Actress Ricki Lake is opening up about her deeply personal struggle with hair loss over the past 30 years.
During her visit to “GMA,” she told Robin Roberts, “I was sort of at the end of my rope. This has been something that has plagued me for so, so long. It was my secret, and I'm an open book.”
She also described the “perfect storm” that she believes caused the hair loss.
Ricki said her hair was first damaged playing Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 movie “Hairspray,” adding that losing 100 lbs. the following year on a crash diet also contributed.
“The weight fluctuations, messing with my hormones, it all contributed,” she told Robin. “Plus, genetics and hormonal birth control… all of it was a perfect storm.”
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Robin Roberts, so much love and admiration for you. Thank you for being the person to help me tell my story. My hope is that by sharing my truth it inspires anyone suffering from hair loss for any reason to love who they see in the mirror regardless. As women we need to continue to support each other and continue to redefine what is beauty. ❤️ #Truth #Brave #Courage #selflove
Lake said sharing her story has lifted a weight, saying, "I feel like I can finally be truly me. Actually... I don't think I look that bad!"
Ricki first shared her story on social media with a photo of her new look, writing, “Liberated and Free, Me. First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering. Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years. AND I am finally ready to share my secret.”
She continued, “I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life. It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth.”
Lake hoped to strike a chord with others going through the same issue, adding, “I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.”
Ricki went into detail about how her hair was damaged during “Hairspray,” saying, “They triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every two weeks during filming. My hair was never the same.”
Similar to what she told Robin, Lake pointed to a few other factors that may have contributed to hair loss including “yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions.”
She tried everything from hair extensions to wigs to “steroid shots in the head.” While she had a system that worked for a few years it wasn’t a long-term solution.
Lake explained the turning point for her, writing, “After 2 months of bliss ‘working’ in London and after my last extreme diet where I lost 20 lbs in 6 weeks, my hair started shedding again, big time. This time, I say no more. I have to be set free.”
Now, she’s saying goodbye to stressful hair maintenance, and telling fans, “I am liberated. I am free. I am releasing and letting go. I am brave. I am beautiful. I am love.”