Celebrities With Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you’re not alone. Just like any average joe, celebrities and athletes are affected by the same disorders and battle with them every day. Explore six celebrities that have spoken out about discovering their sleep apnea.


Shaquille O’Neal


Towering at over seven feet and 325 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Now retired, he’s famous for starring in memorable movies including Kazaam, Scary Movie 4, and The House Bunny.

His previous wife, Shaunie, noticed Shaq regularly stopped breathing while he slept. She also said he snored so loudly that it often woke her up in the middle of the night. 

Passionate dentists, like Dr. Sirisha Krishnamurthy, recognize the importance of sleep and the effects it has on your wellbeing. For this reason, it’s crucial to visit your doctor’s office for a sleep apnea diagnosis.

Shaunie’s observations lead to Shaq partaking in a video produced by Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine. In the video, Shaq goes through a series of sleep tests to discover he has a moderate form of sleep apnea. Doctors then had him fitted for a CPAP mask to wear while he sleeps to prevent symptoms.


Rosie O’Donnell


Not only is she a recognized American comedian, actress, and zestful TV personality, but Rosie O’Donnell is also an advocate for LGBT rights. Now this woman can truly do it all.

While Rosie was on The View, she invited sleep doctor Michael Breus to conduct an at-home sleep test on her and discuss the diagnosis. The study was filmed and made entirely public for her viewers to watch at home.

During the sleep test, Rosie woke up over 200 times in the middle of the night and often stopped breathing for up to 40 seconds. After being properly diagnosed with sleep apnea, Rosie began CPAP treatment. She claims after one night, she instantly felt more energetic and felt an incredible, life-changing difference. 


Regis Philbin


Emmy award-winning TV personality and host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, this man is widely known for his charming personality and uplifting attitude. He’s also recognized for his persona on Live with Regis and Kelly, Million Dollar Password, and more.

Dentists, like Dr. Chuck Bauer, can appreciate an alluring Hollywood smile like Regis’. That’s why dentists recommend scheduling a cleaning and exam once every six months to keep your smile beautiful and healthy.

Despite having a winning smile, Regis Philbin would regularly complain about his sleep problems on his show. However, it was his wife, Joy, who finally prompted Regis to undergo a sleep study after years of being kept awake by his snoring.

After a visit to a sleep disorder center, Regis discovered he had sleep apnea. He later announced on The View that he’s been using a CPAP to manage his symptoms.


Randy Jackson


American singer-songwriter, musician, and dancer Randy Jackson is a multi-talented force to be recognized. He’s best known for his appearance as the longest-serving judge on American Idol and executive producer for America’s Best Dance Crew.

Randy was simultaneously diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. When in fact, up to 83 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from overlooked obstructive sleep apnea.

Nowadays, Randy is partaking in regular CPAP treatments and claims to sleep better at night and feeling more energetic.


Amy Poehler


Standing at just five feet and two inches tall, you wouldn’t guess this American actress and comedian would be on the list. Admired for her humorous roles on Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation, and Baby Mama, Amy Poehler also suffers from sleep apnea.

In her memoir Yes Please, Amy talks about her troubles with sleep deprivation and falling asleep wherever she could during the day. She took the plunge and went to a sleep center to seek help. 

Undergoing a sleep study revealed that Amy suffers from obtrusive snoring and sounds of choking while asleep. Her sleep doctor observed her waking up between 20 to 30 times a night. Amy was sent home with a CPAP machine, though she does admit she doesn’t always wear it because it’s loud and uncomfortable.

Most professional sleep dentists, like Dr. Richard Robinette, offer comfortable alternatives to treat sleep apnea. These oral appliances help patients get quality sleep without the hassle of a CPAP machine.


Shonda Lynn Rhimes


Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal are only a handful of hit dramas that this distinguished Hollywood writer and producer created. Shonda Lynn Rhimes was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 People Who Help Shape the World.

Her remarkable achievements have defined her as one of the most successful writers and producers in the country. But that doesn’t stop her from being like the rest of us. In a past interview, Shonda admitted to chronic exhaustion and lack of sleep due to sleep apnea.

Aside from the fame, fortune, and perks of Hollywood, celebrities are just like the rest of us. Many have flaws and some even suffer from sleep apnea, but in actuality it makes them that much more relatable.