'Dancing With the Stars' Cast List Includes 5 Celebs With Illnesses and Disabilities


“Dancing With the Stars” released its cast list for season 25 today, and four of the 13 competitors have personal experience related to disability and illness.

Paralympian Victoria Arlen was diagnosed with transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis as a teen, leaving her unable to talk or move her body for four years. Arlen eventually started talking again and gained feeling in her upper body. She used a wheelchair for almost 10 years, but started walking again a year and a half ago. She won three silver medals and one gold swimming at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Debbie Gibson, 80s pop icon, has been open about living with Lyme disease after being diagnosed in 2013. Gibson told People in 2014 that the disease affected her physical health as well as her cognitive skills.

Barbara Corcoran, who is most known as an investor on ‘Shark Tank,’ has dyslexia. “It made me more creative, more social and more competitive,” Corcoran said in an interview with Entrepreneur in 2014.

Violinist Lindsey Stirling has also spoken publicly, sharing her experience with anorexia. Stirling worried about gaining weight her freshman year, so she started counting calories, which eventually got out of hand.

“I’d never had self-esteem issues but as my obsession grew my self-worth became directly connected to what I ate,” she wrote for Stella Magazine in March.

Actress Sasha Pieterse revealed on an episode of “Dancing With the Stars” that she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which has caused her to gain weight over the last two years and be subjected to body-shaming comments.

Nick Lachey, the lead singer of 90s boyband 98 Degrees, hasn’t been diagnosed with a condition personally, but he advocates for autism awareness with his brother, Zac, who is on the spectrum. Lachey has helped raise funds for Autism Speaks and Micah’s Voice, a non-profit organization that provides financial and community support for families with loved ones on the spectrum.

This story has been updated.

Header image photo via Facebook.


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