20 Celebrities on Perimenopause & Menopause Experiences – SheKnows


Menopause. It’s something all women and people who were assigned female at birth (AFAB) go through eventually, yet this season of life is still shrouded in mystery and shame. Luckily, the stigmas around menopause are dissolving — and that’s in large part because of celebrities and public figures who’ve shared their personal stories.

Mayo Clinic defines menopause as the end of a person’s menstrual cycles. It is typically diagnosed after 12 months without a menstrual period, and that transitional phase is called perimenopause. Menopause can occur in your 40s or 50s, but the average age in the United States is 51. It’s associated with a host of uncomfortable symptoms, from hot flashes to vaginal dryness to sleep issues. Some people opt to undergo hormone therapy, or HT, to ease the severity of their symptoms.
It bears repeating: Menopause is something that impacts every person with ovaries. It should not be a taboo topic, but since it affects women and AFAB people, it’s historically under-discussed and under-studied. Fortunately, candid conversations about reproductive health are becoming more commonplace, leading a growing number of people to speak out about their menopause journeys and advocate for better care.
Menopause does indicate the end of a person’s reproductive years, but it says nothing about their spark or vitality. Below, read up on sage advice, sharp insight, and personal anecdotes from celebrities who’ve experienced menopause firsthand.
“The thing that I hate the most is when you’re going through menopause, your body just isn’t yours anymore,” Angie Harmon told People in a 2023 interview. For the Baywatch star, that means her usual workouts “don’t work anymore” and “if I even smell [salt],  I wake up the next morning and my eyes are almost swollen, closed. My face is four times its size.” The 51-year-old actress also noted that her energy levels are lower.
Lately she’s been leaning on hot yoga to feel more like herself. “You literally sweat out of your eyeballs and it is awesome,” Harmon said. “I used to be a runner. I used to do all that stuff and I do still, but it just doesn’t do what it used to do to my body. It’s just a StairMaster and hot yoga and three to five pound weights if I’m feeling really good that day.”
Drew Barrymore realized she was heading into perimenopause when she started having frequent, heavy periods. “I started having my period every two weeks,” she told Gayle King on CBS Mornings in March 2023. “One doctor also just told me, like, this could last, on the worst case scenario, 10 years. And I was like, ‘I will never make it 10 years like this.’”
Barrymore also experienced bloating as a symptom of perimenopause and the stress she was feeling at the time. “When I am stressed, the (stress hormone) cortisol in my belly gets so bad that I can look anywhere from six to eight months pregnant,” the talk show host said on a November 2023 episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, per Today. “It happens quite often to me, and I have to change my diet, really reset everything, and then I get back to center.” Then there was the emotional toll. “You go through an emotional rollercoaster, and you don’t know what’s happening, and there aren’t indicators there to help it make sense to you, so you just do whatever it is you can to be calmer so that you will be better for yourself, as well as those around you.”
Katie Couric was 55, “smack-dab in the middle” of menopause, when she spoke about it in a 2012 Good Housekeeping profile. “You’re going through a life change, and there’s no turning back,” she said, noting that she was navigating a deep sadness around no longer being able to have children. “I think emotionally and psychologically it’s weird to feel like, ‘Gosh, my childbearing years are over.’”
Couric also addressed the stigma around menopause, saying, “I’d like to help women get the latest information; it’s one of those things people don’t talk about, and doctors don’t have time to really work with women…I mean, let’s talk about this stuff.” It’s a commitment she’s stuck to through her reporting in the years since.
In 2019, the journalist and media mogul wrote eloquently on Oprah Daily about reframing the conversation around menopause. “So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as a blessing,” Winfrey shared. “I’ve discovered that this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else.”
Winfrey, 68, also encouraged women to speak with their doctors about managing and understanding their menopause symptoms. For instance, she experienced heart palpitations during perimenopause, which she mistakenly thought was an indication of heart disease. In 2023, Winfrey also shared that she experienced brain fog during perimenopause. “I remember going through a period where I just felt like whatever … and could not concentrate reading, which is my favorite thing to do,” she said during an Oprah Daily panel discussion. “I couldn’t focus long enough.” She also struggled with her mental health, saying, “I would’ve for sure been headed for depression had I not been on estrogen.”
“I’m really in the thick of perimenopause, so it’s quite a roller coaster,” Gwyneth Paltrow told People in 2023. The actress, 51, said she first started noticing a “shift” in her body at age 45, but due to the stigma around menopause, she couldn’t get the information she needed about what was happening. “I just thought it was so strange that there was nowhere that I could go to understand if everything I was going through was normal,” Paltrow explained. Now, she said, she and her friends are “trying to just talk about it more.”
When it comes to treating her symptoms, Paltrow noted that “there are a lot of great options available, whether it’s HRT or different supplements.” As for herself, the Goop founder is focusing on “having a very well-functioning gut and liver so that these excess hormones can be flushed out of the body and cause less symptoms.” She continued, “I’m just glad everybody’s talking about it because it used to be so full of shame and it’s just another chapter for us.”
