Ricki Lake Admits She Was 'Really Scared' to Reveal Her Shaved Head: 'I'm Overwhelmed by the Reaction'

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Ricki Lake
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Ricki Lake is opening up about her hair loss.

The 51-year-old former talk show host appeared on Good Morning America Friday, and got candid about her decision to go public with her decades-long hair loss struggles. The interview came days after Lake first revealed her newly shaved head in an Instagram post, where she described her hair loss as "debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, [and] lonely."

"This was personal. I'm overwhelmed by the reaction," Lake told Robin Roberts of the positive response to her reveal. "I was really scared people were going to say mean things."

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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. 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. To read more: please go to my Facebook page. ❤️

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The positive response came after Lake suffered for years in secret, something that went against her usual tendency toward openness.

"This has been something that has plagued me for so, so long. It was my secret, and I'm an open book," she said. "You guys grew up with me -- I wear everything on my sleeve. I've talked extensively about my husband who died by suicide almost three years ago -- I have shared, I'm an over-share-er."

As for why she finally came forward Lake said that she "was just at the end of my rope" and revealed that "it had gotten too difficult to manage."

Lake, who appeared on GMA without wearing extensions, added that the reveal made her feel like she "can finally be truly me."

"Actually, I don't think I look that bad!" she said. "I'm holding my head up high. I've never been prouder of myself and I'm really touched by the reaction and the fact that I can help others through this process."

Like she told Roberts, Lake has made it her mission to be vulnerable with her fans. Last February, she spoke with ET about what it was like finding love again two years after the death of her husband.

Check out the incredibly candid interview:

 

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