On the sixth season of Love Island, one of the contestants appeared to be wearing a birth control patch—which was clearly visible because the dress code on the island is 24/7 SWIMWEAR. While not everyone wears their contraceptives on their thigh, some celebrities do wear their heart on their sleeve, at least when it comes to birth control. Here are seven who’ve spoken candidly about when they started taking it, what they love about it, and why they way it should be accessible to every woman.
Three years before she announced she’d be directing the new Polly Pocket movie (please, please call it Tiny Furniture 2), Dunham chose to get a hysterectomy at 31. In an op-ed she wrote a year earlier, she describes getting crippling cramps at age 12. “Thus began a 15-year routine of pain, questions, and nonanswers that would continue until I was found to have endometriosis at age 27. (This delay is not unusual, and the average woman suffers for years before she is given a diagnosis.) My only savior during much of that time? Oral contraception.”
In an Instagram post, the singer-songwriter (whose latest album, “Chilombo,” was nominated for Album of the Year), laid out the skincare routine responsible for her glowing complexion. It included the laser treatment Fraxel (which she quit as of 2019 in favor of her “own little concoctions”), collagen pills, apple cider vinegar, serums, a scrub, alkaline water—and “also birth control LOL!”
A few months after she took Justin’s last name, Mrs. Bieber talked about the initial not-so-awesome effect birth control had on her skin. “Over the last few months, I’ve been on birth control, which I’ve never done before, and that threw off my hormones for sure and made my skin go off. I was getting little tiny things here and there, and they just hurt.” Ultimately, she decided it was worth pushing past the initial breakouts. “You just have to be patient, let it happen, and let it even out. For me, I’d take that over having a baby right now, so …”
She famously lampooned how complicated it can be for women to get birth control in a skit called “Ask If Birth Control Is Right for You.” (Watch it.) But the actress got more personal on the podcast Informed Pregnancy, where she talked about, well, her pregnancy. In addition to having hyperemesis gravidarum (think morning sickness on steroids, 24/7), she also struggled with quitting contraceptives, which can be used to treat the condition. “Just being off birth control—I have since found out that I have endometriosis and adenomyosis [a condition that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows into the wall of the uterus], so being off birth control was really tough on my body, and so I was in pain, I was in a lot of pain,” Schumer shared.
Long before the blockbuster Harry and Meghan interview, Oprah sat down with the four Kardashian siblings. Defending their “momager,” Kim said that when she was 14, she told her mom she was thinking of having sex with her boyfriend of two years. “I said, ‘I think I’m going to, or I want to,’ and she was like, ‘OK, so this is what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna put you on birth control,’ and she was like, really open and honest with me.”
After going on the Pill, the first (and so far, only) Black female principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s history, said she gained weight and grew bigger breasts. At first, she felt ashamed of her body. But eventually she embraced her new shape—and tweaked her birth control. “Over the course of the next year, I ended up losing a few pounds (finding a better birth control regimen helped, too), but I kept my full breasts and hips. My body was still different than it had been; I couldn’t go back to being a little girl. But now I owned it. My curves became an integral part of who I am as a dancer, not something I needed to lose to become one.”
In a 2012 re-election campaign video for President Obama, the actress-director-producer spoke about the importance of Planned Parenthood and exactly how the organization helped her after she graduated from college. “Yes, I got birth control, but it was for my massive migraine headaches. And my heavy flow. Yeah, I’m on record saying I had a heavy flow.” Five years later, she defended women’s access to contraceptives again, tweeting that birth control is “arguably the greatest gender equalizer of all time.”