Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder that does not discriminate against age, race, or time. This disorder has a significant impact on the lives of many Americans. But what many might find surprising is that OCD does not care whether you are famous or worth millions of dollars either. So, imagine its impact on rich and famous people with OCD who are constantly in the spotlight.
While it might seem bizarre, there are many people who have refused to let mental health issues like OCD stand in their way of achieving success and the adoration of their many fans. You might be shocked to hear that some of your favorite celebrities count themselves among the large number of people who deal every day with the impact of OCD in their lives.
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Here are 13 famous celebrities with OCD that have not allowed it to get in their way of being successful.
1. Daniel Radcliffe
At the tender age of 11, Daniel Radcliffe found himself thrust into the spotlight when he first starred as Harry Potter. This beloved, shy boy did not have it easy, and he grew up in the public eye. As his stardom rapidly progressed over a short time, he had to learn to deal with the pressure of constant public exposure.
Admittingly, Radcliffe described his persona as “attracted to chaos” and “dead behind the eyes” after receiving his official OCD diagnosis. But what changed his life was being in the Harry Potter franchise because it made him have a lot of fun. He was smart enough to make his initial choices early on in his career that kept him franchised to the Potter series. This was fortunate for him because, at the time, there were not many decent roles for teenage boys.
Having been diagnosed with OCD at the age of five, he had OCD and mental health issues drilled into him at an incredibly young age. Radcliffe opened up about his struggles with OCD to The Sun in 2012. He had to work especially hard to keep his compulsion a secret while intensely suffering from an anxiety disorder.
2. Howard Stern
As a famous American TV and radio personality and a well-acclaimed author, Howard Stern has not let his obsessive-compulsive disorder stop him in his artistic endeavors. He has earned an outstanding reputation for disarming mega-celebrities, ranging from Donald Trump to Bill Murray. However, during his journey to becoming a multi-million net worth famous radio star, he found it difficult to battle his long-standing obsessive-compulsive disorder. His condition causes him to touch his radio mic several times and press multiple buttons before starting his show, but with a compulsion to do it right-handed only.
While Stern’s unstoppable personality has allowed him to lead many celebrities to publicly spill private details of their life on his show, discussion about his OCD and mental conditions and issues have remained quiet. However, in an interview with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, Stern spoke about how heartbreak over his divorce led his compulsion and anxiety to worsen and put his relationship with his daughters at risk. He found that psychotherapy helped him start a new chapter in his life and allowed him to open up like nothing before.
3. David Beckham
As a famous English football captain, David Beckham is known around the globe. But what you and many others probably do not know is that this role model has obsessive-compulsive disorder. He is obsessed with keeping things perfectly arranged. For example, a few of his known eccentric rituals include:
- Rearranging hotel rooms
- Purchasing numerous cans of soft drinks and arranging them to perfection
- Organizing all his clothes by color
Beckham spoke up about his OCD in a television interview and explained about his bizarre and compulsive rituals and the urge to make everything perfect. He spoke of how he has tried to break his OCD cycle multiple times but has been unable to do so.
Of course, living with a famous person with OCD can be challenging, and Beckham’s wife, Victoria, was the first to figure out her husband’s mental health problems. His organization quirks often run contrary to what she does in their home but somehow, they make it work.
While Beckham kept his OCD condition secret from his Real Madrid teammates, his former teammates from Manchester United enjoyed poking fun at his condition. They would find it amusing to go into his hotel room and disorganized his clothes and closet, and then spread his shoes around the room.
4. Katy Perry
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that usually involves repetitive, compulsive actions and bizarre thoughts. Famous “Roar” singer Katy Perry knows the uneasiness of this mental condition all too well and blames her OCD on her childhood. She began experiencing flares as a child and acknowledged in Elle magazine that she has OCD tendencies and does strange things like buttoning everything up, hanging clothes a certain way, and color coordinating them. She said, “When things are out of control in your childhood, you find things to focus on.”
In interviews with the media, Katy has explained that she never had proper schooling and was unable to make long-term friendships because her parents were always moving around the United States while she was a child. She believes her lack of education is the dominant factor behind her OCD.
