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Linda Ronstadt Was Told That She Had Parkinson’s Yet It Turned Out To Be A Misdiagnosis

Linda Ronstadt had a blissful career before her diagnosis. The singer was never married but had an exciting love life and preferred being a single mom to her two adopted kids.

The “Blue Bayou” songstress, best known for her diverse range of music styles, struggled when she started losing control of her voice, and she was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Here are all the details about the health of Linda Ronstadt, the author, singer, and 11-time Grammy winner who rocked the 1970s and 1980s.

Linda Ronstadt speaking on CBS Sunday Morning [left]Linda Ronstadt singing on stage circa the 1970s in New York [right] | Source: Getty Images, Youtube.com/CBS Sunday Morning

When Linda Ronstadt hit her early forties, she went through the process of her first adoption and ended up adopting two children. In 1990, she adopted a baby girl, Mary Clementine, and in 1994, she adopted her son, Carlos.

Knowing how much love she has for children, Ronstadt knew she wanted to become a mom one day. She adopted them when she realized she wanted children more than anything else.

Ronstadt was born into a musical family as her father played the guitar while her mother played the ukulele. After she moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, it was not until 1974 that Ronstadt hit it big with “Heart Like a Wheel.”

Linda Ronstadt when she performed with the Stone Poneys at Palo Verdo High School, on May 8, 1968, in Tucson | Source: Getty Images

Even though Mexican music was one of her first influences, Ronstadt proved that no one could box her as she tried her hands at pop, jazz, and even recorded Spanish-language albums.

In 2014, they inducted her into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that same year, Ronstadt received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2019, she was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

In March 2022, Mayor Regina Romero, the mayor of Tucson, revealed that on May 7, 2022, they would rename the Tucson Music Hall in honor of Ronstadt during the International Mariachi Conference Espectacular Concert.

Linda Ronstadt at the 31st Annual Grammy Awards on February 22, 1989 | Source: Getty Images


Ronstadt always thought she was too young for marriage or anything that looked like it. She continued to feel that way until she had her children and realized that having children made one grow up.

However, she still chose never to marry because she did not need somebody else’s opinion about how to raise her children. After all, being with her opinion was already hard enough.

When talking about marriage, Ronstadt believes that she has no talent for the institution because she does not like to make compromises.

Linda Ronstadt and John Boylan at the AARP The Magazine’s 19th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards on January 11, 2020 | Source: Getty Images

Yet, her fascinating dating history included famous men and politicians. In the 1970s, she dated Grammy winner John Boylan, and two years later, she fell in love with JD Souther.

After two years with Souther, she dated Albert Brooks for less than two years. Ronstadt then dated politician and former Governor of California Jerry Brown for several years.

She described her relationship with Brown as different from the men she knew in rock and roll because he was intelligent, funny, lived his life carefully, and had a lot of discipline.

Linda Ronstadt and Jerry Brown on their way to Kenya for a safari trip on April 9, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

In the early 1980s, there were rumors that she dated Bill Murray, and in 1983, her paths crossed with Jim Carrey, and they dated for about eight months.

Shortly after, she dated the Star Wars creator, George Lucas, for five years and called it quits even after getting engaged. Her last known relationship was with the R&B and soul vocalist Aaron Neville.

They started dating in 1989, but the “First Couple of Pop Music” ended their relationship in 1992, and she has been a single mom ever since.

Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards on February 21, 1990 | Source: Getty Images

In 2000, Ronstadt started suspecting something was wrong when she could no longer hear the top end of her voice, the part that she used to get in tune.

Her throat started clutching up as if she had a cramp. The singer who people celebrated for adapting to a diverse range of styles found herself struggling to sing.

Photo of Linda Ronstadt circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Initially, Ronstadt thought the headphones she was using were defective before realizing that something was off with her health.

When she went to the doctor, she expected him to tell her that she had pinched a nerve and they could fix it. However, she was shocked when he revealed that she might have Parkinson’s disease.

Photo of Linda Ronstadt circa 1980 | Source: Getty Images

In 2009, she announced her retirement, and in 2013, Ronstadt published an ‘articulate and engaging’ memoir titled “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir.”

Even though she did not write about Parkinson’s disease in the book, Ronstadt revealed that life is very different now, and she’s lucky she has made it so far.

Moving around became more challenging every day, and she stopped walking to the beach, which was five minutes away from her house. Ronstadt had difficulty using utensils, and even driving became a problem.

Photo of Linda Ronstadt at the 1984 Grammy Awards | Source: Getty Images

The disease affected her speech and singing, and she had to start speech therapy. She said,

“It’s like not having a leg or an arm, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

She said if she tried to sing, it would not sound like anything because she could not get to the notes or make quality sounds. Ronstadt revealed that she could be aiming for one note and end up hitting another one.

Linda Ronstadt performing onstage circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images


After she visited the doctor, it took him one year before he told her that she might have Parkinson’s disease. It took him a little longer to conclude that she had a rare condition called progressive supranuclear palsy.

The progressive supranuclear palsy has no known cure and is similar to Parkinson’s disease. However, progressive supranuclear palsy progresses more rapidly than Parkinson’s disease.

Linda Ronstadt accepting the award for Best Documentary for “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” at the AARP The Magazine’s 19th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards on January 11, 2020 | Source: Getty Images

Unfortunately, Ronstadt confirmed that her condition is progressing, and even though she misses the days when she could perform, she is satisfied with working with children and music.

Despite not being able to sing or play the piano and the guitar anymore, Ronstadt still loves music and plays music in her head. She is also a patron of the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy.

The academy is a nonprofit organization that teaches traditional Mexican music and dance to children in San Francisco Bay. Besides, Ronstadt is also content to have a lot of support from her friends and family.

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