According to the National Institute of Health, around 2.3% (approximately 5 million) of U.S. adults experience symptoms of OCD in their lifetime. Among them are famous people and celebrities with OCD whose diagnoses and stories help inspire a revolution toward destigmatization and awareness of the mental disorder.
Living with OCD can be difficult. You might feel like it’s you against the world. Like the world does not understand you. In reality, you’re not alone.
Read on as we highlight common signs of OCD and share the stories of famous people with OCD.
Signs & Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
It’s not unusual to want to dutifully keep a spotless workspace or a tidy home. And nothing is alarming about having a strong desire to maintain a schedule or everyday ritual.
However, when the recurring intrusive thoughts (obsessions) are associated with feelings of anxiety and uncontrollable behaviors (compulsions) that impair your social or work function, you might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), some examples of obsessional thoughts that may be linked to OCD include:
- Extreme preoccupation with symmetry and order to an extent that interferes with daily life
- Persistent fear of causing harm to oneself or others—or of being harmed
- Excessive attachment to possessions, difficulty discarding things, and fear of losing something important
- Worrying about being exposed to harmful substances or germs from people or the environment
- Excessive religious or moral scruples, often involving fear of blasphemy or sacrilege
- Disturbing sexual thoughts that cause distress
- Excessive concern with achieving perfection, often leading to feelings of incompleteness
People with OCD have a hard time disengaging from their obsessive thoughts and tend to turn to repetitive mental and/or physical behaviors to get relief. The compulsions are often excessive responses related to the obsessions. For example, someone with an obsessive fear of contamination may engage in excessive cleaning rituals.
Learn more about the diagnostic criteria for OCD.
7 Celebrities with OCD
When popular and influential people share their experiences with disorders like OCD, they help raise awareness, reduce stigmas, and normalize conversations around mental health challenges. They act as proof that help is available and it’s possible to live fulfilling and successful lives.
Here are some celebrities with OCD who are helping burst mental health stereotypes:
Best known as the boy wizard in the widely popular Harry Potter film series, Daniel Radcliffe claims to have suffered from OCD in his youth.
“I had to repeat every sentence I said under my breath. I would encourage everyone to undergo therapy. it doesn’t mean you’re insane or wear. I haven’t had it this year so far and I’m missing it,” he told Britain’s Sun on Sunday.
In addition to his obsessive-compulsive behaviors, Radcliffe has also struggled with alcohol addiction. And according to a 2022 study published in Psychiatry Research Communications OCD frequently co-occurs with addictions and substance use disorders (SUDs).
America’s Got Talent host, longtime entertainer, and comedian, Howie Mandel is arguably one of the most notable celebrities with OCD. Throughout his illustrious career in the limelight, Mandel has been an open book regarding his experience with OCD—going as far as detailing his struggles in his 2009 book, Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me.
Mandel has demonstrated a fear of contamination from being exposed to germs as seen in his insistence on a fist bump rather than a handshake. It’s also believed that he keeps his head clean-shaven as a way to ‘feel cleaner’.
From checking and rechecking locks to unplugging appliances in her house, Jessica Alba claims to have sought a sense of control from her compulsive rituals. “A panic would come over me and I had to do something, and once I did it, I was OK,” the actress-turned-entrepreneur told CosmoGirl.
Next on our list of famous people with OCD is the legendary football/soccer star David Beckham. His obsessive thoughts and rituals center around the need to organize or arrange things in a particular way. This includes putting things in a straight line or in pairs.
“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 in a drawer. Everything has to be perfect,” he admits.
Similar to David Beckham, Charlize Theron appears to struggle with organizational compulsions—sometimes even having trouble sleeping due to the anxiety associated with her condition.
The Oscar-award-winning South African actress is quoted saying, “I have OCD, which is not fun. I have to be incredibly tidy and organized or it messes with my mind and switches off on me.”
While Leonardo DiCaprio has stated that he believes he doesn’t suffer from OCD, it’s implied that the actor best known for his role in the films Shutter Island and Titan has demonstrated mild/moderate symptoms of OCD. Some sources point to compulsive tendencies such as repeatedly stepping on gum stains or cracks in the sidewalk.
Interestingly, DiCaprio played Howard Hughes in the film The Aviator. Hughes is known to have suffered from debilitating OCD—with DiCaprio admitting that his portrayal of the character reminded him of his own battles with the mental disorder.
Capping out the list of famous people with OCD is the Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello. “OCD is weird. I laugh about it now…For me, if I get really stressed about something, I’ll start to have the same thought over and over again, and no matter how many times I get to the resolution, I feel like something bad is going to happen if I don’t keep thinking about it,” she told E! Online.
Cabello claims to have sought medical help—with the intervention helping her “feel so much better” and “much more in control” of her condition. She has since come out encouraging people struggling with OCD or any other mental health issue to get the help they need.
Famous People with OCD – The Bottomline
The number of celebrities and famous people with OCD goes to show that the condition can affect anyone and everyone.
And while the intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors can be incredibly debilitating for some, it’s possible to live a fulfilling life by seeking help. The condition does not have to hold you back!
More Famous People and Celebrities with OCD
- Howard Stern
- Justin Timberlake
- Megan Fox
- Billy Bob Thornton
- Katy Perry
- Fiona Apple
- Julianne Moore
- Daniel Radcliffe – Photo by Philip Romano
- Howie Mandel – Photo by TYMA4561
- Jessica Alba – Photo by TechCrunch
- David Beckham – Photo by Brian Minkoff
- Charlize Theron – Photo by Fuzheado
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Photo by Christopher William Adach
- Camila Cabello – Photo by Conde Nast