Former talk show host and actor Ricki Lake is embracing her own beauty after revealing to fans that she's been experiencing hair loss for nearly 30 years.
In an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Lake opened up just days after sharing on social media that the condition has been "debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, [and] lonely," though she never discussed it openly.
"This was personal. I'm overwhelmed by the reaction," Lake said Friday on "GMA." "I was really scared people were going to say mean things."
"This has been something that has plagued me for so, so long. It was my secret, and I'm an open book," she added. "You guys grew up with me -- I wear everything on my sleeve. I've talked extensively about my husband who died by suicide almost three years ago -- I have shared, I'm an over-share-er. I was just at the end of my rope; it had gotten too difficult to manage."
Taking to Facebook Jan. 1, Lake, who took third place in the 13th season of "Dancing With the Stars," explained that when she starred in "Hairspray" in 1988, her hair was damaged to the point of no return.
The 51-year-old told Roberts she also blames her career as a public figure, hormones, crash dieting, weight fluctuations and genetics for the hair loss.
Lake said she tried a hair treatment and wore hair extensions as remedies.
"I've been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some," Lake wrote on Facebook. "My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening. I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable."
Lake appeared on "GMA" wearing no wig or extentions.
"I feel like I can finally be truly me," she noted. "Actually... I don't think I look that bad!"
Lake's courage to share her struggle inspired women who also experience hair loss to share their selfies.
"Your courage has set so many women free today, and for that I say, thank you," one woman wrote.
"Thank you for being honest and showing beauty in vulnerability," said another.
"I'm holding my head up high," Lake said on "GMA." "I've never been prouder of myself and I'm really touched by the reaction and the fact that I can help others through this process."
Today, Lake is working on a new documentary about birth control and hopes to write a book about her hair journey.