Celebs Who Have Admitted To Losing Their Hair

Gracefully balding in Hollywood? That's a tricky task for stars, considering the premium that's placed on thick, healthy hair. While thinning hair is a biological fact of life, many celebrities maintain their manes into old age using everything from supplements to surgery.

But not every celebrity is blessed with a full head of hair. Advanced age, medical conditions, stress and chemical damage are a handful of the many reasons why stars lose their hair. Rather than appearing in public with a patchy hairstyle, famous women can choose between wigs, extensions or shorter hairstyles, while many men opt to shave their heads. Still, far more stars privately battle with hair loss than their fans realize.  

That's starting to change, with a new generation of stars opening up about their hair journeys. In recent years, a number of celebrities, particularly women, have come forward with their stories of thinning hair, whether to break the taboos surrounding balding or to give the public the real truth about Hollywood stars' perfect-seeming tresses.

From balding to breakage, these celebs have gone public with their stories about their hair struggles. 

Jada Pinkett Smith found a silver lining in her battle with hair loss

Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of Will Smith and the Smith family matriarch, found a significant positive in her battle with hair loss. In her case, she struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair on the face, skin, and body to fall out, with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation reporting that "as many as 6.8 million people in the U.S." are "affect[ed]" by the disease. 

Pinkett Smith, who is often seen wearing a headscarf or rocking a cropped haircut or braids, revealed that those style choices are a result of her hair loss struggles. She opened up about the situation in a 2018 episode of her Facebook Watch talk show Red Table Talk, saying, "I'mma tell you, it was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and then just handfuls of hair, just in my hands, and I was just like, 'Oh my God, am I going bald?'"

Pinkett Smith then described "(feeling) like a queen" in her new arsenal of turbans and head wraps, and explained how she maintains a sense of perspective about her thinning hair. "People are out here who have cancer, people with sick children," she said, adding, "I watch the higher power take things every day ... and if the higher power wants to take your hair? That's it? God, you want my hair? ... When I looked at it from that perspective it really did settle me."

Did anyone know that Ariana Grande's hair is naturally curly?

For the majority of Ariana Grande's time in the spotlight, her natural hair has been a mystery. After years of dying her hair red for her breakout roles on the Nickelodeon shows Victorious and Sam & Cat, Grande's transition to a music career came with a new set of hairstyles for the star, including brightly-colored wigs and, most famously, her high ponytail.

Grande eventually came clean about why her hair so often appeared in a high pony, writing in a since-deleted 2014 Instagram post (via E! News) that she used her signature pulled-back hairstyle as a protective measure so her "broken" and "ratchet" natural hair could recover. "I had to bleach my hair and dye it red every other week for the first four years of playing Cat," she wrote, a process that "completely destroyed" her locks. She then ruefully apologized to fans for having "to look at the same hairstyle all the time," but insisted she was just as pained by the "wait" for her "natural hair to grow back." 

Grande appears to be increasingly embracing her natural hair, tweeting a photo of her curls on March 30, 2020. How do we know that was all Grande? Her mom, Joan Grande, praised her daughter's new look, replying in a tweet, "Your natural hair/curls is a world of its own... a magnificent beauty you are inside and out/ made up or natural."

LeBron James' hair restoration hasn't exactly been a lay-up

He may host an HBO show called The Shop, where he invites his famous friends to chat and chill in a barbershop, but LeBron James' own receding hairline is a hot topic among NBA fans. At least his Los Angeles Lakers teammates have his back. During a 2019 Lakers game, fans spotted fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis mouthing to James that his hair was falling out, prompting James to fix his headband. The Internet also took notice, with Twitter users poking fun at James for his patchy scalp.  

The incident sparked a fresh round of internet rumors about James' alleged use of hair plugs or hair pieces — or as one NBC Sports writer put it, "Each summer LeBron James comes back with a fresh hairline in a miraculous recovery that appears to mirror the longetivity [sic] of his own career in the NBA."

