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Michaele Salahi Multiple Sclerosis

Michaele Salahi and husband Tareq Salahi appeared on Fox & Friends this morning, during which Michaele revealed for the first time publicly that she has been battling multiple sclerosis for 17 years.

The Real Housewives of DC stars appeared on the show to promote their new book Cirque du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust, written by Diane Dimond. The book, which is being released today, promises to reveal the whole truth about the lives of the Salahis, as well as tell their side of the story when it comes to the now infamous White House party crashing incident.

As for why Michaele, 44, has kept her disease quiet for 17 years, she tells PEOPLE: “No one wants to be seen as sickly… And I didn’t want to be pitied.” Michaele also cites the disease, and not anorexia, for her thin frame.

When it comes to what keeps her going, Michaele tells PEOPLE it’s keeping a positive attitude. “The only way I can deal with it is to smile and act like I can get through it.”

Reading some comments on other sites, it seems some readers who are familiar with the disease are a bit skeptical of Michaele’s claims. One can only hope no one, not even the Salahis, would make up a lie of this magnitude.

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