9 Famous People with Bipolar

Health Writer
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They represent the pinnacle of achievement, but also a thousand struggles. Their struggles are similar to ours and so to know them is to know ourselves. The following are 9 famous people who are now speaking out about their experiences living and thriving with bipolar disorder.


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Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy was a congressman for 16 years. He is now a tireless advocate for mental health. He disclosed his diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the late 1990s and sponsored the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed into law in 2008, which required insurance companies to treat mental illness in the same way they treat physical illnesses.


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Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a singer and actress who played Annie at age 11 according to IMDB.com and hasn’t stopped acting since. In 2013, she announced she was seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. Zeta-Jones had previously been diagnosed with bipolar II, which is often misdiagnosed as depression and had sought treatment in 2011 as well.


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Mel Gibson

In 2008, during the documentary “Acting Class of 1977,” Mel Gibson announced he had recently been diagnosed with manic depression, now known as bipolar disorder, saying, “I had really good highs but some very low lows.”


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Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss, an Academy Award winner, who has appeared in “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” first publicly talked about his struggle with bipolar disorder in 2006. Since that time, he shares his story in hopes of helping others. “By telling my own story, I hope to help remove the stigma. It never should be something to hide.”


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Jane Pauley

In her autobiography, Jane Pauley shares she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She described one time as “My tides were fluctuating, back and forth, back and forth, sometimes so fast they seemed to be spinning. They call this ‘rapid cycling.’ It’s a marvel that a person can appear to be standing still when the mood tides are sloshing back and forth, sometimes sweeping in both directions at once. They call that a ‘mixed state.’ It felt like a miniature motocross race going on in my head.”


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Ray Davies

Ray Davies was the lead singer for the Kinks. His hits include “You Really Got Me” and “Lola.” He also has bipolar disorder. In his biography, “Ray Davies: A Complicated Life,” author Johnny Rogan reports that Davies was diagnosed with bipolar in 1973 after he attempted suicide.


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Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton is well known for her role as a tough woman in “Terminator.” In real life, Linda is just as tough, having lived most of her life with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. She finally accepted help because she wanted to be a better person and mother to her children. Once her bipolar was under control, she told Oprah, “Every day’s a good day.”


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Sinead O’Connor

The singer, Sinead O’Connor worried many people in 2017 when she posted a video that she was alone and suicidal, living in a Travelodge in New Jersey. Sinead had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder according to the Independent. After a fretful several days, it was reported that she was safe and surrounded by a loving family.


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Jeanne-Claude Van Damme

Undiagnosed bipolar disorder took its toll on Jeanne Claude Van Damme, with a cocaine addiction, four failed marriages, a DUI, and a charge of spousal abuse. He was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder according to CBS News and in 1999 quit cocaine cold-turkey and remarried his third wife.