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Celebrities with Lipedema: Stories of Struggle, Acceptance, and Empowerment

Lipedema, a condition characterized by abnormal fat accumulation in the lower body, affects millions of women worldwide but remains largely underdiagnosed. The disorder can cause swelling, discomfort, and mobility issues, often leading to body image struggles and self-consciousness. Despite this, several celebrities have courageously opened up about their experiences with Lipedema, aiming to empower others and raise awareness about the condition. In this article, we highlight ten celebrities with lipedema who embraced their Lipedema diagnosis and continue to lead successful lives in the spotlight.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a condition that primarily affects women and is characterized by painful swelling of the legs and buttocks. It is known as a “painful fat disorder” because it causes fat to accumulate in the lower body, leading to discomfort and difficulty moving. 

Lipedema can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms are often similar to other conditions, such as obesity and lymphedema. Additionally, the cause of lipedema is still unknown, although it is believed to be a genetic disorder triggered by hormonal changes.

1. Mischa Barton

British-American actress Mischa Barton is known for her stellar performances on both the big screen and television. Although not officially confirmed, the appearance of her legs in numerous paparazzi shots suggests that Barton could have Lipedema. Despite the challenges of living with this condition, Barton has continued to excel in her career, proving that Lipedema does not define one’s success or talents.  

2. Nelly Furtado

Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado has been open about her struggles with self-image and body proportions. Her pear-shaped body, a common characteristic of Lipedema, has not deterred her from becoming a Grammy Award-winning artist. Furtado is a prime example of how embracing one’s unique qualities and focusing on one’s talents can lead to great achievements, despite living with Lipedema.

3. Maisie Smith

British actress Maisie Smith, known for her roles in television and film, has also been suspected of having Lipedema due to the appearance of her legs. While Smith has not explicitly discussed her condition, her success in the entertainment industry demonstrates that a Lipedema diagnosis does not need to overshadow one’s accomplishments.

4. Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson, a famous singer and songwriter, has openly discussed her struggles with Lipedema. Diagnosed in 2006, Clarkson has managed her symptoms through lifestyle changes, healthy eating, and proper treatment. Her openness about her condition and continued success in the music industry serves as an inspiration for those living with Lipedema.

5. Wendy Williams

Television personality and radio host Wendy Williams has vocalized her experience with Lipedema and its associated challenges. Williams has tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle and balance her weight while living with the condition. Her transparency about her Lipedema journey has brought awareness to the issue and paved the way for more open conversations about the condition.

6. Shaughna Phillips


Reality TV star Shaughna Phillips, known for her appearance on Love Island, has openly shared her struggles with Lipedema. After her diagnosis, Phillips underwent liposuction to remove excess fat deposits from her legs. Her candid discussion of the condition and its impact on her life has helped raise awareness and empower others facing similar challenges.

Celebrities Possibly Experiencing Lipedema

Lipedema has characteristic shapes and sizes on the legs and arms, which can lead to speculation about the existence of lipedema. Of course, we must caution ourselves and others that there are clinical symptoms and specific signs on a physical exam that lead to an official diagnosis. It’s only with a good history and physical exam by a physician experienced with Lipedema that a diagnosis can be provided. 

The following celebrities have been speculated to have lipedema based on photos and videos. However, they have not communicated that they have been diagnosed with lipedema. 

1. A Cautionary Tale on Speculation: Kathy Bates

Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Kathy Bates has been open about her Lymphedema diagnosis, however, there is widespread speculation that she has Lipedema. While the two share many characteristics and their treatment shares some overlap, they are two different diseases, have different complications, and require different care. 

After years of struggling to find a treatment that worked for her, Bates found a doctor who understood her condition and helped her manage its symptoms effectively. Bates’ story highlights the importance of finding the right medical professional to help manage Lymphedema and its impact on one’s life and career. Bates has since become an advocate for women experiencing similar stories, as seen through her work with the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.

2. Mariah Carey

Legendary singer Mariah Carey has faced speculation about her possible Lipedema diagnosis due to her body proportions. If true, Carey has successfully maintained an influential career in the music industry without this disease affecting her. It’s hard to imagine a holiday season passing without hearing her voice in “All I Want for Christmas.”

3. Alicia Keys

Award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been speculated to have Lipedema due to the visible fat accumulation around her thighs and lower tummy areas. Although not officially diagnosed, Keys has shown resilience and determination throughout her career. If she has been diagnosed and simply not addressed it publicly, this is another example that Lipedema does not need to hold anyone back from achieving greatness in their chosen field.

4. Amy Schumer

Comedian and actress Amy Schumer is another celebrity suspected of having Lipedema due to her thicker legs. Though Schumer has not confirmed her diagnosis, she has made waves in the entertainment industry. If she has Lipedema, her success proves that Lipedema does not define one’s talents or capabilities. Additionally, she’s one of the loudest and proudest for adopting body positivity.

5. Kim Kardashian

There have been claims about whether or not parts of Kim Kardashian’s body are real or the result of implants, and there’s also debate on whether her body shape is due to Lipedema or plastic surgery. Several outlets report that Kim has said she’s been diagnosed with Lipedema, but there are no known ways to prove if she stated this or not. Either way, Kim has made a name for herself as one of the most famous and wealthy celebrities in the world, with a large part of her reputation surrounding her body and its Lipedema-like proportions. 

Encouragement and Empowerment

Celebrities with Lipedema are powerful examples of resilience, determination, and self-acceptance. Their stories of struggle and triumph inspire others battling the condition to embrace their unique qualities and continue pursuing their passions. By raising awareness and fostering open conversations about Lipedema, these celebrities are helping to break the stigma surrounding the condition, encouraging those affected to seek support and treatment and empowering them to lead fulfilling lives despite their diagnosis.