7 Famous People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The HealthCentral Editorial Team | Aug 23rd 2012 Aug 18th 2017
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Having OCD is incredibly challenging for people who have it, but that doesn’t mean that a person can’t function normally and even thrive with the condition. In this slideshow, we look at seven successful celebrities who have OCD.
Cameron Diaz, star of such films as The Mask and There’s Something About Mary, admitted in a 1997 article that she suffered from a phobia of germs that caused her to clean the doorknobs in her house so many times that she faded their paint. She has since “made her peace” with this phobia, she says. She even removed stitches from The Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s wrist on camera!
“The Donald,” host of the hit television show The Apprentice, also admits to having “borderline” obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes him to fear germs. He reports that he will not shake hands with people, especially teachers, whom he says have “17,000 germs per square inch on their desks.” His phobia also prevents him from touching the ground floor button on elevators.
Titanic and Shutter Island star Leonardo DiCaprio was obsessed with sidewalks as a child, often going back over his walking routes to repeatedly step on cracks or gum stains. Doorways also triggered his OCD. DiCaprio admits he allowed his compulsive tendencies to worsen in order to better play his role as film producer/director and fellow OCD sufferer Howard Hughes in the movie Aviator.
Like Donald Trump, Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel won’t shake hands with people because of a fear of dirt and germs. He even keeps his head shaved in order to “feel more clean.” Mandel details his struggles with both OCD and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in his book Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me, published in 2009.
International soccer star David Beckham’s OCD expresses itself by an obsession with pairing items and organizing them by color or type. According to his wife Victoria, Beckham has purchased three refrigerators so that he can have one for drinks, one for salads, and one for other foods. The items must be in even numbers, as well. “If there’s three cans of Diet Coke, he’d throw one away instead of having three–because it has to be an even number.”
Billy Bob Thornton
Sling Blade actor-turned-musician Billy Bob Thornton said his OCD began in his childhood as a result of abuse. An obsession with mathematics and numbers is the primary way his OCD expresses itself, with numbers taking on meanings that are specific to certain people and circumstances. Thornton’s OCD tendencies inspired him to write a song called “Always Countin’.”
Singer and actor Justin Timberlake has said that he suffers from both attention-deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. “You try living with that,” he laments. “It’s complicated.” Timberlake’s OCD behaviors include an obsession with lining objects up and feeling that he absolutely must have a certain food item in the house at all times.