Luckily, James has a sense of humor about his hair loss. In a 2017 post on his Instagram Stories (which was re-posted on Twitter), he panned the camera to his former teammate Dwayne Wade, and joked about Wade's healthy head of hair, asking, "Is it not fair that he can grow his hair like that?" Wade playfully responded on his Snapchat (which was re-posted on Instagram), captioning a video of James with "Man take off that damn wave cape! U aint got no hair." 

Underlying medical conditions caused Sarah Hyland's hair loss

Sarah Hyland has always been open with her fans about her health struggles, including the hair loss that she experienced from the treatments for her endometriosis and kidney dysplasia. In 2019, the Modern Family actress was spotted with chin-length curly hair, a different look from the sleek, straight locks she'd worn in public in the past, telling Refinery29 that those were actually hair extensions. 

"With medications and stuff, it can make your hair fall out," Hyland told the outlet of her treatments and surgeries, including a second kidney transplant in 2018. "So I had extensions put in for Haley to hide any of that loss ... My hair that's growing back now is much curlier than what it used to be. It's like I'm four years old now, I guess."

Hyland has also solicited hair growth advice from her social media followers, posting on her Instagram Stories (via The Mighty) in 2018, "Help, help, help. What hair care products are out there for thinning hair, this 27-year-old would like to know. I know it seems like I don't but I do."

Dolly Parton: 'Wigs are just so handy'

Dolly Parton is beloved for lots of things, including her flamboyant sartorial choices. But the country music icon's wig game isn't entirely a style preference, as she revealed in a 2016 interview with the Hallmark Channel's Home & Family

"I used to try to keep my own hair teased as big as I like it, and having the bleach and all of that, it just broke off," she said during the show's instructional segment "How to Make a Great Dolly Parton Wig." The Jolene singer then elaborated, "I thought, 'Why am I going through all that? Why don't I just wear wigs?' That way, I never have a bad hair day. I have a big hair day, but not a bad hair day."

When she's hanging around the house, Parton foregoes her wigs, but still styles her hair, she told Elle in a 2019 interview. "I still like to have that flashy hair," she told the mag, adding, "When I'm around home, I wear my little scrunchies, but I always put on some makeup and fix my own hair as cute as I can fix it. Wigs are just so handy."

Naomi Campbell's hair fell victim to fashion

One of Naomi Campbell's most famous attributes is her long, straight mane of hair. But the supermodel has also spoken out about how wearing extensions damaged her hair over the years and contributed to scalp baldness. "I do take more care of my hair now, because I lost all of it with extensions," she told Evening Standard in 2017, reporting that she eventually grew it back. "I am more careful and I do different things."

Campbell's hairstylist Ro Morgan spoke to Essence in 2017 about the dangers of extensions, saying that the resulting tugging and pulling on the scalp can cause traction alopecia, a form of hair loss caused by extensive stress on hair follicles. Her advice? Take out those fabulous faux fibers from time to time. "People who wear weaves should give themselves a weave break to avoid the risk of traction alopecia. Also, to properly cleanse the scalp and make sure that the health of the hair and scalp is maintained," she told the mag. 

Campbell seems to be doing just that, looking as beautiful as ever in a 2018 Instagram post showing off her short, braided natural hair. "Bare it all," she captioned the snap.  

Wendy Williams and her 'magic hair'

Wendy Williams, who rarely has a hair out of place on-camera, launched her own line of wigs and beauty supplements after she was diagnosed with thyroid disease. The daytime talk show host's subsequent hair-thinning taught her the importance of quality wigs, she told the Daily Beast in 2013. 

"I had to learn about 'magic hair,'" her affectionate name for her wigs, "because my own hair became so thin as a result of my disease," she told the outlet. "I have long hair, but it's too thin to do anything with it. Hair and skin are the first two things people see when they look at (women).'"

Williams also described her hair journey to the Daily News in 2013, calling wigs "her passion," while detailing the status of her own hair. "I don't have bald patches or anything like that," she said. "It's just each hair is very fine and will snap off and break."

