You Are Not Alone! Celebrities With Sleep Apnea

Celebrities. They’re beautiful! They’re rich! They’re famous! They have it all. We want to be just like them, right?

Well that’s probably not entirely true. And if you’re thinking that celebrities are somehow immune to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), guess what? You’re wrong!

Here is a list of some very famous people who are reported to be affected by sleep apnea. Some of the names here might surprise you. 

Shaquille O’Neal – If the former NBA big man can be felled by sleep apnea, then none of us are safe! At 7’1” and 325lbs Shaq was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. But things were a different story at night. After witnessing his snoring and breathing stoppages, his girlfriend insisted he get tested for sleep apnea. It was the right call. Shaq participated in a sleep study at the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, where he was diagnosed with OSA. This is a short video clip from the Harvard Medical School of Shaq’s journey with obstructive sleep apnea. And remember, if you think YOU look silly wearing your CPAP mask… well, watch the video!

Rosie O’Donnell – One of the contributing factors to obstructive sleep apnea is excessive weight, and the next celebrity on the list has been very public about her weight loss battles. Fans of The View may remember that she discussed suspecting that she might have OSA. After a home sleep test revealed over 200 micro-awakenings she began CPAP treatment, reportedly feeling better the very next day. Taking that home test was a life-changing event for Rosie.

Regis Philbin – Everyone loves Regis! Well maybe not his wife during years of trying to sleep through his snoring. The TV personality made famous by Regis and Kathie Lee, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? used one of his lifelines and called a friend… specifically a sleep specialist! After being diagnosed with OSA, Regis began sleeping with a CPAP and apparently now he, and Mrs Philbin, sleep soundly!

Randy Jackson – Although not a necessity, obstructive sleep apnea and obesity often go hand in hand. Anyone who’s watched the first few seasons of American Idol has probably noticed the drastic transformation of judge Randy Jackson. After being diagnosed with Type II diabetes and sleep apnea, Randy underwent gastro bypass surgery, which not only helps him control his diabetes but also his sleep apnea.

William Shatner – Yes, even Captain Kirk is susceptible to sleep disorders! At 86 years old and still active as ever, OSA hasn’t slowed Shatner down.

John Candy – The beloved comedian and actor was significantly obese for much of his life, and reported to have died of heart failure and undiagnosed sleep apnea. Shame.

Amy Poehler – Another funnywoman with sleep apnea, Amy jokes that she comes from a long line of snorers. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed at age 40 with OSA that her sleep improved with the use of a CPAP. Unfortunately she admits to having some difficulty using it consistently. How many of us can relate to that?



Carrie Fisher – When a coroner’s report indicated Carrie Fisher’s death was a direct result of “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors” many people thought that was unusual. You can’t die from sleep apnea, right? Wrong! The stress placed on the body (particularly the heart) during the apnea attacks can directly contribute to heart failure.

What have we learned? No one, not even celebrities, is immune to the dangers of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. If you suspect that either you, or someone you know, has sleep apnea… seek help. A sleep test is painless and the information it provides could be life-saving!

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