Halle Berry Reveals Her Perimenopause Symptoms Were Mistaken for Herpes

Halle Berry shared insight into her sex life during perimenopause and how her doctor misdiagnosed her symptoms of pain for the "worst case of herpes."

By Alyssa Morin Mar 26, 2024 6:13 PMTags
Watch: Halle Berry Gets Candid About Aging

Halle Berry is letting the cat out of the bag.

The Catwoman actress recently opened up about her sex drive in the early stages of perimenopause—a time around menopause when the ovaries gradually stop working, per John Hopkins Medicine.

"First of all, my ego told me that I was going to skip it," the 57-year-old said at A Day Of Unreasonable Conversation Summit March 25 with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, per The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm very safe, I'm healthy, I managed to get myself off of insulin and manage my diabetes since I'm 20 years old."

However, nothing could've prepared the Oscar winner when she met boyfriend Van Hunt, "the man of my dreams."

In fact, she recalled having a lot sex and how she started to feel extreme pain, which she didn't think was normal. This caused her doctor to mistake her symptoms for the "worst case of herpes"—a common infection that produces blisters and ulcers.

"I realized after the fact that is a symptom of perimenopause," Halle revealed. "My doctor had no knowledge and didn't prepare me."

Halle Berry's Best Roles

She continued, "That's when I knew, 'Oh my gosh, I've got to use my platform, I have to use all of who I am and I have to start making a change and a difference for other women.'"

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival

The X-Men alum explained she hopes to change the conversation about how people feel when women reach their midlife, "which used to be a dirty little word—menopause, perimenopause," she said, "and we in this room have to change that."

As she put it, "It can't just be the doom and gloom story. This is a glorious time of life."

Halle's passionate take on the subject comes a few months after she unapologetically discussed embracing her body.

"The most important thing about owning your sexuality as a woman is accepting the station you're at," she told Women's Health in August. "I'm my best self now that I reached 56 years old. I have the most to offer. I have zero blanks to give anymore. I'm solidly in my womanhood. I finally realize what I have to say is valuable, even if no one else agrees."

This is just one of Halle's inspirational messages about womanhood, aging and body acceptance. Keep reading to see more of her words of wisdom over the years.

On Life Experience Over Vanity

"Being thought of as a beautiful woman has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless and it is always transitory," Halle revealed at a London press conference in 2004.

On Motherhood

"I'm a much better mother at 46, or 41 when I had her [daughter Nahla], than if I were 21 or 25. I was just a little baby, just trying to figure it out, trying to figure out who I was," Halle shared on Wendy Williams.

"For me, motherhood is learning about the strengths I didn't know I had, and dealing with the fears I didn't know existed," the Catwoman actress tweeted

On Proving Her Worth

"I was accused of stuffing the ballot box for my high school prom-queen election because they couldn't believe the only black girl in the school won," the Monster Ball actress shared with Harper's Bazaar.

On Her Signature Haircut

"I think that was because the directors and producers actually saw me. Before that, I had long hair like every other girl like me. When I got this haircut, I felt like my best self," the groundbreaking Oscar winner told InStyle.

On Her Style Evolution

"I think I've been just learning as I've been going along," Halle shared her style evolution with Yahoo! Life. "I've kind of been experimenting and figuring out what looks good on me, what works for me, what makes me feel like me, like my best self. Seeing pictures of myself and realizing what went right and what went wrong. You know, 'I'll do that again, I'll stick with that.'"

On Stardom & Protecting Her Time

"Sometimes the most important word you can learn is ‘No,'" Halle captioned an Instagram post in October 2019.

"I didn't disappear. I traded: nights out for knowledge seeking, parties for intimate gatherings, chasing money for chasing purpose, meaningless work for my passion, being busy for protecting time, soul extortion for soul searching, living for others for living my life," the X-Men actress wrote in another post.

On Her Kids

"When I happen to have free time, I am always thinking about what can I do with [Nahla and Maceo]...I want that quality time," Halle shared with People speaking about her children.

"My kids—I have had two in my 40s. I have managed to have two beautiful, healthy children, like that's the best I think I could ever do in life," the Monster's Ball superstar shared with The Toronto Sun.

On Her Haters

"I've learned that I can't care about what people say about me because caring is too stressful and too hurtful," the Swordfish actress shared with Yahoo! Life.

"It can start to matter and affect you when you think about being a brand. People want to know that they can trust you. But I'm happy to say none of the negative things that come from those people hiding behind their computers—I call them the haters—have permeated me through my career," Halle offered more personal insight with Yahoo! Life.

On Past Relationships

"It's just that you realize you are not meant to go the distance with everybody. We were meant to bring this amazing little person into the world. And I think that's why we came together," Halle told Vogue in Sept. 2010.

On Embracing Aging

"Embracing [aging] is realizing every stage you're at, and being OK with that," Halle told The L.A. Times. "When you feel good about how you look and the age you are, and you're not trying to be 10 years younger—if you look that way, great—but aging is about embracing who you are and the life that you've lived, and the knowledge and the wisdom that you've gained."

On Living Mindfully

"As a woman, when you embrace where you are in life, then I think the struggle isn't so hard. If you're 42 and still think you're an ingenue, then you've got a problem," Halle told Harper's Bazaar.

"We have to stop wanting to look like that decade before. We have to stop coveting that. Let it go and embrace it now and really be OK. It's easy to say, I guess, but that's the goal," the Oscar-winning performer shared with Yahoo! Life.

On Plastic Surgery

"When you see everybody around you doing it, you have those moments when you think, 'Do I need to do the same thing?'" Berry intimately shared with Yahoo! Beauty. "I just have kept reminding myself that beauty really is as beauty does, and it is not so much about my physical self. Aging is natural, and that's going to happen to all of us...I just want to always look like myself, even if that's an older version of myself." 

On Balancing Work & Family

"You don't ever balance it completely. It's a constant struggle of a little more time there, a little more time here, and feeling a little bit guilty all the time," Halle explained to People.

"I know that in order to be a good mother I have to be a happy, fulfilled, well-rounded person and my career is very much a part of that," the megastar revealed to Telegraph.

"We have to have them both and we have to keep trying to figure it out. And we get it wrong sometimes. And guess what, that is okay too," the Die Another Day actress shared with People.

On Staying Healthy & Managing Diabetes

"It's a lot harder than it used to be. As I get older, I am more conscious of what I eat," Berry revealed to The L.A. Times. "I have never worked out with a lot of weights unless I had to for a film role. I am diabetic, so exercising has always been a part of managing my disease and keeping my sugars under control."

On Representation & Her Beauty Icons

"Well, I struggled to find women who reflected me when I was growing up. Being a woman of color, I can't say there were many around me," Halle explained in an interview with Marie Claire. "There was, of course, my mother. But she was a blue-eyed blonde. And while I looked up to her, I struggled to find images of women that looked like me. So I would have to say probably Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll and Diana Ross. They were my beauty icons, in my mind."