Billy Joel was bummed to go bald in his 50s

Billy Joel went from having a bushy head of jet-black hair in his youth to a completely bald head. And, as the "Piano Man" told Howard Stern during a live Town Hall in 2014, he wasn't immediately thrilled to lose his hair in his middle age, fearing it would impact his rock star image.

"It sucks," Joel told the shock jock (via Rolling Stone), adding, "I started losing my hair when I was in my 50s. My dad was completely bald, and his father was bald, and I said 'Oh no, please, I'm in rock and roll, I need my hair.'" Joel also acknowledged the toll that heat damage took on his hair, as he attempted to tame his natural texture. "I always had crappy hair anyway, and I used to torture it with a hairdryer and all this stuff, and it left me," he said.

While Joel didn't name names when it came to rock stars' bad hair pieces, he also told Stern that he'd rather just be bald. "I won't (wear a toupee)," he said. "I saw too many bad rugs in my life. If you're gonna go bald, embrace it."

Viola Davis: 'I wore a wig in the jacuzzi'

Viola Davis' hair loss journey began at a startlingly young age. She was just 28 when she started seeing the drastic effects of alopecia. "I woke up one day and it looked like I had a Mohawk," the Oscar-winner told Vulture in 2014. "Big splash of bald on the top of my head."

And yet, what could have been a traumatic experience in Davis' life turned into a freeing one, with Davis taking steps to find inner peace after learning that her hair loss was stress-related. "That's how I internalized it," she told the outlet, adding, "I don't do that anymore. My favorite saying in the world is, 'The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.' I am telling you, I have spent so much of my life not feeling comfortable in my skin. I am just so not there anymore."

After wearing wigs and hair pieces non-stop for years, Davis broke free and wore her natural hair to the 2012 Oscars (above), describing to Vulture that the experience was a turning point for her confidence. "I wore a wig in the jacuzzi. I had a wig I wore around the house. I had a wig that I wore to events. I had a wig that I wore when I worked out. I never showed my natural hair. It was a crutch, not an enhancement," she said. "I was so desperate for people to think that I was beautiful. I had to be liberated from that to a certain extent."

Tyra Banks revealed a surprising side effect of her writer's block

Tyra Banks has never been afraid to get real about body image. In 2011, The supermodel-turned-TV host told The Wall Street Journal that the pressures of writing her debut novel Modelland had impacted her health, causing her hair to thin. "I got a little alopecia from the stress," she told the outlet.

According to the Mayo Clinic, alopecia can be caused by several factors, including "severe stress." An additional kind of hair loss brought on by stress is called telogen effluvium, which impacts the number of follicles growing hair, and can result in shedding or hair loss. 

Banks, who is often seen with long, blonde hair, showed off her shorter, curlier natural hair in a 2018 Instagram post that she captioned: "Me...because sometimes the wigs and weaves need a vacation." 

Several months before, she shared the above photo of her natural hair in bedhead mode, calling out critics who may not be used to seeing her without a wig. "Some people might not like to see me in my natural hair and face, but this is as real as it gets," she wrote, inviting her followers to join her. "I want you to post your au natural look, and don't be scared to tag me!"

Taye Diggs pretty much defines bald and beautiful

The actor has worn short hair for the majority of his career, so seeing him embrace his bald head in recent years hasn't been too much of a transition for fans. Nevertheless, Taye Diggs admitted to having a receding hairline in a 2015 interview with Men's Health, saying he opted for a proactive approach to his thinning hair. 

"I rocked the shaved head before my hair started receding," he told the mag, adding, "So as soon as I saw those corners inching towards the back of my head, I took it all off, as opposed to just watching the hair fade away."

Diggs may not have a full head of hair to take care of, but that doesn't mean he's low-maintenance when it comes to his look. He also told the outlet that he uses skincare products to keep his skin and scalp healthy, making sure to incorporate enough moisture to maintain a glowing texture.