Justin Bieber postpones shows due to facial paralysis from Ramsay Hunt syndrome

Justin Bieber announced in an Instagram video on Friday that he has to postpone upcoming shows as he is suffering from a disorder called Ramsay Hunt syndrome, where a virus attacks a primary nerve in the face and causes paralysis. He is unable to move half of his face and cannot smile or blink on that side. He was heartfelt and sad about it and is doing physical therapy. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is typically temporary and can last from a few weeks to a few months. In an Instagram story text added over the weekend, Justin said that he is having difficulty eating and asked for prayers.

Justin Bieber… revealed he’s started having trouble eating and has asked his fans to keep in their prayers that he recovers from the condition.

“Been getting progressively harder to eat, which has been extremely frustrating, please pray for me,” he wrote on his Instagram Stories on Friday, adding a teary-eyed emoji.

The singer shared he was dealing with the rare neurological disorder earlier on Friday in a video on Instagram.

In the video, the star explained to his fans he was suffering from partial facial paralysis – a symptom of the syndrome.

“Obviously, as you can probably see from my face, I have this syndrome called Ramsay Hunt syndrome and it is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis,” he said.

“As you can see, this eye is not blinking,” he continued. “I can’t smile with this side of my face, this nostril will not move, so there is full paralysis in this side of my face.”

The two-time Grammy winner went on to address his recently postponed live shows, saying he’s “physically, obviously not capable of doing them.”

“This is pretty serious as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously, my body is telling me I got to slow down and I hope you guys understand and I’ll be using this time to rest and relax and get back to 100 percent so that I can do what I was born to do,” he continued.

[From People]

It must be rough to not be able to do your job when you’re a performer. I have had Bell’s Palsy and it’s similar in that half your face is drooping, but since I’ve always worked online at least I didn’t have to worry about it affecting my job. I felt uncomfortable and self conscious talking to people and it was rough but went away after a few weeks. A friend who worked as a newscaster had Bell’s Palsy from lyme disease. He was sent to do behind the scenes work until it passed.

I hadn’t heard of Ramsay Hunt before now but it’s caused by the varicella-zoster virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. It’s scary to think of all the viruses that lie dormant in our systems and could sideline us like that! I’m so ready to get the shingles vaccine but I have to wait until next year when I’m 50. I hope Justin is OK and I know he has the best doctors and nutritionists helping him. He also has his faith in God. When things get tough for me I try to think that everything happens for a reason too. It doesn’t always work, but it helps.

Photos credit: Backgrid, Avalon.red and via Instagram

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38 Responses to “Justin Bieber postpones shows due to facial paralysis from Ramsay Hunt syndrome”

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  1. Mina_Esq says:

    I just found out from my mom (of all people) that Hailey Bieber had a mini-stroke a few months ago. I wonder if Justin does those ridiculous NAD IV drips with her, and if maybe it’s all related. Doctors warn against those for a reason, those reasons being blood clots and infections. Anyway, I hope he recovers quickly and stays healthy.

    • BeanieBean says:

      No, I’m sure those drips had nothing to do with it. It’s a virus.

      • Mina_Esq says:

        Blot clots and infections are known risks of IV therapy, even in hospital settings. There is tons of research on it. It’s not really a stretch. But whatever. To each their own.

    • Emma says:

      Hailey Baldwin had a patent foramen ovale (a congenital condition) that predisposed her to clot formation in the heart and therefore stroke. She had heart surgery to close the hole once it was discovered. It had nothing to do with drips, drugs, vaccines, goat sacrifices or any of the other outlandish reasons I’ve read in various comment sections as this story has bubbled up

  2. jferber says:

    I read that the mini-stroke was related to her getting Covid and then I read it was because of a congenital heart problem which was fixed in the hospital.

  3. buenavissta says:

    My best friend had Bell’s palsy (she hilariously complained that she had a diagnosis which she could not physically pronounce the name of, and that’s my bestie in a nutshell!). This shit isn’t fun and despite the fact I’m no fan of Justin, I can still wish him the best in his recovery, and thank him for shedding light on this. Get well soon, hoser!

  4. BeanieBean says:

    CB: your doc is making you wait until age 50 to get the shingles vaccination? I had shingles at age 33, which is perhaps not the norm but also not unheard of. Seems silly to make you wait.
    In any case, I read about this on the weekend. Poor guy! Here’s hoping it truly is temporary & that he has a full recovery. It’ll just be a weird setback eventually.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Oh wow I really thought I had to be 50 to get it! That’s what CVS requires. I just googled it and I can get a prescription for it, I didn’t realize that. I will ask my doctor for one.

