Everything Lewis Capaldi Has Shared About His Struggle With Tourette’s Syndrome
Lewis Capaldi is not letting his struggle with Tourette’s syndrome deter him from performing and releasing good music. Since revealing his diagnosis last September, the “Before You Go” singer has remained candid with his fans about his struggle with tics, and how it affects his body.
In late February, during a performance in Frankfurt, Germany, the musician had a flare-up of his condition as he performed his closing song “Someone You Loved.” As he attempted to push through the bridge and the final chorus, his fans helped him sing the last chorus of the song.
Back in September, the Scottish songwriter opened up about his diagnosis with the nervous system disorder that causes repetitive movements, sounds, or tics that cannot be easily controlled. More than 200,000 people, including singer Billie Eilish, report having the chronic condition each year in the U.S. according to the Mayo Clinic.
On Instagram Live, Capaldi said he finally understood why he would often get involuntary twitches, and that he noticed his tics in interviews as early as 2018.
“I’ve always had it, apparently,” he said at the time. “The worst thing about it is when I’m excited I get it, when I’m stressed, I get it, when I’m happy I get it. It happens all the time. Some days it’s more painful than others and some days it’s less painful.”
“It looks a lot worse than it is,” he added. “Sometimes it’s quite uncomfortable … but it comes and goes.”
During the Instagram Live, he also recalled seeing his TikTok followers writing comments like, “Why is he twitching?” and questioning whether he was on drugs. “It’s a new thing, I haven’t really learned much about it — I’m learning,” he said. “I’ve got Botox on my shoulder to stop it from moving. It worked for a bit.”
Capaldi explained on the Jonathan Ross Show in October that his “left shoulder goes up like this” and his head twitches whenever he has a flare-up. “People think I’m on cocaine a lot and I’m not! … Now I’m the poster boy for Tourette’s, and I’ll accept that.”
In January, Capaldi joined researchers at the University of Nottingham to test out a device that sits on his wrist like a smartwatch and helps combat some of the syndrome’s symptoms. The device intercepts signals from the brain to reduce tics, and last year, it was part of a clinical trial with more than 100 people, according to the BBC.
“The results were remarkable,” a professor leading the project told the outlet. “Lewis stated that the stimulation made him feel calmer and the device clearly suppressed the head and shoulder tics which can be quite painful for him.”
It’s unclear whether Capaldi has continuously used the device, though he cautioned a crowd in Belfast, Northern Ireland last month: “You might see me twitching a little bit up here. Nothing to be worried about – I have Tourette’s.”
“I’m good, baby. I’m up here, I’m good,” he added. “I’m absolutely fine, everything’s good, I just twitch a little bit.”
Late last year, Capaldi did an interview on The Zach Sang Show to talk about his diagnosis and how he “never even expected” Tourette’s syndrome, and that he worried that he was “immediately dying” because of the twitches.
“When they told me, I was like, ‘That makes so much sense,’” he said. “It ebbs and flows… Unfortunately, there’s no clear and ‘here’s this thing we can do nothing about.’ But now it’s about handling my general anxiety.”
Capaldi explained that struggling with Tourette’s also affects his sex life as his medication affects his libido. “How do I say this? It makes it hard to climax. It’s like a rollercoaster that goes up and up and up and it never comes down… That was an issue. Just decreased libido.”
Then he joked, “As a sex machine like myself, I was just not going to let that go by!” Capaldi said he continues to take medication, and that he also tried cannabis drops to help treat his symptoms, though it didn’t work.
In December last year, Capaldi released “Pointless,” his second pre-release track following “Forget Me,” which was co-written by Ed Sheeran. The songs are set to be part of his upcoming album, Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent, set to be released on May 19, 2023.