For Union, perimenopause weight gain “felt like it happened overnight,” she said on The Drew Barrymore Show in 2023, per Today. “It was 27 pounds in what felt like overnight.” Doctors recommended she cut out gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine to manage the weight gain, to which the actress responded, “Three out of four, I feel like I could try.”
Union also remembered experiencing mood shifts, saying that “something just felt a little off” and that “no one talks about” the mood changes being a legitimate symptom of perimenopause. “They’d rather just say that you’re crazy or bitter.” One thing that helped her feel better? Leaning into the emotions. “I go to the bathroom, and I listen to my favorite sad song, like the song you listen to to make you cry, and I just cry and I’m able to release something,” she said.
We know there shouldn’t be a stigma around menopause, but Kelly Ripa wants to go one step further and encourage everyone to appreciate the perks of this time of life. “I love not getting my period. There — I said it,” Ripa said on a Oct. 2023 episode of her podcast, Let’s Talk Off Camera.
She also discussed her experience at the start of perimenopause and how confusing it was — not surprising, given the lack of information most of us have. “I could barely sit up and I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me,’ and [my doctor] said, ‘You’re probably perimenopausal’ and I was like ‘No, I get my period constantly’ and she said, ‘Yeah that’s perimenopause. That’s part of it.’”
As co-founder of hormonal health brand Wile, it’s not a shock to hear that Judy Greer is unapologetically talking about menopause and perimenopause. And she thinks you should too! After-all, it’ll help break some cycles of silence that keep so many people feeling isolated and frustrated as they experience this phase of life. 
As she told SheKnows, “we can all feel like we’re not losing our minds when we’re starting to experience these symptoms, however young and however long they last.” 
Halle Berry spoke to Women’s Health earlier this year about her menopause journey, and her defiant words struck a chord with fans. “I’m smack dab in the middle of menopause, and I am challenging everything I thought I knew about menopause, like, ‘your life is over. You are disposable. Society no longer has a place for you,’” the actress said. “That’s not true. I’m my best self now that I reached 56 years old. I have the most to offer.” Her advice? No matter what stage of life you’re in, “own wherever you are.”
Laura Benanti decided to open up about perimenopause in her solo show, Laura Benanti: Nobody Cares, because she believes it’s not being talked about enough. “It’s one of the many things we’re told to just shut up about as mothers because people are like, ‘Eww, gross, lady bodies!’” the Tony-winning actress told People. Her experience with perimenopause has been “fucking horrible,” Benanti said, adding that she wasn’t sure what was happening when it first started. “It was a total mystery to me because in all the years of being a functioning woman, it was never explained to me once,” Benanti said. “Menopause, they’re like, ‘Okay, we got to acknowledge this is real.’ But perimenopause is just a surprise party! And I don’t know why.”
The actress who rose to fame playing “Half Pint” Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie told People in 2023 that she’s started embracing the process of aging. For Gilbert, that includes owning her menopause journey and traversing it with her husband, actor Timothy Busfield. “Menopause has been a part of our marriage from jump, basically,” said Gilbert, 59, who married Busfield in 2013. “So our conversations are very open and very honest about it. He knows everything that’s going on, and he’s so reassuring.”
As a former child star, Gilbert acknowledges that “there are people who will perennially assume that I’m 12 years old. And I will always be that girl, full of wonder and running through the fields… but we are all aging.” She now feels grateful to have “the fan base with me as we age together… We can share these conversations together.”
Shania Twain opened up about her menopause experience in a 2023 New York Post profile, calling it “a very good thing for me.” Twain explains, “there were a lot more things changing in everything about me physically that I had to very quickly come to terms with.”
The 58-year-old continued, “Menopause taught me to quickly say, ‘You know, it may only get worse. So just love yourself now. Just get over your insecurities — they’re standing in your way. And fear is standing in your way.’”
The runway model, who broke ground in the 1970s as the first Black woman to cover Vogue magazine, recently opened up about her menopause journey. At 47 years old, Johnson underwent a hysterectomy to combat her recurring uterine fibroids. The procedure sent her into “full blown menopause,” she told People: “The doctor didn’t explain and I thought menopause would come on gradually.”
But that was not the case. “My body changed,” Johnson explained. “You start gaining weight in the middle. And I was still modeling. I felt tired. I remember talking to older women and when they’d break out in a sweat, I’d say ‘What’s wrong? Are you okay?’ And the response was always ‘You’ll know about it soon enough.’ I never connected the two. Well, I was that woman now. You’re in the middle of a conversation with an attractive guy — I was single — and all of a sudden, there’s a mustache of sweat, and he’s saying ‘Are you okay?’”
