How Kristin Chenoweth's Chronic Migraines Impacted Her Career - Exclusive

Looking at Kristin Chenoweth's career from the outside, it's hard to imagine that she was suffering behind the scenes. The broadway star, who made the role of Glinda famous in "Wicked," is known for her powerhouse vocals and impressive stage presence. She's won an Emmy and a Tony and is also known for roles in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," "The West Wing," and "Pushing Daisies." But while she was achieving all that success, Chenoweth was also struggling with Chronic Migraine.

Chronic Migraine is a debilitating disease that affects 3.3 million Americans and is associated with 15 or more headache days per month. Chenoweth has suffered from migraines throughout her career since she was 25 and only recently found a preventative treatment method to reduce her headache days. BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine is a treatment that Chenoweth and many others have found helpful. Recently, Chenoweth partnered with AbbVie on the Center Stage with Chronic Migraine program. Through her partnership, Chenoweth is telling her story to empower others with Chronic Migraine and promote awareness. During an exclusive interview with The List's sister site, Health Digest, she shared how this disease has affected her throughout her career.

Performing live with migraines

During her interview, Kristin Chenoweth shared that while some might see migraines as "just a headache," in reality, they're far more serious and debilitating than that. "This is not a headache — this is a horrible, painful thing." She said. Chenoweth described experiencing a variety of symptoms, including that she would "throw up, not be able to see, hear, [and] brain freeze." Chenoweth added, "It's not [understood] until you experience it."

Despite how extreme her symptoms are, the actress has often had to push through the pain while performing live. The first time she experienced migraine symptoms, Chenoweth was performing with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. She kept singing until intermission. "By intermission, I literally sat down. The curtain went down. I sat down and crawled off the stage," she said. Another difficult moment Chenoweth recalled was being told by a Broadway director to go through a performance despite her migraine. The pain was so bad that Chenoweth couldn't see, but she still went on to perform. "I pushed through it but was so sick, and it's not a performance I would want anyone to see," she said. As a singer and Broadway actress, Chenoweth often had to perform while sick. "I know a lot of people who do that in their jobs. They try to push through it with chronic migraine, and then they go home, and they're sick. Sometimes you cannot push through it," she said.

​​She considered retirement

Although she'd pushed through her migraines for years, eventually, it got to be too much, and Chenoweth considered retiring early. "When you have not just one, two, or three, but four, five, or six, it's like, 'I'm going to have to retire,'" Chenoweth said. She'd been looking for treatment since she was 25, and nothing had helped. "I tried everything. I did shots in my legs. I did medication. I did everything," Chenoweth said. But, just when she was ready to give up on her career, she finally found something that worked.

"[I was] about 39, 40, or 41 — around there — I went to my doctor, and we started working together ... He said, 'I don't know what your reaction's going to be, but Botox for Chronic Migraine can really work and help you.' I said, 'Do it. Just do it.'" Within a few months of trying Botox for Migraine, Chenoweth started to see her days with headaches decrease, and for the first time in years, she had hope. Although she still suffers from Chronic Migraine, Chenoweth has been amazed by the difference Botox made for her. "Is it a cure? No. Has it kept me from retirement and allowed me to do the thing I love to do the most? Yes," she said.

For more information on Center Stage with Chronic Migraine and safety information for Botox treatment, visit