From actors to popstars, several famous people have shared about their lives and experiences with Tourette syndrome.
Firstly, let’s tackle what Tourette syndrome is. It is a neurological disorder that involves involuntary and repetitive vocalisations, sounds, and movements called tics. These tics are neurological, not behavioural – which means a person with Tourette syndrome cannot control them. There are two types of tics – vocal and motor. Vocal tics can include sniffing, throat clearing, tongue clicking, grunting, or more rarely saying socially unacceptable words or phrases. Motor tics can include eye blinking, shrugging, nose twitching, head jerking, facial expressions, touching objects or people, spinning around, imitating someone, or jumping up and down. From actors to popstars, several famous people have shared about their lives and experiences with Tourette syndrome – check them out below.
The Scottish musician was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome back in September 2022. Since his diagnosis, Lewis tried to keep performing, but eventually, it took a toll on his mental and physical health. After struggling through his Glastonbury performance, Lewis revealed to fans that he would take a break from performing and singing indefinitely. Make sure you check out his doco ‘Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now’ on Netflix to learn more about his journey with Tourette syndrome.
Embedded content description: Lewis Capaldi performing at a concert.
US singer Billie Eilish was diagnosed when she was 11 years old. In 2022 Eilish sat down with David Letterman on his Netflix Show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, to chat about what it is like living with Tourette syndrome. When talking about her tics, she had some powerful words to say – “I never don’t tic at all, because the main tics that I do constantly, all day long, are like, I wiggle my ear back and forth and raise my eyebrow and click my jaw … and flex my arm here and flex this arm, flex these muscles. These are things you would never notice if you’re just having a conversation with me, but for me, they’re very exhausting.”
Embedded content description: black and white photo of Billie Eilish, performing at a concert.
Best known for his roles in Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd has advocated for Tourette syndrome throughout his stellar career. The actor was diagnosed with physical tics that made him grunt when he was 12, with therapy helping ease his symptoms.
Embedded content description: video and DVD cover of The Blues Brothers movie, featuring lead actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Both actors are wearing black sunglasses and a black hat.
While she’s not a popstar or actor, Baylen boasts nearly 9m TikTok followers, and has used social media to raise awareness around Tourette syndrome reminding people that it looks different for everyone.
Baylen has what is known as coprolalia which is when someone is prone to uncontrollable swearing and gestures – while it’s often what people associate with Tourette syndrome, only 10-15% of people experience this.
You may have seen some of Baylen’s TikTok videos, where she frequently says socially unacceptable words. Check out her TikTok below to see how she overcomes barriers in social situations (language warning!).
Read myths about Tourette syndrome
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