Amy Schumer Shares Her "Big Secret": A Hair-Pulling Disorder Called Trichotillomania

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 16: Amy Schumer attends Hulu's
Getty/Cindy Ord
Getty/Cindy Ord

Amy Schumer has never been one to shy away from tough conversations, especially around her health and body. The comedian has spoken publicly about liposuction surgery, her IVF journey, choosing not to breastfeed, and more. But her most recent confession, she says, has been "a big secret" since she was a child.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Schumer shared for the first time that she deals with trichotillomania, also known as hair-pulling disorder, per Mayo Clinic. "I think everybody has a big secret, and that's mine," Schumer said. "And I'm proud that my big secret only hurts me, but it's been what I've carried so much shame about for so long."

Schumer's confession comes on the heels of the release of her new semi-autobiographical show, "Life & Beth," which includes her experience with trichotillomania, per People. In the show (just like in real life), she begins experiencing trichotillomania after her father's multiple-sclerosis diagnosis and bankruptcy declaration. During that time, Schumer's parents had also split up, and her mother was dating her best friend's father, per People.

Trichotillomania is classified as a mental disorder, and while its cause it unclear, experts believe it results from several factors, including family history, age, and other disorders, as well as environmental factors such as stress. It "involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop," the Mayo Clinic website says. This type of hair pulling can leave patchy bald spots, and people who suffer from it often try to disguise the aftereffects.

Schumer said during her interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she has dealt with trichotillomania since grade school and once wore a wig to cover up the resulting hair loss. Her experience with the disorder has evolved over time; she's no longer wearing a wig. Still, Schumer stressed its continued presence in her life today. "It's not that I used to have this problem and now I don't," she said. "It's still something that I struggle with." As a mother, Schumer said she's worried that her son, Gene, will have it too. "Every time he touches his head, I'm having a heart attack," she said.

In sharing her experience in "Life & Beth," Schumer hopes to finally find some relief around the disorder. "I really don't want to have a big secret anymore," she said. "And I thought putting it in there would be good for me to alleviate some of my shame and maybe, hopefully, help others alleviate some of theirs, too."