Reviewed by Heather Cashell, LCSW
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders found in children, but the mental illness doesn’t stop there. It often follows the child into their adult life and is frequently combined with other mental illnesses or disorders, making it extremely difficult to cope with.
Since ADHD causes so much disruption in an individual’s life, many people feel like they’ll never be able to lead a happy, successful, fulfilling, and quality life due to ADHD. While there’s no cure for ADHD (yet), there are ways to manage it and reduce the symptoms.
In fact, many of the people you grew up admiring, watching, listening to, and idolizing grew up with ADHD. Some of them even saw their ADHD follow them through adulthood and through all the fame and fortune. They’ve proven over, and over that, while it may be difficult living with ADHD, you can move past it and find relief.
More importantly, you can find the fulfillment, success, happiness, and quality that you’ve been searching for in life.
With that being said, you might be asking yourself, “Who are these celebrities with ADHD, and do I know any of them?” Don’t worry, we’re going to detail 10 famous people with ADHD and how they could find success, despite it.
- Michael Phelps
Many of us know Michael Phelps as one of the greatest competitive swimmers of all-time. He’s the winner of 28 Olympic medals, 23 of which are Gold Medals, making him the most decorated Olympian of all-time. It’s safe to say Phelps has accomplished plenty in his career.
What many of us don’t know about Michael Phelps is his battle with ADHD, which dates back to his 6th grade days. He had one teacher tell his mother that he would never be able to pay attention to anything, but boy, she was wrong. There was one thing he found solace in -- swimming.
Swimming became the only thing he could focus on, and the only place he felt 100% comfortable -- in control. He now helps spread that same joy to thousands of boys and girls worldwide with The Michael Phelps Foundation.
- Howie Mandel
For those of you that enjoyed the ‘Deal or No Deal’ craze of the 2000s, you’re well-aware of Howie Mandel being the host. You’ve likely also heard him mention his obsessive-compulsive disorder, which roots in his fear of germs.
In addition to all of that, Howie Mandel has also publicly talked about his ADHD, making it difficult for him to sit still. The combination of ADHD and OCD makes it hard for him to be content with anything but says having a therapist to talk to definitely helps.
Howie Mandel was able to overcome his struggles with ADHD and OCD. He used to sell carpet and rugs for a living but is now one of his generation's most well-known television personalities. Not only that, but he has voiced a wide range of animated characters.
3. Simone Biles
Simone Biles has won the hearts of many as one of the most down-to-earth and respected athletes of this generation. Born in 1997, Biles was just 22 years old when she became the most-decorated American gymnast of all-time and third-most decorated gymnast in the world.
Her 25 World Medals are more than any other gymnast, and she has a combined 5 Olympic Medals (4 Gold Medals) that she won in 2016. Her 30 combined medals are only 3 behind the all-time world leader, Vitaly Scherbo, which she will likely surpass in the next few years.
When she’s not finding success as a gymnast, Biles has been very vocal about her struggle with ADHD and other mental illnesses. She came forward about her struggles after hackers posted her medical records online. She still takes medication for ADHD to this day and remains vocal about supporting others in their fight with the disorder.
- Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake is one of the most-known singers, songwriters, recording producers, and actors of his time. He took the pop music industry by storm as an NSYNC member, a boy band formed in the mid-1990s. As a solo artist, he made a name for himself in the R&B genre as well.
Over his career, Justin Timberlake has had 35 songs featured in Billboard’s Hot 100 -- 19 of which made it in the top-10 and 5 of which peaked at No. 1. Whether you like him as an artist or not, chances are you’ve danced to his music before.
To many people’s surprise, Justin Timberlake is another celebrity suffering from a mixture of ADHD and OCD. He’s been vocal about how it affects his daily life and is quick to confirm how difficult it is to live with. Even his wife had to make adjustments when learning to live with his ADHD, but they make it work every day.
- Adam Levine
Another extremely famous singer, songwriter, and television personality, Adam Levine, has accomplished a lot in his life. Not only did he find major success with his band, Maroon 5, but he took that success to television as a judge on The Voice.
On stage, Adam Levine looks as cool as a cucumber. He seems to mesh well with the other judges on The Voice and seems to get along well with his band members. He always has a smile on his face, is always joking around, and is adamant about fans' spending time.
