The Mighty Logo

'Dancing With the Stars' Season 27 Cast List Includes 5 Celebs With Illnesses and Disabilities

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

“Dancing With the Stars” released its cast list for season 27 on Wednesday, and five of the 13 celebrity competitors have a disability, chronic condition or mental illness.

Paralympian Danelle Umstead is a blind skier. She was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal condition, at 13 when she lost vision in her right eye. At the age of 27, she lost central vision in her left eye. In 2000, when she was 29, her father introduced her to adaptive skiing, and her husband later became her guide on the slopes. Umstead has won three bronze medals, competing in the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018. Umstead was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010.

Evanna Lynch, known for playing Luna Lovegood in the “Harry Potter” series, was diagnosed with anorexia as an adolescent and was hospitalized for the eating disorder when she was 11. The series was Lynch’s escape from her eating disorder, so she wrote to J.K. Rowling, and the two became pen pals.

Comedian Nikki Glaser has spoken about her experience with anorexia as a teenager on the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast in 2012. Glaser said she still struggles with food issues ten years later and has also “dabbled” in bulimia.

Bobby Bones who has a radio show called “The Bobby Bones Show” has spoken about his anxiety on his show. In March, Bones said he takes anti-anxiety medication and said it feels like the nervousness before public speaking, but it happens to him for no reason.

Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win gold in gymnastics in 1984. Retton was diagnosed with arthritis in her 30s when she realized she couldn’t get sit on the floor to play with her daughters. She underwent multiple surgeries and eventually two hip replacements.

“There was pain. Stiffness,” she told Woman’s World. “And it really was a depressive time. My whole life was based on my physicality—what I could physically do. It was performance-based. And that went away with arthritis.”

Though DeMarcus Ware doesn’t seem to have personal experience with ADHD, the former player for the Dallas Cowboys defense, has two kids with the condition. To bring awareness to it, Ware released a music video for the song “They Don’t Know” where he sings with Snoop Dogg and Steven Battey.

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. eastern.

Photos via Twitter

Originally published: September 12, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home