The Bachelorette’s Hannah Brown Shares How ‘Out of Control’ Asthma Can Be: ‘I Won’t Let It Stop Me’ (Exclusive)

Hannah Brown health rollout
Hannah Brown.Photograph:

Diana King

Hannah Brown was in midair on a flight to go to her fiancé’s Okla homa household in December 2022 when she was all of the sudden overcome by a coughing match. “I may really feel my throat closing up, like there have been hair balls caught in it,” remembers the 29-year-old star of the 2019 season of The Bachelorette, who knew from expertise that she was having a extreme bronchial asthma assault. 

“I used to be shaking uncontrollably and making an attempt to seize my inhaler — however I couldn’t take within the air.” Alarmed, her fiancé, Adam Woolard, alerted a flight attendant, who got here to Brown’s help with oxygen. She was lastly capable of catch her breath, however the aircraft needed to be diverted to Dallas, the place Brown was met with a stretcher. “It was embarrassing,” she says, “however I bought so scared as a result of what are you going to do on a aircraft?”

Brown is one in all almost 26 million Individuals who’re residing with the continual respiratory sickness, which causes irritation and a narrowing of the small airways within the lungs — resulting in a variety of signs, together with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a tightness within the chest. 

“Bronchial asthma is a continual situation that may be extreme and life-threatening,” says Dr. Payel Gupta, a New York Metropolis-based allergist. “There will be durations in your life whenever you’re not affected by your bronchial asthma, nevertheless it doesn’t simply fully go away.”

Hannah Brown had her first asthma attack when she was around 5/6 age
Hannah Brown at 5 years previous.

Courtesy of Hannah Brown

For Brown, who was recognized when she was 5 years previous, dealing with bronchial asthma has meant studying to anticipate when she could be most prone to an episode. 

“I typically need to decelerate or take a second to deal with my breath, as a result of if I don’t, it will possibly get to a spot the place it’s uncontrolled — and an assault occurs,” she says. “That’s the factor with bronchial asthma that’s so arduous for me. It’s all the time a shock. I by no means know when it’s coming.” 

Brown grew up in Northport, Ala., close to the football-crazed campus of the College of Alabama, the place her dad and mom, Robert, 63, a barber by commerce, and Susanne, 55, personal and function two cosmetology colleges. Brown began dancing when she was 2 and cherished taking part in sports activities (softball was a favourite), however she was additionally vulnerable to sickness as a baby. 

“I used to be a reasonably sick child, catching the whole lot going round college,” remembers Brown, who has a youthful brother, Patrick, 26 (who additionally has bronchial asthma), and a half sister, Alisa, 41. “I really feel like I spent most of my childhood in a physician’s workplace, doing my homework and taking part in I Spy.”

After her mom seen Brown was usually wheezing, visits to her pediatrician and additional testing with an allergist confirmed an bronchial asthma prognosis. She was prescribed an inhaler and was instructed to maintain it shut throughout bodily exercise. 

“That was simply one thing I needed to do if I used to be going to be lively,” says Brown, who was simply 9 when she skilled one of many worst bronchial asthma assaults of her life throughout a theme social gathering for a college venture on the Center Ages. The occasion included some 400 candles, and Brown started coughing from the smoke quickly after she arrived on the auditorium. 

Hannah Brown rollout
Hannah Brown.

Diana King

“It was a kind of days I didn’t convey my inhaler, as a result of I wasn’t doing any bodily exercise,” says Brown, who wound up within the nurse’s workplace for greater than two hours, the place they had been lastly capable of stabilize her respiratory with a nebulizer. “There’s nothing worse than feeling which you could’t breathe or management your self sufficient to relax,” says Brown, whose triggers embody pollen and seasonal modifications, and respiratory infections like a chilly or COVID, which might convey on extreme assaults. “Particularly as a baby, that’s actually scary.”

However bronchial asthma wasn’t the one childhood well being problem Brown confronted. At age 11, she started affected by painful abdomen cramps, and when her basic well being started to say no, her pediatrician beneficial a full physique scan. 

