has a constitution unlike any other rock star.He’s a humanitarian, a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, an Honorary Knight, a Grammy winner, and was even once named Person of the Year.

So maybe it’s no surprise that he suffered some heart palpitations after wrapping up the 2 year long  360° Tour.Now let’s think about this for a second, Bono goes on tour for two years, films commercials, attends film festivals, oversees projects he founded like Product Red, DATAEDUN, and the ONE Campaign

And all he get’s are some heart palpitations? Heck, smokers who sit around and do nothing get heart palpitations.

In the end,  his doctors gave him a clean bill of health and told him to “Get some rest.”

It’s unlikely though.Knowing Bono, there are still too many issues in the world that haven’t been solved yet.

19. Venus Williams Leaves US Open

2011 was not good to the Williams sisters (remember Serena’s health scare above?)

Venus pulled out after winning one match of the US Open due to her diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome.

Sjögren’s mainly affects the salivary glands and tear ducts along with other moisture-producing glands, and can affect other parts of the body including the skin, thyroid, and  joints and muscles.

“I altered my mind set completely because I was the person who always ate their steak first and their salad second. I changed my diet completely, so lots of vegetables”

But she reports being healthy again, and will resume playing professional tennis.Venus and sister Serena are planning to win their third Olympic gold together in London next year, after wins at the Sydney and Beijing Olympics. As Serena said:

We’re the defending champions and we want to defend our title and I don’t see why we wouldn’t.

20. Don’t Chew Anything Around Kelly Ripa

On a September episode of Live! With Regis and Kelly, Kelly Ripa told guest co-host Seth Meyers that she believes she suffers from misophonia which literally translates to “hatred of sound.”

She says ever since she was a child, the sound of chewing drives her nuts.

The most common reaction of someone with misophonia is extreme rage, meaning if you’re caught chewing gum or something else loudly near Kelly Ripa, she’s likely to haul of and deck you.

Chew on that for a minute.

21. John Mayer Silenced

Fans of John Mayer were saddened when told that Mayer had to cancel two shows, and delay the recording of his next album.

In September, John Mayer’s voice got the best of him when his granuloma became too much for him to handle.

What is a granuloma you ask?

It’s a noncancerous growth that occurs on the vocal cords at the back of the vocal fold. Leading causes of granuloma are excessive use of the voice when talking , smoking, coughing, yelling, or singing.

I wanted to give you an update on the granuloma just above my vocal cord. I had surgery this afternoon to remove it and am now on complete vocal rest for a month or more.

While on vocal rest, John decided that he was going to tour the country, just so he could “look and listen.”

Poetic, no?

22. Demi Lovato Does What Few Actresses Do

Well, actually she went into rehab last year for doing what many actresses do, which is suffer from aneroxia, but what set her apart from the rest of the starlets is that she decided to bring it to the public’s attention.In September, Lovato opened up on Ellen not only about her eating disorder, but about being bullied, being a cutter, and her own drug and alcohol experimentation.

“I would be lying to you , if I said that I never experimented or self-medicated with drugs and alcohol.”

It takes a lot of courage for anyone to admit these types of problems, and it’s especially courageous for someone who’s 19.

Hats off Demi. Hats off.

23. Wanda Sykes says Breast Cancer is No Laughing Matter

What started off as a routine breast reduction resulted in the discovery in a DCIS, which is basically stage zero cancer.

She kept very private about it at first, but in a September interview with Ellen, Wanda Sykes talked about having breast cancer and a bilateral mastectomy.

Sykes, 47, admits she was afraid of coming out about her Breast cancer saying,

How many things can I have? Black, lesbian and I’m like, I can’t be the poster child for everything… at least with the LGBT issues, we get a parade, and a float and all of that, but I was real hesitant about doing this because… I hate walking… and I got a lota walks coming up.

It’s great to see you good spirits Wanda!

24. Did Alternative Medicine Kill Steve Jobs?

Sadly, in 2011 we lost one the most innovative and creative geniuses of our time.

We started covering Steve Job’s story back in March of 2009 and tried to bring to light the major differences between pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) and the much more common, and deadly, pancreatic adenocarcinoma (“pancreatic cancer”).

This story brought major controversy because it explored the idea that while Steve Jobs was seeking alternative treatments for 9 months at the most critical point after diagnosis, his tumor had metasized, and was ultimately able to spread the cancer.

It was a tragic loss not only for the Tech World, but for the world as a whole as Jobs has influenced many aspects of our every day lives.

25. Adele Can’t Sing

Without a doubt, this has been Adele’s breakout year. Her hits “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” have been an overwhelming success, being covered on Glee, and getting massive radio play.She was nominated for artist of the year, favorite female artist, favorite adult contemporary artist and favorite album for 21 for the American Music Awards.

Now for the bad news. Adele had to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour due to a vocal cord hemorrhage. But, she is working with Dr. Zeitels, the“Voicebox Hero”, as he has repaired some of the most famous voices in the world— including Steven TylerJulie Andrews,and ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale. Dr. Zeitels is a pioneer when it comes to repairing vocal cords. He’s designed over 20 procedures and an instrument to perform them (and he uses special lasers).

So, fans of the singer, don’t worry Adele’s voice is in good hands.

26. Gabby Giffords learns to speak again


On January 8th,  U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting; six of those shot died, including Arizona Chief Judge John Roll and one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers.

Giffords was critically wounded by a gunshot wound to the head. She survived, but many of her cognitive abilities became severely limited, including her ability to walk, speak, read and write.

With intense physical, occupational, and speech therapy however, Gabby has been showing signs of improvement, regaining the ability to speak through music therapy, where the language centers of her brain are being rebuilt through song.

Her will to recover is inspirational, and her treatment is fascinating.

We wish you a full recovery Gabby!

27. They’re letting Khloe Have a Baby?!

Yup, after hearing that big sister KourtneyKardashian and boyfriend Scott Disick are having their second child, Khloe started to get baby fever. 

Khloe Kardashian, 29, has been married to LA Lakers star Lamar Odom for two years, and she is reportedly desperate to have a child with him, but it seems as though they have been unable.

So they’ve announced they will begin IVF Treatments (which run between $10-15,000 per procedure) and are very hopeful to have a happy announcement soon.

“For two years, people have been wanting me to get pregnant. People keep saying, ‘Why aren’t you pregnant yet?’ That’s what scares me, when people are like, ‘Did you go to the doctor? Do you know if everything is working?… It’s nerve-wracking. Sometimes I feel like I’m letting everyone down.”

Don’t worry Khloe, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for you.

But this sure does give “Keeping up with the Kardashians” a whole new meaning! 

And that’s it, those were 2011’s 27 most shocking moments in Celebrity Health.

Was there one we missed?

What do you think will be in store for 2012?

What celebrity do you think will have a melt down next year?

Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, and one lucky commenter will win a Celebrity Diagnosis Tee Shirt as well as a $25 gift card to Amazon!

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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