- Liza Minnelli has suffered from viral encephalitis, alcoholism, and more.
- Her major issues started around 2000.
- After using a wheelchair for a long time, she was spotted walking without one in 2022.
Liza Minnelli, 77, is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but she’s had her fair share of ups and downs with her health. The iconic actress, singer, and dancer, has reportedly been hospitalized with multiple issues over the years, including viral encephalitis, alcoholism, a jawbone injury, wrist injuries, and more. Although there was a point when she was listed as in “very serious condition,” the beauty recovered and seems to still be going strong in present day.
Liza was spotted getting around in a wheelchair in recent years, but in 2022, she was photographed getting into a car on her own feet. She also performed some shows after her hospitalizations from her serious health issues, and it surprised and delighted many of her fans. Find out more about Liza’s various health issues over the years and how she’s doing today below.
Liza Minnelli diagnosed with alcoholism, viral encephalitis, and more.
Liza started having an alcohol and prescription drugs problem after her mother, Judy Garland, died in 1969. The problems arose after she was prescribed Valium and she went on to allegedly use recreational drugs in the 1970s. She ended up leaving the 1984 musical, The Rink, to get help for her issues at the Betty Ford Clinic. After her stay, she continued to battle her addictions on and off and was faced with a lawsuit brought on by her fourth husband, David Gest, during their separation in 2003. In the lawsuit, he claimed she beat him in alcohol-induced rages during their marriage.
Liza also went through a serious battle with viral encephalitis in 2000. Doctors reportedly predicted she may spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and may never sing again due to the condition. She managed to recover by taking vocal and dance lessons daily. She had to have vocal surgery around this time, but ended up singing “New York, New York” on The Rosie O’Donnell Show in Sept. 2001. She also went on stage for the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special at Madison Square Garden in New York City that same year, after Michael Jackson, himself, asked her to do so. She sang “Never Never Land” and “You Are Not Alone” for the show. Liza went on to make many more appearances in concerts and television shows since then.
Unfortunately, Liza’s health issues didn’t end there. In 2007, she suffered a fall on stage while performing and had to have her jawbone reconstructed, according to The Sun. She also reportedly broke both of her wrists in 2013 and then her back in 2014, after a dog jumped on her. She also reportedly suffered three miscarriages and was left with a hiatal hernia after having medical procedures to save one of the unborn children.
What are Liza’s health conditions?
Alcoholism is “the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits,” according to Alcohol Rehab Guide. The website also says it is “commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder” and “organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control.”
Some warning signs of alcoholism are “being unable to control alcohol consumption, craving alcohol when not drinking, putting alcohol above responsibilities, spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol, and behaving differently after drinking.”
The treatment for alcoholism involves three sections, including detoxification, rehabilitation, and maintenance. Detoxification is when a person stops drinking alcohol and should get the assistance of medical professionals to avoid any potential life-threatening side effects. Medication is also sometimes given. Rehabilitation usually involves going to a facility that can help the person both emotionally and physically as they learn to live without alcohol. Maintenance involves maintaining a life without alcohol after rehab and can include going to support group meetings and having a sponsor that can help when a craving sets in.
A prescription drugs addiction is when a person becomes dependent on any kind of prescription drug, whether it’s prescribed to the person or not. The warning signs are similar to alcoholism in the way a person may be unable to control their prescription drug use and feel they can’t live without it. Another warning sign is when a person who can no longer get the prescription from a doctor, seeks it out in other places, even illegally. Treatment involves the same steps as alcoholism and includes detoxification, rehabilitation, and maintenance.
Viral encephalitis is “an inflammation of the brain caused by a virus,” according to Better Health Channel. The website states that “some viral diseases, such as and , can also progress to involve inflammation of the brain. Other micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and parasites, are capable of triggering encephalitis, but viruses – particularly the group known as enteroviruses – are the leading cause.”
Symptoms of viral encephalitis include headaches, high temperature, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, stiff back, vomiting, changes to personality, confusion, memory loss, seizures, paralysis, and even coma. Treatment for viral encephalitis is tricky since antiviral medications “only work on a limited number of viruses.” The treatment aims to reduce severity of the symptoms and can include hospitalization, antiviral medication given intravenously, pain-relieving medications, medication to prevent vomiting, medication to prevent seizures and to reduce fever, and fluids to prevent dehydration. Depending on the severity of the virus, some people may make a full recovery and others may require long-term supportive care.
A broken wrist is when there’s a “break or crack in one or more of the bones of your wrist,” according to Mayo Clinic, and a broken back is a “serious injury that occurs when the individual vertebrae of the back section of the spinal column become fractured or dislocated,” according to Wellstar. Both of these can be caused by various things, including a fall, car accident, old age, and more. Treatment can require reduction, which is when the bones are moved back into place by a doctor, surgery, a cast, medications, immobilization, and rehabilitation.
A broken jaw is a “fracture in the jaw bone,” according to Mount Sinai. It can be caused by a variety of things, including falls, accidents, and other non-natural things. Symptoms include jaw pain, bleeding from mouth or nose, dental injuries, difficulty breathing, ear pain, facial numbness, and a mouth that can’t open wide. Treatment usually requires non-surgical procedures or surgery.
A miscarriage is “the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week,” according to Mayo Clinic. “About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.” The symptoms include vaginal spotting or bleeding, pain or cramping in the abdomen or lower back, and fluid or tissue passing from the vagina. Treatment is expectant management, which is letting the miscarriage pass naturally, or having medical assistance with medication. A procedure called suction dilation and curettage (D&C) is also an option.
A hiatal hernia is “when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle separating your abdomen and chest (diaphragm),” according to the Mayo Clinic. A small hiatal hernia usually doesn’t cause problems, but a large one can cause food and acid to back up in your esophagus, leading to heartburn. Certain medications can help prevent and manage this. A very large hiatal hernia may require surgery.
How long has Liza been sick?
Liza’s alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs reportedly began around the late 1960s and lasted on and off throughout her life so far. She was diagnosed with viral encephalitis in 2000 and seemed to recover a couple of years later, although it’s never been confirmed if she made a full recovery. She suffered from her broken wrists in 2013 and a broken back in 2014, but it’s unknown what kind of treatment she received for those. She likely recovered from them after treatment. It’s unknown when Liza had her three miscarriages or her hernia, but in 2008, she told The Guardian that the hernia doesn’t allow her to eat before she performs. “… If I eat and sing like that, and all that muscle, it hurts!” she said.
How is Liza doing today?
One of Liza’s most recent public appearances was in Sept. 2022. She was photographed getting into a car with the help of two men and without a wheelchair after eating at Craig’s restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. She happily greeted Daily Mail, who was on the scene and chatting to her. “Hi guys!” she said after being asked if she was coming out with new music soon. “I’ve been coming out with new songs since I was born!” she added.
Liza also seemed in good spirits when she made a rare public appearance to sing at her friend Ben Vereen‘s cabaret show at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles, CA in late Feb. 2023. They sang a duet version of “Quiet Love” while Ben was on stage and Liza sat in her seat at a table with a microphone, according to Page Six.