Who Are Some Famous People With OCD?

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/24/2022

Affecting millions of people, obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions. Because of its prevalence, famous celebrities are bound to also struggle with this disorder, and many have spoken out about their experiences with OCD. In this article, you will learn about some very well-known people, such as actors with OCD, who live with the condition every day just like everyone else who has it.

Crop person wiping smartphone with napkin

Leonardo DiCaprio

One of the most famous actors of all time, Leonardo DiCaprio, has been open about his struggles with OCD and has described some of the symptoms he’s dealt with throughout his adult life.

He has mentioned that he felt the compulsion to walk through doorways multiple times, repeatedly turn a light on and off, and would also feel the need to step on every crack or gum stain while walking. [1]

While he has claimed to have had the disorder under control, Leonardo also played a character based on business magnate and filmmaker Howard Hughes in a movie called The Aviator

Hughes was also a significant individual who had severe OCD, and allegedly, to get into character and improve his performance, he gave into his compulsions. This apparently made his OCD worse than before, and it would take a tremendous amount of time and effort to get the disorder under control again.

Howie Mandel

The comedian, actor, and TV host, Howie Mandel, is another famous figure who has also openly discussed his experiences and is one of the best-known OCD celebrities.

Mandel struggles with contamination OCD, a subtype of OCD where people have fears of things such as dirt, germs, viruses, or being poisoned.

Because of this, Howie Mandel is known for not shaking hands with people and instead will “fist bump” people he comes in contact with if he has to greet them.

His struggles with OCD go much further beyond this, however. He doesn’t handle money unless it’s cleaned, his makeup artists must use brand new materials, and won’t touch handrails. His iconic bald-look is also done by-choice as well because he feels that it’s much cleaner for him. [2]

Assorted-type Painting Brush Set

Daniel Radcliffe

Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, has had OCD from a very young age and had developed repetitive compulsions to deal with his obsessions and his symptoms suggest that he’s one of the biggest celebrities with severe OCD.

One of the most notable ones he has described is having the urge to repeat every sentence he said under his breath. This is to try to keep his compulsion hidden. [3]

Like Leonardo DiCaprio, he has also mentioned that it would take him five minutes or longer to shut off a light.

After meeting with a therapist, he was able to get his OCD under control, and he advocates therapy for anyone who is having a hard time with the condition.

Charlize Theron

Actress Charlize Theron has mentioned in interviews her experiences with organizational OCD.

She has given an example of how she struggles with anxiety if things are disorganized and misplaced inside cabinets. Sometimes thoughts will keep her from sleeping if her compulsion to arrange things properly isn’t carried out. [4]

She has also talked about some of the challenges the disorder presents for her as a mother. For some people, becoming a new parent can make OCD worse by causing more intrusive thoughts.

Stack of Towels on Rack

Megan Fox

Megan Fox, a famous model and actress, perhaps best known for her role in Transformers, has contamination OCD and has fears related to public toilets and eating utensils because of it.

In one interview, she discusses that she refuses to use toilets without seat covers because each time it’s used by someone, it releases bacteria into the air. Also, despite being washed after every meal, she dislikes the idea of using restaurant silverware because millions of others have used it. [5]

The distress that comes with the disorder has caused her to isolate herself often, and she has also struggled with trichotillomania or hair-pulling disorder.

Cameron Diaz

Another actress who struggles with contamination OCD is Cameron Diaz, who is famous for her roles in There’s Something About Mary, The Mask, and Charlie’s Angels, among others.

Cameron Diaz especially has a fear of doorknobs and will avoid touching them with her hands, and will try to use her elbows instead whenever she has the chance.

At her own house, she has also mentioned that she will even clean her own doorknobs multiple times to the point where the paint started fading away. [6]

Eventually, she was able to “make peace” with her condition and has been doing better ever since.

Woman sitting near white wooden door

Billy Bob Thornton

Actor and musician, Billy Bob Thornton, has obsessions and compulsions related to numbers, and he attributes his disorder to his rough upbringing. [7]

He has reported that he believes specific numbers are tied to certain people or circumstances and that he can’t use these numbers at times.

His experiences with OCD served as his inspiration for writing his song “Always Countin’” in 2007.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba, a famous actress known for her roles in various films and TV series like Fantastic Four and Dark Angel, has mentioned that her OCD would frequently cause her to panic if she couldn’t use her compulsions.