The process revealed an encased, malignant tumor on her pancreas, which medical doctors efficiently eliminated in surgical procedure. “They discovered it earlier than it may totally assault the remainder of my system,” says Brown, who went for normal checkups for a number of years after and stays cancer-free. “I bought very sick with that, however I additionally bought very fortunate.”

By the point she was 15, Brown had began competing in magnificence pageants — primarily as a method of incomes faculty scholarships. “I cared about my education,” says Brown, whose expertise as a dancer (“I danced on daily basis after college — jazz, ballet, up to date, something and the whole lot”) gave her a bonus at native pageants. 

“It saved me very targeted; I achieved my objectives and discovered the significance of arduous work in something that you just do,” says Brown, who put her pageant days behind her and graduated from the College of Alabama in 2017 with a level in public relations and communications.

Hannah Brown engagement
Hannah Brown and her fiancé, Adam Woolard.

Kenzie Hammock

The next 12 months, on a whim, she entered the Miss Alabama USA contest — and received. “I assumed, ‘What the heck?’ and signed up two weeks earlier than,” says Brown. Two months later, in July 2018, she bought the decision to develop into a contestant on The Bachelor. “I used to be fairly clueless — I couldn’t have instructed you ways a rose ceremony went, so it was sort of a joke to me,” she admits. 

BachelorColton Underwood despatched her residence midway via the season, however she returned the next 12 months as The Bachelorette. (She and fiancé Jed Wyatt broke up after it was found that Wyatt was already in a relationship.) “It was the wildest experience of my life,” says Brown, who hopscotched from her last rose ceremony over to Dancing with the Stars two months later — the place she and her skilled companion Alan Bersten took residence the Mirrorball trophy that very same 12 months.

“All of it modified my life, however that comes with highs and lows, for certain,” says Brown, who admits that her run on actuality TV additionally took a toll on her psychological well being. “It’s nice whenever you’re on high and successful, however we weren’t constructed to have hundreds of thousands of individuals’s eyes on us. And when you might have these moments the place you’re not your finest, that may be actually arduous.”

DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Finale" - It all comes down to this as four celebrity and pro-dancer couples return to the ballroom to compete and win the Mirrorball trophy on the 11th and final week of the 2019 season of "Dancing with the Stars," live, MONDAY, NOV. 25
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten win Dancing With the Stars.

Eric McCandless by way of Getty

Since then, Brown has returned to her southern roots—leaving L.A. behind and settling in Nashville, the place she has discovered love away from the cameras with Woolard, 36, a private-client banker she met on a courting app in 2021. 

On Aug. 24 Woolard stunned Brown with a hoop and a proposal throughout a weekend retreat outdoors of Nashville with household and pals. “I didn’t catch on — and I cherished the shock!” says Brown. “Adam makes me really feel cherished and seen and accepted in a method I by no means have. He nonetheless has the flexibility to only calm me down and put me comfortable.”

Which isn’t to say that Brown’s life has slowed down in any method. Armed together with her inhaler, she not too long ago received season 1 of Particular Forces: World’s Hardest Checkactuality TV competitors — the place contestants face a collection of grueling challenges just like these required of the Military’s elite Inexperienced Beret models — beating out the likes of former NBA star Dwight Howard and ex-NFL broad receiver Danny Amendola.

Hannah Brown health rollout
Hannah Brown together with her canine, Wally.

Diana King

 “This was in all probability my favourite present,” says Brown. “It simply jogged my memory how robust I’m and what I’m able to.” And when she’s not pushing via power and exercise classes thrice every week together with her private coach, she’s sharing a lot of the remainder of her life on her weekly podcast Higher Tomorrow

“Specializing in my psychological well being has been actually huge for me,” admits Brown. “I really feel like I present up now in my relationships and my life and my profession . . . and with my listeners, I really feel like we are able to develop collectively.”

As busy as she is, Brown has additionally discovered to handle her wants and prioritize her well being. “Bronchial asthma doesn’t let me off the hook — it’s one thing I’ve to concentrate on,” she says. “However I received’t let it cease me or preserve me from pursuing the issues which are essential to me and the goals I’ve to chase. I simply chase them, one breath at a time.”

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