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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Celebrities with scoliosis

Scoliosis (/ˌskɒlɪˈoʊsɪs/;from Ancient Greek: σκολίωσις skoliosis “obliquity, bending”) is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis can resemble an "S" or a "?", rather than a straight line.

Scoliosis is typically classified as either congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (cause unknown, sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult, according to when onset occurred), or secondary to a primary condition.

Secondary scoliosis can be the result of a neuromuscular condition (e.g., spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, or physical trauma) or syndromes such as Chiari malformation. 
(From various sources cited on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Recent longitudinal studies reveal that the most common form of the condition, late-onset idiopathic scoliosis, is physiologically harmless and self-limiting even without treatment. The rarer forms of scoliosis pose risks of complications.

A diagnosis of scoliosis can be scary and people can worry that living a normal life may not be possible. 

However, there are a number of people with scoliosis in the public eye who force the impact of their scoliosis into the shadow of their achievements and careers. It’s truly inspirational stuff! So here are a few famous names who have been affected by scoliosis.

Sports men and women

One of the biggest myths surrounding scoliosis is that it prevents people continuing with the sports that they love. 

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt, ‘the fastest man alive’, has smashed that myths credibility, along with obtaining his three world records for the 100 metres, 200 meters and 4x100meter relay. Bolt was born with congenital scoliosis and initially had a small curve in his lower spine. However, in an interview with ESPN, he reported that it has progressed to a significant ‘S’ curve which caused him discomfort during adolescence. He was able to manage his condition by keeping his core and back muscles strong (and what a back it is!) We look forward to seeing if he can defend his Olympic titles in Rio 2016! Go Bolt!

Jenny Thompson, former Olympic swimmer, didn’t let her diagnosis of scoliosis get in the way of  winning 12 Olympic medals, including 8 gold, during the course of her career. On the tennis scene, current World Number 110,James Blake has had a storming career, reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, and the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics.

Other well known sports professionals with scoliosis include Olympic swimmersJanet EvansJon Oslon and golfers Stacy Lewis and Dudley Hart. These sports professionals are international inspirations and living reminder that anything is possible!
Actresses and Models

Sadly scoliosis can lead to body image issues and a lack of confidence. Despite acknowledging her own scoliosis insecurities, actress, model, 90’s ‘it girl’, and socialite Chloe Sevigny has built a multi-faceted career appearing in many successful independent films, TV series’ and even appearing on the front cover of Elle magazine.

Chloe Sevigny

Sarah Michelle Geller has also spoken publicly about living with scoliosis
An equally sassy twisted sister is actress Sarah Michelle Geller, most famous for playing Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now retired from her vampire slaying days, Sarah relieves discomfort caused by scoliosis by doing Pilates. Actress and former model Rebecca Romijn is best known for her role as Mystique from X-Men and Alexis Meade from Ugly Betty

A scoliosis diagnosis is something that she has in common with fellow Ugly Betty co-star Vanessa Williams who plays Wilhelmina Slater.

Vanessa Williams

The Queen of Hollywood, actress, singer dancer Liza Minnelli is a true scoliosis survivor. Despite having two false hips, a wired-up knee and three crushed disks on top of her scoliosis, she still manages to dance every day. If that’s not inspiration to dance, I don’t know what is!  Other glamorous superstars with scoliosis include Elizabeth TaylorRenee Russo, and Lisa Howard.

Liz Taylor suffered from Scoliosis

Some of the biggest names in rock music history had a scoliosis diagnosis.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain, lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the band Nirvana suffered from back pain due to scoliosis all his life. Despite frequently experiencing pain due to the weight of his guitar he was able to channel it through his music.

Continuing on a rock tip, John Lydon, lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols, had a hunched back due to his scoliosis. However that didn’t stop him from playing at sold out gigs and touring the world.

Jeffery Tate spent a good deal of his childhood in hospitals and wheelchairs. Not only did he decide to repay modern medicine for teaching him to walk by becoming a doctor, but he also became a fantastic British conductor. Tate’s international conducting career started with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has since been appointed as principle conductor of the Royal Opera House, music director of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples and chief conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Blatt from girl group All Saints, had fairly severe scoliosis requiring surgery. The three metal pins down her spine didn’t stop her from dancing on stage with her fellow band mates.

Scoliosis even has royal representation. When millions around the world tuned in to the royal wedding in 2011, the only unusual thing they would have noticed about Princess Eugenie was her hat. 

The princess was raising money for the Royal national Orthopaedic Hospital and the Marylebone Cricket Club
Princess Eugenie is a patron of the  Royal National Orthopaedic
Hospital where she had surgery at the age of 12 to correct her scoliosis

In fact, Princess Eugenie, who is 6th in line to the throne, had an operation in 2002 to correct her scoliosis. She has since graced the front cover of Tatler magazine and attended university in Newcastle.


Visit the SAUK website to read more about scoliosis and find out how you can help them continue to provide support and advice to people with scoliosis.


  1. Its really an informative blog on celebrities with scoliosis. I must say that scoliosis is really scary disorder especially if it occurs in children or adults. I agree on that there are number of people with scoliosis disorder in public eyes who have force the impact of their scoliosis into the shadow with their successes.

  2. Thanks for your comment. It's not scary. It's hard to accept when you're first diagnosed but then you learn to live with it. It's just part of who I am now :-)