Singer Billie Eilish recently opened up about her Tourette Syndrome in an interview with David Letterman in his new Netflix series My next guest needs no introduction.
Eilishwho was diagnosed with the condition as a child, Letterman said she “made friends” with her tics by the age of 20.
That’s all you need to know.
Who is Billie Eilish?
Eilish is an American singer-songwriter best known for songs like Ocean Eyes, villain and Happier than ever.
Born December 18, 2001 in LA, Eilish is the daughter of mother Maggie Baird and father Patrick O’Connell, and the younger sister of older brother Finneas, who is a frequent musical collaborator and producer for Eilish.
At 17, Finneas had originally written a song for his own band, but decided it suited his sister’s style better instead. Eilish, who was 13, sang ocean eyes and on November 18, 2015 they uploaded the song to Soundcloud.
Eilish said of the time, “We recorded this song with absolutely no expectations. We literally posted it so we could send a link to my dance teacher.
“After one day 1,000 games were played and me and my brother loved it. We were like, “Oh my god, we’re famous.”
Finneas’ manager Danny Rukasin then approached him to discuss Eilish’s potential and in January 2016, Apple Music signed Eilish to Platoon. Later that year, Eilish signed to Darkroom and Interscope Records.
Since uploading her first song to Soundcloud, Eilish has become one of the biggest names in the music industry.
She released her debut EP don’t smile at me in August 2017 and February 2018 their headlining concert tour began Where is my mind tour.
her first studio album, When we all fall asleep, where do we go? Released in 2019, it debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and became one of the best-selling albums of the year, thanks in part to the massive success of its fifth single bad guy.
At just 20 years old, Eilish has won a number of high profile awards for her music including seven Grammy Awardstwo American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, three Brit Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
Does she have Tourette Syndrome?
After a compilation video of her tics went live in 2018, Eilish confirmed she had Tourette’s Syndrome and said she was diagnosed with the condition as a child.
Eilish wrote of her story on her Instagram at the time: “I’d like to get this straight so everyone can stop being silly…
“I was diagnosed with Tourettes.
“I never mentioned that [my Tourette syndrome] on the internet because no one thinks it’s me [serious]…as well as…the fact that I just never wanted people to think of Tourettes every time they think of me.
“My tics are physical and not particularly noticeable to others unless you’re really careful.
“(Believe me, HAVING them is a whole different kind of misery) My Tourettes make simple things a lot harder. Certain things increase and/or trigger the intensity of my tics. But it’s something I grew up with and am used to. My family and closest friends know it’s a part of me.
“I’ve taught myself how to suppress my tics and certain techniques to reduce them when I don’t want to be a distraction in certain situations.
“I won’t go into COMPLETE detail, but if you want to know more, I’m an open book.
“I wasn’t planning on maybe ever talking about it here, but it’s gotten to a point…lol.
“These compilations you’ve all made of my tics are restrainedly funny, even if you make fun of them, n**t. I know you’re all confused as to what it is, so just to let you know… it’s Tourettes.
What has she recently said about her Tourette Syndrome?
Eilish spoke more about her Tourette Syndrome and tics on David Letterman’s Netflix series My next guest needs no introduction.
She explained that she experienced “minor” tics as a child, which she described as “very distressing,” but added that at this point in her life she was “now comfortable with her condition.”
At one point during the interview, a change in lighting triggered a tic in Eilish, who said, “If you film me long enough, you’re going to see a lot of tics.
“The most common reaction people have is that they laugh because they think I’m trying to be funny … and I always feel incredibly offended by that.”
Eilish then continued, “It’s not like I like it, but I feel like it’s a part of me. I’ve made friends with it. And now I’m pretty sure of it.
“When I move, I don’t tick at all. When I ride my horse, I don’t tick.
“When I’m moving and thinking and concentrating when I’m singing.”
What is Tourette Syndrome – what are the symptoms?
Tourette syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds or movements called tics.
According to the NHS, Tourette’s disease usually starts in childhood, between the ages of two and 14, with tics and other symptoms generally getting better and sometimes disappearing after a few years.
Examples of physical tics include:
- to roll one’s eyes
- Twitching of the head or limbs
- Touch objects or other people
Examples of vocal tics are:
- throat cleaning
- animal sounds
- Say random words and phrases
- Repeating a sound, word, or phrase
Swearing is the stereotypical tic that many people think of when they think of Tourette. However, this is a very rare vocal tic, affecting only about 1 in 10 people with the condition.
Tics can get worse during times of stress, anxiety, or fatigue, or they can just be worse some days than others.
Many Tourette’s sufferers will experience a strong pre-tic sensation, which has been described as the feeling you have before you sneeze or when you get an itch.
These feelings are called forewarning sensations, and they disappear once the tic has been performed.
Examples of foreboding sensations include:
- A burning sensation in the eyes before blinking
- A dry or sore throat before grunting
- An itchy joint or muscle in front of the back
There is no cure for the condition, but treatment is available to relieve symptoms.