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Even Celebrities Don’t Know How to Ask Their Friends About Ozempic

On Monday, the actress Melissa McCarthy posted a photo to Instagram in which she was wearing a tiered, sea-foam-green gown at a gala she had attended alongside the director Adam Shankman. Though the photo itself didn’t cause much of a stir, one comment — which happened to be from the entertainer Barbra Streisand — did. It read, in part, “Did you take Ozempic?”

Screenshots of the comment began circulating soon after, with many viewers criticizing Ms. Streisand for inquiring publicly whether another celebrity was taking a weight-loss medication. (Others wondered if Ms. Streisand realized the comment had been posted where others could see it.) The comment has since been deleted.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Streisand addressed the pushback. She had gone on Instagram to see photos of flowers she had received for her birthday, she wrote in a post on her Instagram and X accounts. “Below them was a photo of my friend Melissa McCarthy who I sang with on my Encore album,” Ms. Streisand wrote. “She looked fantastic! I just wanted to pay her a compliment. I forgot the world is reading!”

Ozempic is part of a relatively new class of medications, used in treating diabetes and obesity, that have surged in popularity in recent years. While it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration only for diabetes, people have increasingly been using Ozempic off-label to lose weight. Researchers are investigating whether these medications can treat a range of other conditions, including sleep apnea, alcohol use disorder and chronic kidney disease.

Melissa McCarthy with the director Adam Shankman at a theater group’s gala on Sunday.Credit…Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

As the drugs have grown in popularity, so has the stress around social etiquette and whether it is proper to ask your thinner-seeming friends if they are using them. For celebrities, the questions are even more fraught. Some stars have made an event out of revealing they take medication — perhaps none more notably than Oprah Winfrey, who announced in People magazine that she was taking a weight loss drug and “done with the shaming.” She later hosted a prime-time special devoted to weight stigma and the new medications. Elon Musk was one of the earliest proponents, writing on Twitter in 2022 after being asked how he had become so “fit, ripped & healthy” that he was taking another drug, Wegovy.

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