James Nesbitt reveals he's secretly been living with alopecia

James Nesbitt reveals he's secretly been living with alopecia

September 1, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: James Nesbitt has been secretly living with alopecia causing his eyebrows to thin – with costume makeup to blame for his ‘bizarre’ look on The One Show

  • The actor, 56, lives with the condition Alopecia Areata which causes hair loss on the scalp, face and other areas of the body
  • His condition has impacted his eyebrows and small parts of his beard
  • James shocked viewers on Tuesday when he appeared on The One Show with fake eyebrows that looked very different to his trademark bushy brows 

James Nesbitt has explained his unusual eyebrows during Tuesday’s appearance on The One Show, revealing he’s secretly living with alopecia that has impacted his eyebrow and beard growth. 

The Cold Feet actor’s unusual look led viewers to speculate on social media why his trademark bushy eyebrows had dramatically changed shape. 

But MailOnline can reveal he was sporting fake eyebrows applied by the hair and make-up team on his latest filming role, having just come off set.  

EXCLUSIVE: James Nesbitt has revealed he’s secretly been living with alopecia as he explains his drawn on eyebrows on The One Show

A source close to the Irish star said: ‘James has no issue at all with having Alopecia.  He’s been living with it for some time and it does not affect his life in any way.

‘James has never tried to hide it while away from filming. But when he’s in character, it’s normal for make-up to be applied on that area where there is now no hair.’ 

James lives with the condition called Alopecia Areata which is considered a common but unpredictable autoimmune ailment which affects two per cent of the population in the UK.

It causes hair loss on the scalp, face and other areas of the body but in James’s case, the condition only impacts his eyebrows and small parts of his beard. 

However, it was not a factor behind his highly-publicised hair transplants, of which he’s believed to have had six – costing £20,000 each. 

Other well known stars who live with Alopecia Areata include former Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson, ex-Coronation Street actor Sean Ward and legendary US supermodel Tyra Banks. 

Usual look: The Cold Feet actor’s unusual look led viewers to speculate on social media why his trademark bushy eyebrows had dramatically changed shape (pictured with his trademark brows)

James was appearing on The One Show to promote his charity work with UNICEF, in which he is a UK ambassador. 

He was chatting to host Sam Quek – who is standing in for Alex Jones – and her co-presenter Jermaine Jenus. 

Twitter reaction: James’ eyebrow shape quickly became a topic on social media, with viewers speculating on Twitter potential reasons behind the unusual look

One fan wrote on the social media platform: ‘What is going on with James Nesbitt’s eyebrows? Did he draw them on while riding a unicycle along a cobbled street?’ 

Another jokingly penned: ‘James Nesbitt’s eyebrows are something to behold. It’s as if he’s fallen asleep and some mischievous children have got the felt top pens out 

One other viewer jested: ‘James Nesbitt getting read for the show’ accompanied by a meme of a woman drawing on her eyebrows with a coat hanger.’ 

James has been refreshingly open about cosmetic procedures in the past, revealing hair transplants have helped him land some major TV roles.


Being open: James has been refreshingly open about cosmetic procedures in the past, revealing hair transplants have helped him land some major TV roles (pictured right in 2006)

Speaking in 2017, he said: ‘I’ve just had my last one. I went public with it. I was very happy to be open about it. I just thought, “Come on, somebody is going to say it before I say it.”

‘It was something I struggled with. And that was probably the vanity in me. But also career-wise, it had an impact. 

‘In terms of the range of leading roles I’ve had since then, it’s probably helped.’ 

James’s career has spanned over three decades, his most notable roles being Adam Williams in hit ITV series Cold Feet and Tommy Murphy in BBC cop drama Murphy’s War.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS? 

It is perfectly normal for people to lose small amounts of hair as it replenishes itself and, on average, people can shed between 50 and 100 hairs per day.

However, if people start to lose entire patches of hair or large amounts of it it can be more distressing and potentially a sign of something serious.

Pattern baldness is a common cause of hair loss as people grow older. At least half of men over the age of 50 will lose some of their hair just through the ageing process, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.

Women may lose their hair as they grow older, too.

Other, more concerning causes of hair loss include stress, cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, weight loss or an iron deficiency.

Most hair loss is temporary, however, and can be expected to grow back. 

Specific medical conditions which cause the hair to fall out include alopecia, a disorder of the immune system; an underactive or overactive thyroid; the skin condition lichen planus or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. 

People should visit their doctor if their hair starts to fall out in lumps, falls out suddenly, if their scalp itches or burns, and if hair loss is causing them severe stress.

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