      • Lee says:

        I wasn’t aware that there was a shot for shingles! Thanks for sharing.

      • BeanieBean says:

        CB: excellent!

      • Persephone says:

        @CB yes, they usually wait for you to get to 50 before offering/recommending it. But I’m guessing your doc will more than likely give it to you, since you specifically asked for it.
        Fair warning though, it knocks the cr*p out of you – you will need a day or 2 to recover, so I recommend getting it on a Friday just so you will have time to recover from it.

      • Persephone says:

        @Lee there are 2 vaccines – Shingrix and Zostavax. Get the Shringix, it’s much better – gives better protection.

      • lucy2 says:

        I’ve been waiting until 50 also, but I too will ask next time I have a dr’s appt. I know several people who have had shingles, DO NOT WANT! And yes the vaccine packs a punch.

      • BeanieBean says:

        I got the Shingrix, as my doc told me that whatever antibodies I had built up from having shingles were long gone from my body (33 was, um, lets say, multiple decades ago). Shingrix is two shots, 4-6 months apart. No worse for me than the COVID shots.

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      I had a friend who had shingles in her twenties, she said it was miserable. There seems to be this weird belief only people over 50 get it but you can get it at any age if you’ve had chicken pox.

      • Arpeggi says:

        There are many of us who got it young; prior to covid, my group chat with my 2 besties was called “shingles club” because we all had shingles between 18 and 30… Mine was super small and not that painful, but the guy in our group had a pretty bad case of facial shingles and was monitored for his eye and ear nerves throughout it, it was pretty painful and scary! And yet, the vaccine is only approved for 50 and over (at least in Canada).

        As Persephone said, the vaccine is also rough. Mum got her 2nd shot while I was staying at her place and she looked high AF, it was kinda funny. But she was back to normal after a day which is much better than dealing with shingles

      • Noodle says:

        My four-year-old got it, and her pediatrician said it was likely a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine. It was HELL. Poor baby screamed 24 hours for days straight, and there wasn’t a lot we could do to help her or make her comfortable. The rash didn’t show up immediately, so we had no idea what was wrong until the rash showed up, and at that point, it was too late for anti-virals. The Dr said it was only the second time he had seen a young child get it.

  5. hindulovegod says:

    I hope he recovers quickly. I was wondering why he was exposed to chicken pox, though. He’s young enough to have gotten that vaccine and eliminated this risk. Does Canada not include chicken pox in its childhood immunizations? I’m older but never got it as a child and now stay updated with the vaccine since it’s more dangerous for adults.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a doctor bu from what I’ve heard the chickenpox virus stays ‘dormant’ in your body after you’ve gotten it. Sometimes it can manifest later on as shingles, which is why people choose to get the vaccine. Not everyone will get shingles, however, even if they had chickenpox as a child. (Chickenpox / shingles are all part of the herpes family of viruses, like cold sores and genital herpes.)

      What might have happened in Bieber’s case is that he got a shingles infection and Ramsay Hunt developed afterwards. Again, not a doctor, just MHO.

      • ME says:

        I’ve heard something similar. The chickenpox vaccine (since it’s a LIVE vaccine) can give you shngles later on in life. This is the reason England does not administer the chickenpox vaccine to children. In Justin’s case, it could have been a number of things. I have heard that during the pandemic many people have come down with shingles. Could it be stress related? Maybe. Could it be related to getting Covid? Maybe. Justin had Covid a few months ago. This could have caused some issue with his immune system (weakening it). He also suffered from Lyme disease a few years ago which I heard could have a similar effect on the immune system.

      • Arpeggi says:

        You may not be a doctor or a virologist, but you got it pretty much right (I worked on HSV-1 in grad school)! Ramsay Hunt can develop if certain nerves around the ear are infected by the virus when it reactivates.
        So yeah, the moment you have had chickenpox, you may develop shingles later on… But you might also develop shingles if you have been vaccinated and were exposed to varicella zoster but didn’t develop chickenpox thanks to vaccination (less likely but not impossible: vaccines are great to prevent/reduce disease, but not always to prevent infection). Still a useful shot to have, especially if you haven’t had chickenpox as a kid.