With that being said, you would never guess that he lived with ADHD both as a child and an adult. He has openly admitted to having trouble writing songs and even recording them. He was surprised, much like many of you, to find that his ADHD followed him into adulthood, but ultimately received the help he needed when he visited a professional to discuss the symptoms.
To round out the musical guests on our list of famous people with ADHD, we have William James Adams Jr. -- referred to by his stage name, Will.I.Am. Most known for being a member of The Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.Am is also an accomplished songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, television personality, and actor.
At a young age, Will.I.Am was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As he grew older, he found ways to take advantage of his shortcomings, noting that ADHD and his music career were the perfect combinations.
Will.I.Am believes that his ADHD helps him in the studio, as well as in meetings. Even though he finds it difficult to sit still and always has a million things running through his head, he feels the ADHD helps him stay productive. In addition to that, he feels his music helps him cope with ADHD, which is why he sees it as a good pair.
- Terry Bradshaw
We’ve talked about two Olympic athletes so far, but Terry Bradshaw is our first professional football player. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 1970 NFL Draft and went on to have an incredible 14-year career that ended with 27,989 yards and 212 touchdowns.
In addition to being named to the Hall of Fame, winning 4 Super Bowls, and even earning an MVP trophy, Terry Bradshaw became one of the most-liked TV personalities on Fox NFL Sunday. He has brought the joy of football to fans for over 50 years.
Of course, being on this list means he also manages ADHD. He’s been vocal about it since 1974, when he won his first Super Bowl, even noting that ADHD almost led to his removal from football. During his childhood and throughout college, his condition made it difficult to do well in school, and was often made fun of for his grades.
None of that mattered to him, though. He sought treatment for his condition and has found ways to cope with it throughout his personal and professional life.
- Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum has become one of the most well-known actors of his generation. His first big role was in a movie called Coach Carter in 2005, but his breakthrough moment came with Step Up in 2006 -- a street-dancing movie.
After that, Channing Tatum found success in a series of movies, including 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL, G.I. Joe, The Vow, She’s the Man, and Dear John. He’s performed in roles that range from dancing to stripping, comedy, and even romance.
Behind all of that, Tatum has been vocal about his troubles with ADHD and dyslexia. Growing up, he was prescribed medication, but he often struggled in school and felt like his teachers didn’t know how to help him with his learning differences.
As he sought the help of professionals, he started to learn how to cope with his ADHD and dyslexia and how to take advantage of it.
- Emma Watson
Growing up, Emma Watson always wanted to be an actress. She was born in Paris, attended Dragon School in the UK, and trained to be an actress at Stagecoach Theatre Arts in Oxford. It didn’t take long for her to land a major role, which she started casting for 9.
Of course, that role was Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. She would go on to star with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint for the 8-movie series. Her role is one of the most iconic female roles in the history of movie roles.
While she’s not as vocal about ADHD as others on this list, she was diagnosed with the disorder (combined type) at a young age. She even struggled with the disorder throughout the taping of Harry Potter but ultimately found a way to cope with the difficulties.
10. Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo is an extremely talented and accomplished actor and producer. His acting career began in the 1990s and took off after being cast in a play (This Is Our Youth) and a drama film (You Can Count On Me) nearly a decade later.
Since then, he has found success in several romantic comedies and thrillers before landing the role of Bruce Banner in Hulk. Of course, that role continued through the Avengers series and continues to this day. He also found success as a producer later in his career.
Ruffalo has also been vocal about his struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, and depression. He mentioned how he always felt different and felt like he didn’t belong wherever he went. It followed him into his adulthood, but he found comfort in the treatments handed down by professionals.
Can You Find Help For ADHD?
Every single person on this list was once told that they weren’t good enough, that they couldn’t focus enough to find success, and that they would never amount to anything because of their conditions. At the same time, every single person on this list knew that it was just a stigma.
And it was a stigma they put to rest, proving that ADHD isn’t something that has to hold you back from leading a quality life.
If you feel like you’re suffering from ADHD, finding help is the No. 1 priority. There are a lot of people out there ready to extend their hands out to help. You just need to know where to look. That’s where we come in.
At Mind Diagnostics, we know how troubling a time this is for you and your loved ones. That’s why we remain dedicated to helping you find the right therapists in your area. We also offer a comprehensive ADHD test online if you’re unsure whether or not your symptoms are ADHD-related.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We can’t wait to help you find the professional assistance you need to start leading a healthier life!
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