Even though celebrities spend their lives in the spotlight, many choose to keep life-changing events such as diagnoses from the public. The premature death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 came as a huge shock as he continued to work into the late stages of his illness, and many of his colleagues didn’t even know he was living with terminal cancer. His private battle is just one of many examples of high-profile figures who kept serious medical conditions a secret.
In recent years, more celebrities are finding strength in sharing their diagnoses and experiences with the world, sometimes long after the fact. Actress Emilia Clarke has opened up about the two brain aneurysms she suffered in her twenties that could easily have left her dead or unable to speak. Clarke wrote an essay for the New Yorker in 2019 where she first shared her health scares, which had occurred primarily in 2011 and 2019. More recently, she went into greater detail during an interview with the BBC. Clarke revealed that it’s very rare for someone to survive the types of aneurysms she experienced. “The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” she marveled.
Clarke suffered her first brain aneurysm in 2011, shortly after production for the first season of ‘Game of Thrones’ had ended. She was struck with another one 2013, and was strongly advised to undergo brain surgery by her doctors. Clarke felt like she didn’t have time for the potentially life-saving surgery, but finally agreed. She was 24 years old. The surgery was successful and she hasn’t had to go under the knife again since, but she revealed that there are large portions of her brain that no longer function.
Check out this gallery to find out which other celebs kept their serious illnesses a secret.