Too often, kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are told they can’t do something or they will never be successful due to their ADHD. I’m here to prove that theory wrong. So many celebrities and other successful people that we look up to have ADHD or had it as a child. Many of these celebrities not only have ADHD, but also other co-existing disorders or other mental health things, which is actually quite common for someone with ADHD to have a co-existing disorder.
Justin Timberlake: Singer / Performer / Actor
Timberlake says he has “ADD mixed with OCD.”
Jamie Oliver: Chef
He had ADHD as a child, but healthy eating helped him manage it.
Will Smith: Actor / Singer
Has said he was the “fun one who had trouble paying attention” while growing up, and while he wasn’t diagnosed as a child, he says he would have been diagnosed with ADHD if he were growing up today.
Michael Phelps: Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer
Diagnosed with ADHD at age 9. He challenged his ADHD into his swimming, and became the Olympic gold medalist he is today. Swimming helped him manage his symptoms. From age 9 – 11, he took Ritalin and despite it helping with the hyperactivity, the medication made him feel stigmatized and his mother and doctor agreed to stop the medication, which is when he focused all his energy into swimming. Phelps is currently the most well decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 olympic medals. He has 23 gold medals, three silver, and two bronze.
Jim Carrey: Actor
His all over the place antics are actually a result of his ADHD.
Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Airlines Founder
He started up his own magazine when he was 16 years old and owns Virgin Airlines.
Paris Hilton: Socialite / Reality TV starlet
She’s struggled with ADHD since age 12.
Christopher Knight: Actor (Peter on Brady Bunch)
He had difficulties reading and writing, and dropped out of college before being diagnosed with ADHD in 1997.
Howie Mandel: Comedian / Host of Deal or No Deal
Was not officially diagnosed until he was an adult, but remembers not being able to focus or sit still in class as a kid. Additionally, he has OCD, depression and anxiety.
Terry Bradshaw: Former NFL Quarterback
Has ADHD and has struggled with it since he was a child. Additionally, he has spoken out about having depression and often had anxiety attacks before games.
James Carville: Political Consultant
Has adult – onset ADHD. He flunked out of college due to his ADHD but has become a successful political consultant since, leading campaigns for Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
David Neeleman: Founder of Jet Blue
He has said his ADHD prevents him from being detail-oriented and completing day to day tasks. However, he credits his success with his ADHD.
“With the disorder comes creativity and the ability to think outside the box."
-Neelemen on his success
Channing Tatum: Actor
Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a child, he credits the arts with helping him manage his ADHD. He was prescribed stimulants but his school didn’t know how to address his learning needs the right way.
“Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, ‘OK, so this is where I’m at.’ Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, ‘All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either.’ So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken ... we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did.” - Tatum on his ADHD in school
Tim Howard: Soccer Player
Diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and Tourette’s syndrome at age 11.
Adam Levine: Singer
Diagnosed early and able to manage it as a child but his symptoms became much more agitated in adulthood.
"My doctor diagnosed me with ADHD in my early teens. What was really helpful to me was learning that this was a real medical condition – I had ADHD. The diagnosis helped explain the challenges I was having in school, including my difficulty focusing, sitting down and getting my school work done." -Levine on his initial thoughts after being diagnosed.
Ty Pennington: Former Host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Diagnosed as a child, takes stimulant medication to help manage his ADHD.
“Even if you’re on medication, you still have to treat your body properly and take care of yourself. The idea that [ADHD] goes away or you grow out of it isn’t true.” – Pennington
Solange Knowles: Singer / Younger sister to Beyonce
She was diagnosed with ADHD twice before believing it. She has always been full of energy and people have thought she was on drugs due to her sporadic speech. However, it was just a result of ADHD.
Zooey Deschanel: Actress
Revealed on her blog Hello Giggles that she has ADHD.
Ryan Gosling: Actor
Diagnosed with both ADHD and had trouble reading. Bullied at school, didn’t have many friends until he was a teenager. Once he was finally diagnosed, he started taking medication to manage his ADHD.
"I didn’t feel very smart. They kept passing me in school even though I didn’t know how to do things I should have known how to do. Like, I couldn’t read. When you’re in class and you can’t read and everyone else can, it’s pretty frustrating. I couldn’t absorb any of the information, so I caused trouble.” - Gosling on his school years.
Scott Eyre: Major League Baseball Pitcher
He was fidgeting more than most pitchers on the mound and he was unable to sit still in the dugout. Team therapist asked him if he’d heard of ADHD. IN 2001, he finally talked to a psychiatrist, who confirmed and diagnosed him with ADHD. Diagnosed as an adult, now takes Concerta daily (like me!) and says it has improved his game.
Michelle Carter: Olympic Gold Medalist
She had been diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia early in elementary school. In high school, she began to focus much of her energy into shot put. Now, in 2016, she Is the first US woman to win an Olympic gold medal in shot put – which she just did in the 2016 olympics in Rio.
These are just some of the many celebrities, entreprenuers, actors, actresses, entertainers, etc who have spoken out about their ADHD. As of 2014, about 6.4 million children in America between the ages of 4 & 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. The average age of diagnosis is just 7 years old. Symptoms first appear typically between the ages of 3 and 6. Males are 3 times more likely than females to be diagnosed, and as of 2014, about 4% of American adults over the age of 18 deal with having ADHD. Now, next time someone tells you that you can't do something because of your ADHD, tell them about all the successful people who have done amazing things with their ADHD. Don't let your ADHD define you. You define you. Not your disorder. So next time you feel like you're all alone with your ADHD, remember this. You're not. So many people, including all these famous people you look up to have it too, and they face the same every day struggles as you.