12 Famous People with OCD

The list of famous people with OCD is endless, which shows that it is a common mental illness. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder1 or OCD is an anxiety disorder that deals with obsessions and compulsions.

With OCD, you begin to have disturbing thoughts, images, and impulses. You then engage in behavioural preoccupations to relieve this anxiety. The obsessions manifest fears while the tendencies become daily rituals.

Washing your hands repeatedly because you are scared of germs, re-checking things over and over because you feel unsafe, and arranging objects in an organized manner because it makes you feel suffocated- are all examples of OCD.

Many celebrities are also victims of OCD2. However, accepting it and being vocal about it has helped them overcome distress and master the art of co-existing with OCD.

Click here to learn more about OCD.

Here’s a List of 12 Famous People with OCD

1. Howard Hughes

Type: Contamination and Perfectionism

The first member of the list of famous people with OCD is Howard Hughes. People called him a man of perfection who smelled success in various economic ventures making him a tycoon of his era (1926-1976).
However, this extraordinary genius of 20th-century Hollywood was a man of cleanliness and order. His severe OCD made him a recluse.

He believed that people were always contaminated with germs and hence avoided any contact with them. He provided instruction manuals to his staff regarding his food and hygiene. Hughes ordered them to compulsively wash their hands, use tissues while wielding the doorknob, and serve him food.

Along with cleanliness, he adored perfection. His fixation on getting even the tiniest insignificant details just right made the then reporters call him eccentric.

2. Martin Luther

Type: Ruminations and Intrusive Thoughts

People with OCD during the 16th century were considered either crazy or evil. The German professor and Augustinian monk Martin Luther is one of them. He played a seminal role during the Protestant Reformation and rejected the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

This behaviour justifies his type of OCD- scrupulosity. It is a kind of disorder that deals with the religious aspect of obsessions.

Luther always experienced obsessive thoughts about death and evil doings, which left his mind terrified. To relieve this fear, he would often visit the priests in the church for confessions, which is an act of reassurance-seeking. This act, however, is a common trait that is noticed in other famous people with OCD as well.

3. Charles Darwin

Type: Ruminations and intrusive thoughts

Next on the list of famous people with OCD is Charles Darwin.

Charles Darwin was an English scientist of the 19th century who contributed remarkably to the Science of Evolution with his book- On the Origin of Species. This naturalist, however, is reported to have had OCD. His documented journals also talk about his struggles with intrusive thoughts.

He was invariably afraid that his children would inherit mental illness if he did not close his eyes tightly. He would often seek appreciation from others for his work on perfection. Darwin also needed constant reassurance about his looks because he also suffered from BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. These thoughts, insecurities, and compulsions kept him awake at night.

4. Howard Stern

We all know Howard Stern – The United States show-jock and radio personality. But did we know that this comedian was also qualified to be on this list of famous people with OCD? Probably not.

It was in an interview with David Letterman that Howard spoke about issues regarding his rage and OCD. His rituals included touching things with his right hand, like the radio mic and the device’s buttons, before starting the show. 

Stern believes that the root reason for such behaviour may be the lack of self-examination. He turned to psychotherapy as treatment, which helped him, appreciate the good around him and believe in reality.

5. Howie Mandel

Type: Contamination

America’s Got Talent judge and host of the game show Deal or No Deal, Howie Mandel is also a part of this list of famous people with OCD.

He not only suffers from one kind of mental illness but two! OCD and ADHD or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His shaved head and fistbumps instead of handshakes are his way of dealing with Germophobe-related OCD. His book- Here’s the Deal: Don’t touch me, talks about his struggles.

Howie Mandel also has a thing for re-checking. He has to check his door loch at least 30 times. This Candian comedian takes medication and psychotherapy as a treatment for OCD.3

6. Leonardo DiCaprio

We have all seen the blockbuster movie Titanic and are well aware of its actor DiCaprio who played the role of Jack Dawson. But did we know that this Oscar awardee was also a potential candidate on the list of famous people with OCD? Probably not.

