Kristin Chenoweth thought she would have to retire due to chronic migraines

I remember reading an article a few years back talking about how Kristin Chenoweth seemed like she was living her best life these days. The author inferred she was just feeling herself but after reading this People article, I have an entirely different theory. Kristin suffered for decades from chronic migraine. She was taken from the 2009 Emmys, after winning for Pushing Daisies, in an ambulance due to a migraine. In fact, chronic migraine posed such an issue for Kristin in the first half of her career, she almost retired from show business. It wasn’t until she discovered Botox treatment for migraines that she was able to manage them. Now she can continue to perform pain free and, as we discussed above, live her best life.

Kristin Chenoweth was close to giving up on her award-winning career as she dealt with chronic migraine.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the Schmigadoon! star, 53, revealed she once thought she would be forced to step away from her career due to her chronic migraine, which is defined as at least 15 headache days a month.

“It was really bad in my 20s and 30s and what I began to understand is, as we do when time goes on, I need to be my own advocate,” she says. “So I started trying everything I knew. Everything any doctor would tell me, I tried it.”

But most didn’t work, Chenoweth says, and she started to think, “honestly, I’m going to have to retire.”

She kept working, though, even when chronic migraine took away from major achievements. Chenoweth recalls leaving the 2009 Emmys in an ambulance due to a “pounding” migraine after winning the prize for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Pushing Daisies.

“It really affected my life,” she says. “It prevented me from enjoying some great moments in my career, too.”

“I remember when I won the Emmy, I went off stage and you know, we get all the paparazzi shots and I left by ambulance.”

In her 40s, Chenoweth — who partnered with AbbVie on their Center Stage for Chronic Migraine program — discovered that Botox for chronic migraine could help.

“He did what I call little pinches,” and she soon “noticed a vast difference.”

“This is something that affected and changed my life and career,” she says. “I have not had to retire and I still get to do what I love to do.”

In addition to Botox, the actress also focuses on living a healthy lifestyle to help prevent migraine.

“Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, being in a dark room. These are things that I have to do. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol. I watch my salt,” she says. “I do everything I can to prevent it.”

[From People]

Botox has been a godsend for migraine sufferers. They don’t recommend it until they rule out all other issues in the brain, so it won’t mask anything. If you use it in combination with medication, diet and holistic changes like Kristin suggested, it’s a marvelous management tool. I wasn’t being glib about the author who noted the extra bounce in Kristin step. When you suffer like that, you make choices about what kind of quality of life you are willing to live with and it’s bleak. But when the pain is removed or at least managed to a point that the migraine is now the exception, your outlook changes. It set me on a whole journey for wellness that I merely dismissed prior because I lived with so much pain. Now that I don’t, I want to make the most of it.

Kristin is also engaged to Josh Bryant. They’d been together for a few years before Josh popped the question in October. Kristin has a history of dating younger men and Josh is no exception, he’s 14 years her junior. She’s also, up until now, been committedly unwed. I guess she really does have a whole new lease on life. All I know is I’m happy for her. I loved her in Wicked, loved her in Pushing Daisies, loved her in Trial & Error and I loved her on Sesame Street (just to name a few). It would be really sad not to have her performing. Glad we don’t have to know what that’s like and glad she doesn’t have to suffer anymore.

Photo credit: InStar Images

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10 Responses to “Kristin Chenoweth thought she would have to retire due to chronic migraines”

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  1. lucy2 says:

    I’ve seen her in concert and on Broadway, she’s so much fun and her voice is amazing, I’m so glad she didn’t have to retire.

  2. Sumodo1 says:

    If you get a chance, find “Candide” on YouTube. This clip is the best! Caution: Patti Lupone scenery-chewing.

  3. PunkyMomma says:

    The Botox treatments for migraines are a godsend. I’m grateful that I have the health insurance to cover these injections. Every three months, I receive 31 injections, starting with my shoulder blades, working up my neck, the entire head, a few “bubbles” at my temples and one mega-dose between the eyes. I’ve experienced next day site-injection pain and some eyelid droopiness. These injections are administered by my neurologist and not a cosmetic doctor or professional esthetician, so occasionally my face looks wonky.

    I’m in my fourth year of this treatment and it has changed my life for the better. I do stay in dark rooms, watch trigger foods as well because while the treatment does not stop the onset of the headache, it does not allow it to take root—the headache simply resolves. I still experience the occasional ocular migraine (vision distortion, flashing lights) but it never turns into the monster three day disabling headaches of the past.

    There are newer migraine medicines that actually treat the migraine at the brain receptors that trigger the event, but are so cost prohibitive my insurance will not pay for them ($200.00 per pill).

    • Kate says:

      “There are newer migraine medicines that actually treat the migraine at the brain receptors that trigger the event” – do tell…I haven’t been to a headache neurologist in 2.5 years I wonder if there is something newer I haven’t heard of or considered yet! The last thing I tried was monthly self-administered shots to prevent onset of migraines. It reduced the frequency of them but I also dreaded giving myself the painful shot so I stopped after 1.5 years.

      • Liz Version 700 says:

        Kate I would absolutely go to a neurologist asap. The last two years has seen half a dozen new drugs approved for migraine that are incredibly effective. Not only do they target the pain receptors but they are the first drugs actually developed for migraine. The last 50 years worth of medications were all secondary use meds. Also regarding the monthly injections, I used that for a bit but it waned towards the end of the month. I now take Qulipta which is a daily pill that has the same medicine as the monthly injections and it has been amazing. Combined with Botox I now can go a week or two without a migraine which hasn’t happened since I was 8 years old. I get occasional one day migraines now instead of them getting stuck for weeks.

    • Moyz says:

      I’ve suffered with migraines for maybe 25 years and as new medications come to the market, it has changed my life. Please go to a migraine specialist—a neurologist who has done additionally training in migraines (at least a year). They are up-to-date on the latest treatments that are out there and can figure out other options. So when I couldn’t afford $600/shot for a medication that had been $20 the month before, they changed to different plan. (Also, lots of the companies do have their own coupons, just fyi). Currently, I get Botox every 4 months and I’m a brand new (literally a few weeks on the market when I got it) CGRP inhibitor medication, and the doctor has given me every possible rescue medication out there. I’ve gone from a migraine 6x/week to maybe 3-4x/month…and the migraines I do get are stopped much more easily. Migraines did their best to derail my life but without them life is so much easier. Good luck to everyone out there who gets them, there is hope.

      • Liz Version 700 says:

        Moyz as someone who is also responding to these new meds congrats on getting half of your life back! I am so happy to see fellow migrainers are finding relief.

  4. Kate says:

    This might be the push I needed to try botox for migraines. Just had 2 trips in the last month, one of which I had a 3 day recurring migraine and the second of which I thankfully didn’t get one but was also afraid to have any alcoholic drinks and to be anywhere without a water in hand, and afraid of any sleep interruptions, etc.. It’s like even when you’re not currently having a migraine you’re constantly on guard.

  5. Kaye says:

    I enjoyed her appearance in “American Gods” also.

  6. Dazed+and+Confused says:

    Pushing Daisies is one of my all time favorite shows. She was also excellent in GCB. She’s wonderful.

    I wonder if her chronic migraines didn’t also have an effect on her romantic life. Maybe it took too much energy to deal with relationships. Especially at the beginning, when you don’t know a person that well. You cancel plans a lot and that makes it hard to get momentum in something new. Never gets the chance to blossom and grow into something.