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In a totally candid social media post, the much beloved actress and talk show host, Ricki Lake, confided with her fans that she's been struggling with hair loss in secret for 30 years.

In the post, she claimed 2020 as her year to be liberated from her struggles and live a real life.

And her fans are here for it.


In a series of three photos shared on Instagram, we see a woman who certainly looks comfortable in her own skin. Lake smiles at the camera, her head shaved down to only the smallest amount of fuzz.

In her post, Lake was open about her career and the demands her hair maintenance had placed on her ability to travel, to work and in general to live her life.

But in 2020, there will be no more of that.

Lake confided:

"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."
"Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes….. 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.I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. 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."

Lake also explained that this all began as early as her Hairspray days clear back in 1988, when her real hair took a huge hit to make it big for the movie. Ever since then, Lake has felt pressured to keep up a certain look, which significantly limited her life.

@rickilake/Instagram

Lake continued in her post:

"Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. :("
"In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair.I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade."
"All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable."
"I've been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening."

@rickilake/Instagram

Lake also continued her story in a longer form over on Facebook.

Lake first shared what she felt she would be free of:

"So of late, 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."
"Free of the maintenance every 10-12 days, where my added hair would need to be tightened (sometimes painfully) and my gray hair would need to be colored. I felt like I was a slave to this maintenance schedule. I wouldn't go out of town longer than 12 days, because of this. I even brought my hair fairy and dear friend, to London during my stint there to do what she needed to do to keep it on my head."

Then Lake confided for 2020, it was time to let it all go:

"Well, it is a new year and new decade and a new me. With the love and support of some of my dearest friends, John Bonny, Mandy Ingber, Sarah Havana Prats, and my love, Jeff Scult, I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!"
"Huge heartfelt thank you to my dear friend Amanda Demme for photographing and capturing this pivotal moment in my life. ❤️"
"I am liberated."
"I am free."
"I am releasing and letting go."
"I am brave."
"I am beautiful."
"I am love."
"For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real."
"(I will on occasion choose to wear hair, but now it is for fun, not because I am hiding anything. I am so done with hiding.)"
"Happy New Year and decade to all!"

Just as she predicted, Lake's message reached thousands of fans who identified with her story, both men and women.

They shared their stories and their thanks across Instagram and Facebook.

Ricki Lake / Facebook


Ricki Lake / Facebook


Ricki Lake / Facebook


@rickilake / Instagram


@rickilake / Instagram


@rickilake / Instagram


@rickilake / Instagram


@rickilake / Instagram


@rickilake / Instagram

Lake has since shared her story in an interview on Good Morning America.

It's incredibly heart-warming when someone decides to be themselves, especially when they have an image to uphold in front of a lot of people.

It means even more when the message they're sharing does something for others.

You can see the role that launched Lake's career, John Waters original Hairspray, here.

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