Some of the compulsions she has talked about openly are repeatedly checking doors and unplugging all of the appliances in her house. [6]

These checking compulsions are very typical for people with OCD, and they’re often performed to prevent something harmful or catastrophic from happening.

Frank Sinatra

The late and great singer and performer Frank Sinatra was believed to have OCD based on some information from his wife, Barbara.

According to her, Sinatra would often take up to 10 showers per day, which would suggest that he had obsessions related to cleanliness. [8]

This indicates that Frank Sinatra may have been struggling with contamination OCD, but this was most likely unknown or unheard of at the time.

Black Shower Head Switched on

David Beckham

Soccer (or football) star David Beckham has opened up about his ongoing issues with symmetry and perfectionism.

He has mentioned having rituals such as rearranging hotel rooms and lining up and counting soda cans until they are just perfect. Regarding his wardrobe, he has been on record as saying that all of his clothes must be arranged based on color and would buy the same identical undergarments. [9]

Beckham has mentioned that he’s tried to stop these compulsions in the past but has ultimately given in to the urges to have everything even and symmetrical each time so far.

Do You Have OCD?

As you can see, there are many famous men and women who are known to have dealt with OCD for most of their lives, and if you think you might also be struggling with the disorder, you’re not alone.

Some celebrities have talked about getting treated and learning how to cope with their symptoms, whereas others have not, and each day is an uphill battle with them. Unfortunately, this also happens to many ordinary people with OCD, and they go untreated for a long time, sometimes for their entire lives.

The truth is, OCD is something that is very treatable once they are diagnosed with the condition by a mental health professional. Beating OCD will require psychotherapy to help stop compulsions and weaken the obsessions, and many people also benefit from prescription medication to help them with therapy.

Therapy with OCD is done through a method known as exposure and response prevention, and it teaches patients how to not respond with compulsions to the fears that they’re being exposed to. At first, this can seem very uncomfortable, but it’s a gradual process that works by helping people by changing their thoughts and behaviors over time, and eventually, they become desensitized to their fears and obsessions.

Therapist Giving Advice

If you think you might have OCD, but you’re unsure, you can take this free OCD test and find out. It’s entirely free, and the results can help you make the appointment you need to formally get diagnosed and start treatment as soon as possible.

Conclusion

OCD doesn’t discriminate between anyone, including some of the world’s most wealthy and famous individuals, and perhaps you’ve seen some familiar faces here with this list of celebrities with OCD. If you have OCD, hopefully, their experiences can make you feel less alone in your battles with the condition, and perhaps you can start getting the path to treatment as many of them have.

References

  1. Eastman, A. (2017, April 16). Leonardo DiCaprio. Retrieved from http://www.mentalitymagazine.org/speak-out-sunday/2017/4/16/speak-out-sunday-leonardo-dicaprio
  2. Haddad, J., Strauss, E. M., & Muir, D. (2009, November 23). Germs: ‘No Deal’ for Host Howie Mandel. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/2020/howie-mandel-public-obsessive-compulisve-disorder-fear-germs/story?id=9153966
  3. Robb-Dover, K. (2020, June 04). Daniel Radcliffe’s Struggle with OCD and Alcoholism. Retrieved from https://fherehab.com/news/how-daniel-radcliffe-overcame-alcoholism-and-other-mental-health-issues/
  4. Psychological Care & Healing Center. (2012, April 18). Charlize Theron Manages OCD and New Motherhood. Retrieved from https://www.pchtreatment.com/charlize-theron-manages-ocd-and-new-motherhood/
  5. Huffington Post. (2011, May 25). Megan Fox In ‘Allure’: I Have OCD & Could Go A Week Without Eating. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/megan-fox-in-allure-i-hav_n_579395
  6. The HealthCenter Editorial Team. (2018, September 14). Famous People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/famous-people-who-have-OCD
  7. Curry, A. (2004, April 03). Billy Bob Thornton opens up. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna4654882
  8. Rivera, R. (n.d.). Seven Celebrities with OCD. Retrieved from http://www.ocdtypes.com/celebrity-ocd.php
  9. Frith, M. (2009, April 01). Beckham reveals his battle with the obsessive disorder. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/beckham-reveals-his-battle-obsessive-disorder-6104728.html