Some of Perry’s bizarre OCD behaviors include:
- Brushing her teeth four to six times daily
- Having faith in the existence of aliens
- Being unable to travel without her teddy bear
- Having a compulsion to have everything in alphabetical order
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5. Justin Timberlake
When talking to the media, Justin Timberlake has told them that “Life is complicated.” Not only does Timberlake suffer from OCD, but he also has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In an interview with Collider, Timberlake said, “I have OCD mixed with ADD. You try living with that. It’s complicated.”
So, what are his addictive rituals? Timberlake says he is addicted to performing live. As soon as he sees large audiences in the arena, it stirs up his compulsion, and his addiction takes control. He just wants to keep performing live forever. This compulsion does not go away once the performance ends.
Of course, being married to someone with OCD is always a challenge. According to a source, Timberlake and his now-wife Jessica Biel did go through some arguments about his need to keep their favorite food lined up accordingly in the refrigerator. Biel still has a hard time with her husband’s habits of needing to arrange bottles of beer, water, and whiskey just right. As for now, no one is spilling the beans on what has been done or how Timberlake copes with his OCD symptoms.
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6. Howie Mandel
Living with OCD is not easy, especially if you are a celebrity suffering from various forms of OCD. One such famous person is comedian Howie Mandel. One of the compulsions he is most famous for is being an extreme germaphobe. This is the reason why he always keeps his head shaved. He says he feels a lot cleaner with his hair always shaved.
Mandel admits to what has become his most common and rigid compulsion. He states, “The simplest example I can give you is: I don’t think I locked the door, so I go back, and I check the door like everyone else. And then I still don’t think I locked the door, so I go back and recheck the door. And I still think I didn’t lock the door. And I can go back, like, 30 times. Intellectually, I know that I’ve checked the door 29 times before, but I can’t stop myself from going back and checking it again and again and again.”
Obsessive-compulsive disorder has had an effect on both Mandel’s comedy career and family. He has said that comedy is the only part when he can deliver his best brain energies to concentrate on every minor detail around him. He tries not to allow OCD to interfere with his passion for his work as a comedian and living like one. As for his family, Mandel’s is much more patient and tolerant than an average person’s family would be.
7. Charlize Theron
Famous actress and humanitarian Charlize Theron has always been open about her obsessive-compulsive disorder. While she was very wild in her 20s and explored the world like nothing could stop her, once she reached her 30s, things kept whirling around her OCD and related behaviors.
Belonging to a world of glamour and stardom with a brilliant career, Theron’s OCD runs entirely against all that, especially with her extreme aversion to the glitter of all things. She opened up about her OCD compulsion to glitter while appearing on the Ellen show. She said, “I am against it … I don’t buy it. Ever. But it’s on the costume dresses. There’s a lot of times when I am walking through my house, and you know I have a little OCD thing, and I’m thinking, where is this glitter coming from? And it’s those princess dresses …”
Theron has spoken multiple times about the secret that has helped her become less anxious, her kids. She has said that being a single mother has taught her incredible ways and immense tolerance for sorting out her anxiety as much as possible. Theron has also credited her therapy for OCD for making it possible for her to come to a point in her life where she is in harmony with both her work and her two adopted children.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
Everyone around the world knows the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio. This successful actor was born to be a star and has won an Oscar and three Golden Globe awards that prove his talent and acting skills. However, even though DiCaprio has enjoyed massive success throughout his life, he could not avoid the effect that having an obsessive-compulsive disorder had on him.
DiCaprio finally opened up about his OCD about 10 years ago. He had been hiding it for so long. His talks suggest that he has been aware of its effects on his life since he was a child. When speaking to About.com, he said, “I remember as a child stepping on cracks on the way to school and having to walk back a block and step on that same crack.”
Another OCD behavior that DiCaprio has been open about is that he must walk the hallways back and forth to make sure that no chewing gum has stuck to his shoes. His OCD ways have not escaped those around him, either. On-set, his make-up artists gossip about his repetitive behaviors that include touching brushes and frequently doing strange compulsive rituals.