Since childhood, DiCaprio has been at war with his mind. He’s constantly under the urge to step on gum stains on sidewalks and walk through doorways numerous times. Nonetheless, his having OCD does explain his marvellous acting while playing the role of Howard Huges in the movie The Aviator.

Here’s a fact for all those DiCaprio fans- his mother named him after Leonardo da Vinci who as, a matter of fact, had dyslexia.

Click here to read about 11 famous people with Dyslexia.

7. David Beckham

Type: Symmetry and ordering

English soccer star David Beckham is one of the most famous people with OCD.
His OCD is perfection. From his clothes to his shoes, all need to be colour-coordinated. The shape of the objects around him must be symmetrical, and the furniture in the room must be at right angles.

Along with perfectionism, David also has a thing for even numbers. He likes soft drinks to be in pairs at all times.

8. Justin Timberlake

The list of famous people with OCD includes American pop icon and actor Justin Timberlake.

Justin Timberlake not only suffers from OCD but also ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder, due to which he is obsessed with performing live. Along with this obsession, he also adores a little perfection. He likes his food items placed perfectly in the refrigerator- the beer bottles, water, and whiskey- all need to be placed just right.

9. Katy Perry

Type: Symmetry and ordering

Next on the list of famous people with OCD is Katy Perry.

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, the Californian pop star, is known for her creative and playful sense of style. Believe it or not, this music icon has had OCD since a young age.

Keeping everything in alphabetical order, and brushing her teeth 4-5 times a day to spurn off the feeling of germs are some of her tendencies. Her wardrobe is her OCD art. All her clothes are buttoned up, colour-coordinated, and hung in a certain way only.

10. Suga

Next on the list of famous people with OCD, we have Suga – the lead rapper of the biggest boy band group, BTS.

Suga has been open about his struggles with mental health despite the stigma in Korean society. He has been through depression, OCD, and sociophobia.

He believes that acceptance and optimism are the keys to gaining control of the mind. However, it is the will that matters most. Billboard has also reported that his mixtape track -The Last talks about his battle with OCD.

11. Daniel Radcliffe

We all know way too well about the Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. This actor has been suffering from OCD since the age of 5. In the year 2012, he admitted to British Tabloid about having OCD.

He was a shy boy who grew up in the public eye. This exposure played a significant role in his upbringing. It would take more than 5 minutes to turn off the light. His other tendencies included repeating everything he said under his breath over and over.

What’s more, he depended on alcohol to flee from the public and the battles within his mind. It is surprising to find Daniel’s name on this list of famous people with OCD.

12. Camila Cabello

Type: Ruminations and Intrusive thoughts

The Last member on the list of famous people with OCD is Karla Camila Cabello Estrabao- the Cuban-born American singer and songwriter.

It was only recently that Camila admitted that she struggled with OCD to Latina Magazine and Cosmopolitan City. Her OCD includes having intrusive thoughts under pressure, which don’t subside even after coming up with a resolution.

Camila’s obsession with repeating is a compulsion to drive out fear of negative omen. She also revealed that learning more about the illness has helped her understand it better and come to terms with it.

Key Takeaways

Living with OCD might be distressing. Having your mind run in the opposite direction might be agonizing, but with knowledge comes the power to seek help. So call those around you, talk about it, or visit a psychiatrist. Patience and perseverance is the key to cure.

Nonetheless, when famous people with OCD share their stories, they inspire thousands of people, give them courage and stand as an example that nothing can stop those who dream to succeed. Always remember where there is a will, there is a way.

Click here to read about Famous people with disabilities.

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  1. Stein, Dan J. “Obsessive-compulsive disorder.” The Lancet 360.9330 (2002): 397-405. ↩︎
  2. Fontenelle, Leonardo F., et al. “Towards a post-traumatic subtype of obsessive–compulsive disorder.” Journal of Anxiety disorders 26.2 (2012): 377-383. ↩︎
  3. Franklin, Martin E., and Edna B. Foa. “Treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder.” Annual review of clinical psychology 7 (2011): 229-243. ↩︎

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Shreya Panibhate

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