        Shingles can develop when stressed, tired, after a big shock, or sickness just like you are more likely to get a cold sore or a genital herpes rash under similar conditions… They all kinda add another layer of poop on an already crappy moment you’re going through, it’s awesome (not)!

    • mj says:

      I’m only a few months older than him (November ‘93) and I didn’t get the shot, had chickenpox in kindergarten. I can’t speak to Canada, but here in the US it wasn’t available until ‘95. Around my age it seems to be 50/50 whether people had the shot. My sister was 2000 and her peers pretty much universally got the shot.

      • hindulovegod says:

        Thanks, MJ. That timeline makes a lot of sense. It was very rare in my childhood not to get chicken pox and consequently I know several people who’ve already had shingles. I hope Bieber recovers soon.

      • Bella says:

        I’m Canadian and kids are routinely vaccinated for chickenpox at between 12-15 months and a second dose at around 18 months, and no later than preschool age.

  6. Eating Popcorn says:

    My daughter, who is now 34, had a mild case of chicken pox when she was 9 months old. This was long before the chicken pox vaccine. She started suffering from shingles whenever she had stress (starting first grade, her first communion) at 6 years old. It’s all the same virus. Shingles is no joke! I know someone who went deaf from shingles. You don’t have to be an a$$hat to get shingles, you just have to have the virus in your body.

  7. Steph says:

    A friend of mine developed shingles before we even met as teens. I went to look into getting my vaccine, they didn’t have an age requirement (that they stated) but it would have been $350 out of pocket.

  8. The Hench says:

    On the important side – hope he recovers soon. Not a pleasant thing to deal with.

    On the unimportant side – did he get lip fillers?? His lips look totally plumped compared to earlier photos and since they’re even I’m assuming this isn’t a side effect of the paralysis.

  9. Steph says:

    I put this on Twitter when I first heard about it, I wonder if his parents are anti vax or if Canada got the vaccine later than the US bc at his age he should have gotten it.
    I hope he feels better. That video made me sad bc he really seemed sad and a bit scared. Fingers crossed for him.

    • Fortuona says:

      The Canadians got it much later (in 2005) and by that time he already had gotten chickenpox

      • Dm2 says:

        Ontario got it in 2004 (where Bieber’s from), but other provinces got it earlier than that, from 2000 onward.

  10. Connie says:

    Wasn’t he vaccinated against chicken pox? He was born in 1994 and the vaccine was approved in 1995. Insurance already covered mine in 1998 and I can’t imagine Canada is behind the US on this stuff. My pediatrian told my mom I wouldn’t get shingles b/c I’ve never had the live virus.

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      Not everyone necessarily got the vaccine once it came out. Just like the COVID19 vaccine, I’m sure there were plenty of parents who were hesitant to let their children get it. There used to be literally “chicken pox parties” before the vaccine where parents would let their children be exposed directly to other kids with chicken pox because the younger you are when you get chicken pox, the less complications there tend to be and the milder the illness. I remember of two instances of two classmates getting chicken pox in middle school and they were both out of school for WEEKS because they were both seriously ill and much older than the usual nursery/kindergarten age young kids usually got it before the vaccine came out. My sister and I both got chicken pox (born in 1988 and 1990) and missed the vaccine by a few years, I think either she or I got it at nursery school and then we automatically infected the other. It was mild, I just remember being really itchy and sad I had to stay home lol. I still have chicken pox scars, little random white bumps all over my body where the blisters used to be.

    • Fortuona says:

      2005 is when it went national in Canada

      I live in the UK and it not on the list here and you only get it if you are at risk or live with somebody with a weak immune sytem or if you are a health worker

    • Noo says:

      @connie actually Health Canada pretty much universally lags the FDA in new drug approvals and new medical devices and equipment. I think our process is slower but also the US market is bigger so pharma and med tech focus on approvals in US first.

      • Connie says:

        ohh interesting! my cousins in Canada always brag about how great their healthcare is so i always imagine the US is a VHS player while your high speed streaming in Canada. Also reading the other responses seems like my pediatrician was wrong abt shingles!

  11. lucy2 says:

    That’s got to be really scary.

  12. Julia K says:

    I had Shingrex vaccine in January and 2nd dose in March. Headache, arms and legs ached but over in 24 hrs. Caution, insurance does not pay. Medicare and Part D also does not cover unless you financially qualify. I paid 150$$ both times, 300 total.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I guess it depends on your insurance. I have BCBS, federal employee; I paid nothing each time, at CVS. I got the shots last year in April & October.