What are the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome? Billie Eilish said living with neurological disorder is "exhausting"

Billie Eilish Performs During Music Midtown 2023
Billie Eilish Performs During Music Midtown 2023 (Image via Getty/ Nykieria Chane)

Billie Eilish, the seven-time Grammy-winning singer, opened up about having a neurological disorder in a 2022 interview with David Letterman on Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Eilish appeared with Letterman at the premiere of the show's season 4, where the two discussed music, making songs, and the singer-songwriter having Tourette Syndrome, among other things.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Tourette Syndrome is a disorder involving repetitive movements or sounds you can't easily control. This repetitive behavior is commonly referred to as "tics". Tics are the only distinctive symptoms of the disorder, which generally show up around 6-9 years of age, worsen during your teenage years, and improve gradually as you transition into adulthood.

Talking about living with the syndrome, Billie Eilish revealed how the tics weren't always apparent, further saying:

"These are things you would never notice if you're just having a conversation with me, but for me, they're exhausting."

Billie's interview with Letterman aired on Netflix on May 20, 2022.

Billie Eilish revealed that she was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 11


While David Letterman was asking Billie Eilish a question in the middle of the Netflix interview, the singer seemed suddenly distracted. When Letterman asked what was going on, Eilish responded with, "I'm ticcing," further saying:

"If you film me for long enough you're gonna see lots of tics."

That led to a conversation about Tourette Syndrome between the two. When Letterman asked Billie if she was comfortable talking about it, the Ocean Eyes singer said:

"I'm very happy to talk about it. I actually really love answering questions about it because it's very, very interesting, and I'm incredibly confused by it and I don't get it."

Later in the interview, when asked how common her ticcing was these days, Eilish revealed that she ticced constantly, but most of it wasn't easily noticeable to people. The Oscar winner further explained:

"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, and flex these muscles."

Billie Eilish also revealed that she was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when she was 11 after going through small physical tics as a child. They exacerbated as she grew older. The singer-songwriter further revealed that she didn't experience tics as much when was "focused" on some other activity, such as singing or riding horses.

The Lovely singer also confessed how she hadn't gotten an opportunity to talk about the syndrome openly as much, saying:

"It's really weird, I haven't talked about it at all. The most common way that people react is they laugh because 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'."

Billie also revealed that she wasn't the only artist living with Tourette's Syndrome. The singer mentioned how other artists had approached her, sharing their experience of having the syndrome, which shocked Eilish. But since they didn't want to talk about it publicly, she wasn't "going to out them."

Towards the end of the conversation, Billie Eilish summed up her feelings about living with the disorder, saying:

"It's not like I like it, but I feel like it's... part of me. I have made friends with it. And so now, I'm pretty confident in it."

Eiish ended the interview with Letterman on an indoor go-karting track, where she took him go-karting with the rest of her family, including her parents and brother, Finneas.

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