It impacted her sex life, too: “Mentally, you still have a sex drive but physically, there were changes. You’re moist in all the wrong places and that was a big shocker for me. There are all these unexpected consequences.”
To manage these symptoms, Johnson has prioritized healthy eating, pelvic floor exercises, and hormone therapy. “I got more helpful information from girlfriends than my own doctors,” she admitted. “As soon as you mention it to someone going through it, it’s the topic of conversation.”
In a podcast episode from 2020, the former First Lady got candid about taking hormone therapy to manage her severe hot flashes from menopause.
She even recalled a particularly brutal hot flash she endured while on the presidential helicopter with her husband, Barack Obama: “I’m dressed, I need to get out, walk into an event, and, literally, it was like somebody put a furnace in my core and turned it on high. Then, everything started melting and I thought, ‘Well this is crazy, I can’t do this!’”
“What a woman’s body is taking her through is important information,” she continued. “It’s an important thing to take up space in a society, because half of us are going through this but we’re living like it’s not happening.”
“I’m a big proponent of hormones,” Lisa Rinna told Cosmopolitan in a 2024 cover story. The Days of Our Lives alum explained that she was initially hesitant to try HRT given her family history of breast cancer, but she eventually tried it to deal with her menopause symptoms, which included difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, and anxiety. “That was eight years ago, and I haven’t looked back,” she said. “And listen, if I’m going to have a better life by taking [hormones], I’m going to do it… I really think they’re helpful in so many ways.”
In 2021, Maria Bello left social media, telling fans she needed to re-evaluate her relationship to it. Two years later, the Beef actor returned to Instagram to talk about what she called her “(meno)PAUSE.” Bello explained that she started going through menopause during COVID and “tried everything” to manage the symptoms, including taking bio-identical hormones, dieting, Ozempic, Botox, therapy, micro-dosing, and more. Eventually, she decided to “delve into the PAUSE in menopause” and go on a journey of self-reflection, exploring the seven “tasks of mid-life” written about by Carl Jung.
Since getting back on social media in December 2023, Bello has gone on to share advice, tips, and stories from her “cocoon of self-reflection,” including accepting her body and appearance as she navigates menopause. While comparing a recent photo with a picture of her younger self, Bello said all she could see were the imperfections. “It made me feel horrible about the new me,” she wrote on Instagram. “During my PAUSE I had to dig deep to look at my own judgement and ask, ‘Who taught me to hate aging? And why?’” Bello decided to own her aging instead of being ashamed of it. “Own your history and age and crinkles and power and POSSIBILITY,” she said. “You’ve earned it. I said this on repeat whenever I wanted to judge my aging.”
Watts, 54, wants us all to be able to laugh about the hard stuff — including menopause.
“I went into perimenopause earlier than my peers and there wasn’t a ton of conversation going on about menopause at the time,” the British actress told SheKnows in September. “My own personal experience echoed what I went through with fertility, which I found to be very lonely and shameful, the notion of not being able to bare children was making me feel ‘less than.’ I knew if I was feeling this way that there were likely others feeling this way, and that society’s perspective needs to change.”
That’s why she decided to partner with a greeting card company to create a series of menopause-themed cards. “We’re taking a step to empower women during their menopausal transition,” she explained. “Humor is a big way to access uncomfortable conversations and wherever there’s pain, there’s a need to defuse it.. and yes, if we can’t laugh, we’ll just cry and god knows we’ve done enough crying by now.”
Like Watts, Hines, 57, has used her platform to normalize talking about menopause. In 2018, the Curb Your Enthusiasm actress partnered with the pharmacuetical company AMAG to spread awareness about vulvar and vaginal atrophy, two common symptoms of menopause that can cause pain during sex.
“Before puberty and childbirth, [women] are prepared by our family members and healthcare providers about what to expect, but that isn’t the case with menopause,” Hines said at the time. “Painful sex due to menopause is often considered a taboo topic and I want to change that.”
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last October, the Black-ish actress shared a refreshingly positive take on her experience going through perimenopause, the precursor to menopause. 
“It’s really frying my brain,” Ross, 50, told the magazine. “It is really bizarre, but it is the most glorious invitation into a new season and chapter in my life. There’s no information about it. There’s shame talking about it.” To that effect, she hopes sharing her story will encourage other women to do the same.
She also shared some wisdom from her friend Michaela Angela Davis: “[She] told me, ‘This is an invitation into your wild-woman phase, to being a moon driver. You have spent years being driven by the moon, and now you are going to drive the moon.’ And I was like, ‘That’s right. I’m about to drive the moon.’”
Stacy London, with her iconic early-adopter status for embracing gray hair (and how hot it is) is unsurprisingly a warrior for understanding and improving our attitudes about menopause and perimenopause. 
“I had mood swings, I was angry, I didn’t not feel like myself,” London told SheKnows. “We have let women for generations white-knuckle through this because we are internalizing the shame around aging.”
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