Kristin Chenoweth was 25 when she had her first migraine. “I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was a tornado in my head,” recalls the Tony Award-winning actress. She dealt with debilitating pain for nearly 15 years before a doctor treated her with Botox, which can block the chemical neurotransmitters that signal pain. “I know I use Botox for other reasons that are apparent,” admits the wrinkle-free 54-year-old, “but it also really helped my migraines.”
Here, Kristin, who partnered with AbbVie on Center Stage with Chronic Migraine, a program aimed to empower other people to talk to a doctor about how to manage their disease, talks to In Touch’s Fortune Benatar about planning her wedding to her musician fiancé Josh Bryant, the rumors she’ll make a cameo in the highly anticipated Wicked movie and practicing mindfulness.
How bad did things get with your health?
KC: The migraines would last for days. I grew up with a dad who said, “Suck it up, you’ve got to go to work.” But sometimes I couldn’t. I was facing retirement from the pain. I was facing not being able to do what I love.
Was there any hesitation about turning to Botox?
KC: Nothing was helping prevent them. I went to a new doctor, and he said, “Lean back. We’re going to do Botox.” I said, “I have to be able to move my face. I’m an actress!” He said, “No, I’m going to do it in different places all over your head.”
Did you grow up performing?
KC: I was adopted, and my parents are chemical engineers. They got an alien child. I don’t do math or science. They heard me singing in my bed in kindergarten and were like, “Is it us or is she pretty good?”
How did they support your journey?
KC: They were willing to move to LA when I was 12 so I could be in the movie Annie. They asked me if I wanted to do that or go to school and camp and be a cheerleader. My inner voice told me to be a kid [and stay home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma]. My dad worked his butt off so I could have a college education.
Who do you admire most in the industry?
KC: Carol Burnett, Dolly Parton and Patti LaBelle are trailblazers. Carol and I are really close, I was just with her.
What’s been your favorite role to play?
KC: Everybody wants me to say Wicked, and it’s up there, but my favorite is an opera Leonard Bernstein wrote called Candide. And I’m very proud of [the TV series] Pushing Daisies.
Ariana Grande is playing your Wicked character in the new movie. Have you been on the set yet?
KC: I cannot confirm or deny! [Laughs]
You and your longtime pal Alan Cumming both star in Schmigadoon! What have you learned from him?
KC: We’ve been at this for a hot second, so we both remind each other to have fun. If it’s not fun, why do it?
Your new book, I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, offers advice on mindfulness. How do you practice that?
KC: I try to spend some time in prayer and meditation. But also sometimes treating myself is as simple as bingeing the Housewives.
You and Josh got engaged in October 2021. How’s the wedding planning going?
KC: It’s going well. I’m excited — and I won’t be getting a migraine!
Why are you guys such a good match?
KC: He’s a well-balanced person, so he balances me out and keeps me calm. And I try to do the same.
What do you like to do in your free time?
KC: I really like to be outside and walk. I love to go to the ocean and put my feet in the water and just chill. Or have a date night and order dinner and watch a movie.
What is the best life lesson you’ve learned?
KC: Something my grandmother always said to me is, “You’ve got two ears and one mouth. Listen harder and speak less.” That’s where I’m at now — when you listen, you grow and evolve.
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