Fame and fortune don’t help much when it comes to food allergies! (Although a personal chef would admittedly be fabulous!!) Worrying about cross-contamination, avoiding hidden ingredients, explaining dietary needs to waiters at restaurants, and explaining to skeptical friends and family members about the severity of food allergies are things these celebrities with peanut allergies have in common with us ordinary food allergy folk.
Alex Kapranos, the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand, accidentally ate a small amount of peanuts before a gig in 2013. Fortunately his reaction was treated promptly, and he was able to take to the stage later in the day with no ill effects. As someone who travels extensively, Alex has taken it upon himself to learn how to ask servers about peanuts in multiple languages.
August Maturo is a young star on the show Girl Meets World. “Auggie” had his first anaphylactic reaction at the age of three, and in addition to peanuts, he is also allergic to tree nuts, sesame and coconut. He and his mom are also allergy activists, spreading awareness and speaking up about discrimination.
Bill Hader, comedian and actor, understands what it’s like to experience an anaphylactic reaction due to a peanut allergy. In a Late Night interview, he told Conan O’Brien about the latest incident, which included some, uh, straightforward advice from a New York doctor!
Brianna Adkins is the daughter of country music singer Trace Adkins. When Brianna was 9 months old, she had a severe anaphylactic reaction just by touching the lid of a peanut butter jar. Brianna’s strategies to avoid cross-contamination include asking people to stay away from her until they wash their hands after eating something she can’t have and being careful about touching any food without asking if it is safe.
Brian Matusz is a baseball pitcher for the American league. In 2014, he made the headlines for being hospitalized for an allergic reaction. He had eaten tuna tartare that had been prepared in peanut oil. Although he knew to use his EpiPen and take some Benadryl, it was a good thing he followed up his self-care with a trip to the hospital: he suffered a second and more serious reaction while there and was able to get swift medical attention.
Clay Matthews is an outside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. In this funny commercial for Fathead wall decals, Clay introduces himself thusly: “I’m Clay Matthews. I’m a human being. I like camping. I have a peanut allergy. I’m real.”
Heather Braverman, an actress and singer, was diagnosed with peanut allergies at the age of 2. Heather successfully avoided peanuts throughout her childhood and never experienced a reaction until the age of 19. Like Brian Matusz, Heather ordered a tuna tartare at a restaurant that had been prepared with peanut oil, leading to severe stomach pain and eventual anaphylaxis.
James Wilkie Broderick is the son of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. When he was a toddler, James had an anaphylactic reaction after eating a dish containing peanuts. Although he is now officially a teenager and becoming more independent, his mother believes she has prepared him to be a good self-advocate and can keep himself safe.
Jo Frost, of Supernanny fame, has multiple environmental allergies and food allergies, including a peanut allergy. For her television program, Jo had to go into other people’s homes and manage their children’s behavioral challenges for the camera. But behind the scenes, Jo also had to coordinate with a production team to manage a multitude of environmental triggers before she arrived. She has interesting insights about her experiences living, working and traveling with food allergies in this interview.
Joshua Jackson is an actor famous for roles in TV series like Fringe and Dawson’s Creek. He reportedly has a peanut allergy and was apparently hospitalized for an allergic reaction in 2011.
Kelis is a singer and songwriter, and she also went to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Perhaps her peanut allergy sparked her interest in food? Kelis’ last reported anaphylactic reaction occurred at a restaurant in Zurich.
Malia Obama, the former President’s eldest daughter, has a peanut allergy. Her dad mentioned her allergy when signing a new bill into law back in 2013. The law gives a financial incentive to states if schools stock up on emergency epinephrine. Aside from this mention, not much else is known about Malia’s peanut allergy.
Mason Disick, Kourtney Kardashian’s son, had his first allergic reaction to peanut butter when he was 11 months old. When his face broke out in hives, his mom called 911 and took him to the hospital. “Always better safe than sorry,” she says.
Ray Romano is a ubiquitous entertainer who reportedly has a peanut allergy. This information appears to be well-known around the web, but the star has (fortunately) not had any recent incidents that would confirm it.
Rio Mangini is a young actor who reportedly has a peanut allergy. He attended the 2016 FARE Walk for Food Allergies to raise funds and awareness.
Serena Williams’ name is practically synonymous with tennis, and according to Google results, she seems to be the most well-known of all celebrities with peanut allergies. However, reports of her allergies haven’t made headlines recently, and she seems to keep quiet about her allergy in interviews.
Steve Omischl is an Olympic skier from Canada who also happens to have a peanut allergy. He manages to travel around the world and maintain a busy training schedule without letting his peanut allergy slow him down.
Swoosie Kurtz, a Tony Award and Emmy Award winning actress, revealed that she has a severe peanut allergy in her memoir Part Swan, Part Goose.
Tom Poti is another American hockey player with a peanut allergy, among other food allergies. Through FARE, Tom has often served as an inspirational speaker, letting kids with food allergies know that their allergies don’t have to define them or prevent them from dreaming big.
Ted Leonsis owns professional sports teams in the NBA and NHL. He is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts, among other non-food allergens. He has experienced severe reactions several times throughout his life, and knows that even though you can be prepared 99 percent of the time, there can still be slip-ups.
Famous Peanut Allergy Parents
You and your kids can both find inspiration from the above celebrities with peanut allergies. But for all you parents, here’s another, albeit abbreviated, list of celebrity parents who can relate to the unique challenges of raising a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy:
- Barack and Michelle Obama
- Heather Locklear
- Kourtney Kardashian
- Kym Whitley
- Matthew Broderick
- Nina Garcia
- Robert Kennedy, Jr
- Sarah Michelle Gellar
- Trace Adkins
So, did we miss anyone? Do you know of another celebrity who has a peanut allergy? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to share with your favorite peanut-allergic pal!
Brian Matusz: Wikimedia Commons by Keith Allison / CC 2.0
Kourtney Kardashian: Wikimedia Commons by Toglen / CC 3.0
Tom Poti: Wikimedia Commons by Horge / CC 3.0