Billie Eilish Got Super Real About Living With Tourettes Syndrome On ‘Ellen’

Pop phenomenon Billie Eilish is taking over the world.

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The 17-year-old pop superstar is the first person born in the 2000s to have a No. 1 album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? On the critically-acclaimed album, Eilish uses a sample from an episode of the hit TV show The Office in her song “my strange addiction.” The sample is from the “Threat Level Midnight” episode, where the characters make a film of a script they found in an earlier season. In it, Michael Scott plays a secret agent named “Michael Scarn,” information that’s useful to understanding to following quote, which is from an interview Eilish did with MTV News:

When we made the beat for ‘my strange addiction,’ it reminded me of the song they play when they do the Scarn dance. I thought that was really funny, so we literally just ripped the audio from Netflix and put it in the song, not at all thinking that they would say yes to it and we’d be able to put it out. Also, it’s about strange addictions, and The Office is mine, so…

Eilish was a guest on Ellen last week, where she admitted that, even though she watched the Spice Girls movie at least 40 times, she thought they were a made-up band. That’s how young she is.

She also opened up to Ellen about what it’s like to live with Tourette Syndrome (TS), a disorder that involves physical and vocal tics. She explained that it was something she’s lived with her whole life and that everyone close to her know she has it.

“I just never said anything because I didn’t want that to define who I was,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be ‘Billie Eilish — the artist with Tourettes.’”

She continued, saying she has ways of making the tics go away for short periods of time. For example, when she’s answering a question she might be able to control her tics, but she might tic during the asking of it. Since a lot of her interviews are pre-taped, the editors simply cut the questions out, and no one could see her tics. But one interview didn’t and people responded to her tics in the clip, wondering what she was doing and thinking she was being funny.

After that incident, Eilish wrote a post on Instagram revealing that she has TS.

Eilish said that since revealing her diagnosis, she’s learned that a lot of fans also have the condition, which she said made her “feel more at home” with talking about it.

It’s nice to see a disorder be discussed without all the attending stigmas! Billie Eilish is truly inspiring.

h/t: Ellen

Jessie Dean Altman

Dean Altman is a writer living in NYC.