As common as it is in society, it should come as no surprise that there are many celebrities and famous people with OCD that are affected by the disorder, just like with the general public.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the five major types of anxiety disorders and it can be extremely difficult to live with if it goes untreated.
OCD affects an estimated 2.2 million adults or about 1 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
This mental health condition is marked by repetitive, unwanted thoughts or behaviors. These recurrent activities, such as obsessive cleaning or counting, are sometimes referred to as “rituals.”
People with OCD tend to find temporary relief from obsessive thoughts by performing these rituals, though if they’re unable to maintain the ritual it can lead to an even greater surge of anxiety.
Both men and women are diagnosed with the disorder at similar rates. Treatment can be extremely effective and is typically a combination of anti-anxiety medications and counseling.
Because anyone can develop this condition, famous people with OCD include many different kinds of artists, from singers and actors to comedians and radio hosts.
With nearly 130,000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members alone, that adds up to a lot of celebrities with OCD who must deal with the disorder just like the rest of us.
Here Are 9 Celebrities and Famous People With OCD
1. Suga, Lead Rapper of the K-Pop Band BTS
A member of arguably one of the biggest bands in the world right now, Suga has been unexpectedly open about his struggles with mental health and, specifically OCD, despite the stigma that South Korean culture places on these issues.
In fact, Suga, in a mix tape he dropped for free, addresses his battle with OCD and seeking psychiatric help in a song called, “The Last,” reports Billboard.
2. Maria Bamford
Though her name might not be recognizable to some, Maria Bamford is a well-established actress and comedienne, starring in TV shows like Arrested Development, Portlandia, and Lady Dynamite, which is partially based on Bamford’s struggles with OCD.
“When I was about 9 years old, I stopped being able to sleep at night ’cause I had a fear I was going to kill my parents,” Bamford told NPR.
She further explains how everyone has strange passing thoughts, but people with OCD tend to obsess over them. Along with using comedy as a form of expression, Bamford received professional help at the age of 35.
3. Lena Dunham
Creator and star of the award winning HBO show “Girls,” Lena Dunham has been incredibly open about her struggles with mental health.
In an essay for the New Yorker entitled, “Difficult Girl, Growing Up with Help,” Dunham writes, “I’m eight, and I’m afraid of everything. The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited too appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meats, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging…homeless people, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep.”
She admits she was very lucky to have parents that understood the seriousness of mental health issues and put her in therapy so she would have the tools she needed to live a healthier life.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio
Something of an icon on the big screen with the number of blockbuster films too long to list, Leonardo DiCaprio famously portrayed Howard Hughes who suffered from debilitating OCD. The actor admits that the role reminded him of his own battles with the condition.
Though his condition is not as serious as the one the real-life Hughes’ endured for most of his life, DiCaprio says he still has to be conscientious about certain compulsions and behaviors, like walking through a door several times.
5. David Beckham
Likely one of the most recognizable soccer stars since Pele, David Beckham opened up about his struggles with OCD in a 2006 interview. His particular obsession is focused on everything being in what he thinks is its proper place.
“I’ll go into a hotel room and before I can relax, I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them into a drawer,” he told The Independent.
While he admits he’s constantly working to control his OCD, Beckham notes that he’s somewhat addicted to tattoos, in part because he likes the pain.
6. Sarah True
A two-time Olympic triathlete, Sarah True is no stranger to repetitive, compulsive hard work and training.
In an interview with Outside Magazine, True said her struggles with anxiety began as a teenager.
In 2017, however, her struggles turned more serious. “I obsessively thought about taking my own life. I’d be out on long training rides and couldn’t stop thinking about swerving into oncoming traffic, every truck becoming an object that could end it all,” she said.
True sought therapy and has since learned to be patient with herself, understanding that even the most awful thoughts will pass. Connecting with nature has also been a positive healing mechanism for her.
7. Justin Timberlake
Once a boy band star with NSYNC, Justin Timberlake is now on his own as a successful musician and actor. When appearing on Saturday Night Live over the past decade, he has proven he has legit comedy chops.
While Timberlake says he doesn’t get nervous before playing massive stadiums full of adoring fans, he does admit to suffering issues with mental health.
In an interview with Collider, the artist was asked if he has the type of OCD where he feels the needs to fix things. Timberlake responded, “I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that.”
8. Howie Mandel
Comedian, showman, and current judge on the show America’s Got Talent, Howie Mandel is one of the most outspoken famous people with OCD, specifically about being a germaphobe. He even wrote a book about it entitled, “Here’s the Deal, Don’t Touch Me.”
Mandel says he struggled as a child because his symptoms didn’t have a name or diagnosis. “So, in my case, they were called Howie,” he wrote in Additude.
While Mandel does take medication and undergoes psychotherapy, he prefers not to talk about the specifics because what works for him might not work for someone else struggling with OCD.
9. Katy Perry
Pop megastar Katy Perry says that her struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder began in her childhood years. Growing up in a strict religious household, Perry’s family moved a lot and she received very little formal schooling, which she says left with her problems with being able to read.
“I have OCD tendencies,” Perry told UK Elle Magazine. “I do strange things with buttoning everything up and color coordinating it, hanging it in a certain way. When things are out of control in your childhood, you find things to focus on.”
16 More Famous People With OCD
- Julianne Moore
- James Spader
- Charlize Theron
- Warren Zevon
- Cameron Diaz
- Megan Fox
- Rachel Bloom
- Fiona Apple
- Amanda Seyfried
- Zach Braff
- Greta Thunberg
- George Ezra
- Jessica Alba
- Daniel Radcliffe
- Billy Bob Thornton
- Camila Cabello
Famous People With OCD Are Just Like Everyone Else
OCD is an equal opportunity mental health condition, much like living with high functioning anxiety, stress, or depression. Famous people with OCD have to deal with the same repetitive thoughts and behaviors as everyone else in society, and fame won’t change that fact.
But like the celebs listed here, it’s possible that treatment can be effective and help everyone live a productive life, despite the daily annoyances of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Finding ways to minimize the thoughts and behaviors associated with the disorder can provide some relief from living with OCD, and there’s no shame in seeking help.
Photo credits of celebrities with OCD:
Suga by SHAQ Photo
Maria Bamford by Markla
Lena Dunham by David Shankbone
Leonardo DiCaprio by Georges Biard
David Beckham by Calebrw
Sarah True (Groff) by Frankie Fouganthin
Justin Timberlake by Gage Skidmore
Howie Mandel by Matt Ottosen
Katy Perry by Greg2600