On the season 4 premiere of David Letterman’s Netflix talk show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Billie Eilish got very candid about living with Tourette’s Syndrome.
After experiencing a tic during the episode, the Grammy Award-winning singer acknowledged her neurological disorder. This allowed Billie to open up about everything from her initial diagnosis to how it affects her daily life and how she’s “incredibly offended” by those who react insensitively.
Mayo Clinic describes Tourette’s syndrome as a “disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled,” such as repeatedly blinking one’s eyes, shrugging one’s shoulders, or blurting out unusual sounds or offensive words. It typically begins in childhood, but after a few years, the tics and other symptoms usually get better, and in some cases, go away entirely.
“If you film me for long enough, you’re going to see lots of tics,” Eilish began. “I never don’t tic at all, because the main tics that I do constantly, all day long, are like, I wiggle my ear back and forth and raise my eyebrow and click my jaw…and flex my arm here and flex this arm, flex these muscles. These are things you would never notice if you’re just having a conversation with me, but for me, they’re very exhausting.”
Billie then went on to explain that she was diagnosed with Tourette’s when she was 11 after having small, physical tics as a child that intensified as she aged and that she doesn’t experience the disorder’s symptoms as much when she’s “focusing” on specific tasks such as singing or riding horses.
The singer then revealed that insensitive reactions have upset her.
“The most common way that people react is they laugh, because they think I’m trying to be funny,” she explained to David. “They think I’m [ticcing] as a funny move. And so they go, ‘Ha.’ And I’m always left incredibly offended by that. Or they go, ‘What?’ And then I go, ‘I have Tourette’s.’”
However, the seven-time Grammy Award winner revealed that she’s recently found comfort in knowing that others share the same experience.
“So many people have it that you would never know. A couple artists came forward and said, ‘I’ve actually always had Tourette’s.’ And I’m not going to out them because they don’t want to talk about it. But that was actually really interesting to me because I was like, ‘You do? What?’” Welp, consider a major bombshell dropped! We love this for Billie.
Since being diagnosed as a child, the singer has come to terms with it. “It’s not like I like it, but I feel like it’s … part of me,” she said. “I have made friends with it. And so now, I’m pretty confident in it.”