Getting misdiagnosed with a condition that you don’t have is more common than you might think. According to one study, diagnostic errors occur in as many as 12 million people – or 1-in-20 American adults to be more exact.1

gavel and stethoscope

The fact is, many of our favorite celebrities have been misdiagnosed with a condition that was incorrectly diagnosed. In this blog, we’ll take a look at six celebrities who were wrongly diagnosed with a medical condition.

6 Celebrities Misdiagnosed with The Wrong Medical Condition

  • Author Rebecca Wells – “The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood” author Rebecca Wells saw 12 doctors, before finally being diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2004. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the U.S., and can lead to further medical complications, such as arthritis and neurological disorders. Wells has been very outspoken about her ordeal, saying she kept getting “misdiagnosed and misdiagnosed.”2
  • Singer Susan Boyle – The Scottish singer, Susan Boyle, who rose to fame after her shocking talent was discovered on the TV Show “Britain’s Got Talent.” Boyle was thought to have suffered minor brain damage after her mother had an emergency Caesarean section birth, and later told her parents: “Don’t expect too much of her.” Boyle says she was misdiagnosed with mental illness. She finally got closer on when she got older and was correctly diagnosed with hyperactivity, which many in the medical industry now call Attention Deficit Disorder.3
  • Rock Star Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga certainly needs no introduction, but probably few knew she was misdiagnosed for what turned out to be a broken hip, while she was on tour. News of the misdiagnosis was revealed in the rock singer’s new documentary “Five Foot Two.” While she’s getting a massage, Gaga describes the pain as a “rope of agony” extending through her, and going up to her head.4
  • Actor John Ritter – Ritter fell ill on the set of his TV show “8 Simple Rules,” and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital in 2003. He was misdiagnosed with a heart attack, but was in fact suffering from an aortic rupture. An aortic rupture is a rare heart condition, which if left undiagnosed can kill. Some who have survived an aortic rupture describe the dissection as a tearing, stabbing, or sharp pain between the shoulder blades.5
  • American Idol Star Kelly Clarkson – Clarkson was misdiagnosed with cancer the morning before winning her first Granny award in 2006. A devastated Clarkson says she cried the whole day, but then learned the next day that the results were a mix up.6
  • Comedian Pete Davidson – The Saturday Night Live star opened up on Marc Maron’s podcast program about entering a rehabilitation program for mental health issues, which he thought were brought on by excessive marijuana use. Davidson was correctly diagnosed with the rare, but serious condition of borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.7

Contact a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer at the Savage Law Firm

Certain medical conditions such as cancer or heart disease can be fatal, if not diagnosed and treated soon enough? If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis, then contact our Portland Personal Injury Lawyer at the Savage Law Firm for experience, aggressive advocacy, and pursuit of fair and just compensation for your injuries, medical costs, and other loses.

Feel free to call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle) to set up a free, initial consultation. You may also email us using the contact form on this page.


1“10 Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions,” published in Everyday Health, Aug. 2014.

2“In the Lyme Light: 10 Celebrities Diagnosed with the Painful Tick-Borne Disease,” published in Fox News, July 2015.

3“Boyle: Hyperactivity was misdiagnosed,” published in Express, Nov. 2010.

4”Toronto Film Review: ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two,’” published in Variety, Sept. 2017.

5“Minutes Mattered the Day Pat Ward Was Brought Back to Life,” published in Herald Net, Sept. 2017.

6“Kelly Clarkson Reveals She Was Misdiagnosed with Cancer the Day of the 2006 Grammys,” published in Daily News, Feb. 2017.

7“’SNL’ Star Pete Davidson Brings Awareness to An Uncommon Mental Health Issue,” published in Healthy Living, Sept. 2017.