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9. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham has made a big name for herself in the entertainment industry. But with that fame, she has also gained a lot of attention for openness about her struggle with OCD and a plethora of other mental health concerns. This actress and writer has opened up about her never-ending “Fears of Night.” At the tender age of only eight years old, and later as an adult in The New Yorker magazine, Dunham wrote, “I am afraid of everything.”
The following statement written by Dunham sums up her fears very well, “The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep.” Creepy huh? Imagine having to deal with all those fears.
However, there is more to Dunham’s struggles with fear and OCD that do not seem to be sorted out as of yet. Now that she is an adult, her OCD continually shapeshifts. Her obsessive disorder has now been turned into a character on the HBO show “Girls.” Dunham refers to this character as her alter ego.
10. Fiona Apple
You may know Fiona Apple as an American singer and songwriter. However, you may not know that she recently revealed that she has been dealing with and struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In talking to Elle magazine, she said, “I had really bad obsessive-compulsive disorder. At its worst, I was compelled to leave my house at three o’clock in the morning and go out in the alley because I just knew that the paper-towel roll I threw in the recycling bin was uncomfortable like it was lying the wrong way, and I would be down in the garbage.”
Yes, Apple feels compelled to compulsively straighten out garbage cans. But OCD has caused her to do many more rituals as this anxiety problem has affected her career and personal life much over the past several years. She cannot drive, and it took her seven years to record just one album because of her OCD.
Apple has supposedly been captivated by OCD since her childhood. She says she has very dark memories of her past, which could be the possible cause of her mental disorder.
11. Donald Trump
Next on the list is none other than the current president of the United States himself, Donald Trump. By now, most of us are familiar with many of Trump’s quirks. While he might not be afraid of making very bold decisions, he has expressed multiple times in interviews in the past that he fears things that can be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
To start, Trump has confessed to having germaphobia and is compelled to wash his hands repeatedly, and as he put it, “as many times as possible!” But his compulsions are not just limited to hand washing. He always prefers to drink from straws to avoid contaminating his hands from the cup.
Back in the 1990s, Trump participated in about 15 hours of long interviews with radio personality Howard Stern. Many copies of these interviews still exist. In these interviews, Trump expressed his OCD briefly.
Here’s what Stern has said about his interviews with Trump, “Today, we learned some interesting things about Donald Trump. He’s very wealthy, and yet he’s a prisoner of obsessive-compulsive disorder.”
12. Cameron Diaz
You may know actress Cameron Diaz from her roles in such famous movies as “The Mask,” “Something about Mary,” or “Charlie’s Angels.” You might also know that she entered the entertainment industry at the very tender age of 15 as a model. From there, her good fortune directed her to stardom in Hollywood. However, what you probably do not know is that she too suffers from OCD.
Diaz admits that she has been captivated with obsessive-compulsive disorder and germaphobia since she was 19. One of her most noted compulsive rituals is rubbing her doorknobs repeatedly, so many times that the paint over them became faded.
What is interesting is that her other noted bizarre ritual contradicts her compulsion to touch doorknobs. Her other obsession is opening doors with her elbows so that she does not come in contact with germs.
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13. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba is a well-known actress who entered the entertainment industry as a teen star and turned into a successful businesswoman with her own company and brand. She has confirmed that she, in fact, does suffer from OCD.
As a child, Alba suffered from multiple health issues, including kidney problems, pneumonia, and asthma. Like others with OCD, her prior health struggles and lack of control over her life could have led to her obsessive-compulsive behavior.
In an interview with ABC News, Alba stated, “I used to unplug every single appliance in my house. Or I’d double-check every door in my house to make sure it was locked at night…It was like a panic came over me, and I had to do something, and once I did it, I was OK. … It was me needing to control something.”
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The Bottom Line
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. It is a chronic issue that takes twists and turns that can lead to exceedingly long-lasting symptoms that take over people’s lives.
The commonality of OCD is too widespread to escape. Even celebrities are not spared from the effects of it. The only way to effectively manage this disorder is to get it diagnosed as soon as possible by a certified physician. There are many ways that OCD can be treated, ranging from small to more extensive treatments, including medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Individuals with this disorder need to find the treatment that best suits their unique needs for settling their anxiety that triggers their compulsive behaviors.