25 Famous People With OCD
Nov 8, 2023, 14 min read
If you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition (or believe you may have one) it can be extremely helpful to hear about others who live with the same condition and manage it day to day.
If you live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), learning of others who struggle with the same thought processes and compulsions as you can be a huge confidence booster. Many people with OCD have very specific obsessions and compulsions, so even if you don’t hear from someone with exactly the same thoughts as you, it can help to see that the root cause is often similar.
Here, we’re looking at 25 famous people who live with OCD, from some who manage varying degrees of OCD, to others who have been hugely impacted by the condition throughout their life.
At Augmentive, we aim to provide holistic, tailored mental health support to everyone so they can live their life to the fullest, so if you have questions about OCD or another mental health condition, we’re here to help.
Note: Celebrities in this article have been mentioned in various media sources having either talked openly about their OCD, or been mentioned by a second hand source. Keep in mind there is no way to confirm an OCD diagnosis for any of the celebrities on this list.
Firstly, what is OCD?
As an overview, OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is a mental health condition that can cause obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Around 1.2% of the UK population is thought to suffer from varying degrees of OCD, and the condition most often begins in early adulthood. It can, however, start at any age with symptoms appearing sometimes as early as 6 years old.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some notable names who have been linked to OCD.
David Beckham (Footballer)
David Beckham has talked openly about his OCD and its relation to the idea of perfection. The famous footballer has mentioned struggling with compulsions such as moving leaflets and books in hotel rooms into drawers, and making sure everything is in its proper place.
“I’ve got this obsessive compulsive disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs. I’ll put my Pepsi cans in the fridge and if there’s one too many then I’ll put it in another cupboard somewhere.” – David Beckham via The Independent
Beckham has apparently attempted to stop his compulsions in the past, but struggled to do so. According to more recent reports, he instead came up with coping mechanisms that have enabled him to better manage his condition in daily life and reduce its impact.
Megan Fox (Actor)
Megan Fox has talked openly about her struggles with OCD and mentioned that she attended therapy as a child and an adult to help her manage a fear of germs. The condition caused her to wash her hands so frequently that they bled, as well as obsessive thoughts that she still struggles with today.
“People can’t imagine what the struggle is really like, when you can’t let go of a thought or a word… All day and every day. And I can engage in a conversation with someone and seem like I’m present, and the whole time I’m in my own head thinking about something else, worrying about something else.” – Megan Fox via Everyday Health
Obsessive thoughts can be a huge part of OCD. You can read more here: Why OCD Ruminating Is A Problem (And What To Do About It)
Howie Mandel (TV Personality)
Howie Mandel has opened up about his ongoing struggle with OCD which led to his intense fear of germs, so much so that he stated he was unable to tie his shoelaces because they had touched the ground.
Mandel has been forthcoming about his condition and the fact that he feels there is no cure, but says that treatment has improved his life in a big way. Reportedly, he uses a mix of medication and psychotherapy to manage his OCD symptoms.
“After I impulsively revealed that I have OCD on a talk show, I was devastated. I often do things without thinking. That's my ADD/ADHD talking. Out in public, after I did the show, people came to me and said, "Me, too." They were the most comforting words I've ever heard. Whatever you're dealing with in life, know that you're not alone.” – Howdie Mandel via Psychology Today
Kanye West (Musician)
Rapper and designer Kanye West has been open about his mental health conditions in the past, and has mentioned having OCD on more than one occasion.
“I definitely have OCD… I have to be creative at all times and I have to learn. I don't know any other way.” – Kanye West via The Guardian
Interestingly, West has mentioned that he believes his OCD could also be partly responsible for his success, as he thinks it could be related to the idea of perfection in all areas of his life, including his career.
Cameron Diaz (Actor)
Cameron Diaz has mentioned her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in various media outlets, specifically tendencies she has when it comes to doorknobs. The actor claims she cleans them so obsessively in her home that the paint has worn away, and has also mentioned being a compulsive hand washer. In more recent interviews, she says she has found a balance with her condition.
“I think I've made my peace with it.” – Cameron Diaz via The Daily Mail
Katy Perry (Musician)
Sometimes OCD can manifest in more intense ways during stressful periods, and this is what musician Katy Perry believes happens to her. Perry has mentioned having a strict Christian upbringing which included a lot of moving around, and a poor education that led to difficulties learning to read.
“I have OCD tendencies. I do strange things with buttoning everything up and colour coordinating it, hanging it in a certain way. When things are out of control in your childhood, you find things to focus on." – Katy Perry via Business Standard
Jackie Chan (Actor and Martial Artist)
It is important to mention that Jackie Chan has not been quoted speaking publicly about his OCD, and the only reports of him having struggled with the condition come from interviews with his son, Jaycee Chan.
These interviews suggest that Chan has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that leads the actor and martial artist to clean things, and make sure things are neat, tidy and in their place.
Jackie Chan allegedly told reporters during an interview that he has a lot of “problems”, and that these problems led to him putting a lot of pressure on his son. He would apparently arrange shoes for him, and pick on him when he engaged in what Chan considered to be bad habits, like running around in white socks that could become dirty.
Howard Stern (Broadcaster)
Radio broadcaster Howard Stern opened up about his struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in 2018 during an interview in which he mentioned his OCD caused him to go into a “rage”. It has caused some of his erratic behaviours over the years, including spending one to two hours in the bathroom touching things before each workday.
“I’ve come to understand that this behaviour is trying to control a world that’s out of control.” – Howard Stern via The Hollywood Reporter
Julianne Moore (Actor)
Many people find that having a child can exacerbate OCD issues. Research has found that it is common for postpartum women to be affected by OCD due to intrusive thoughts about harm coming to their child.
On the other hand, some people (including some mentioned on this list) have reported an improvement in OCD tendencies after having a child. Actor Julianne Moore has said in interviews that she was able to confront her OCD issues after having her children. Moore struggled with obsessively lining things up, as well as leaving her home at the same time and walking at a certain pace in order to only meet green lights on her journey.
"Having two young children means you drop all that sort of rubbish… I'm much more laid back than I used to be." – Julianne Moore via ABC News
Camila Cabello (Musician)
Singer-songwriter Camila Cabello wrote a personal essay for The Wall Street Journal in 2020 about her OCD diagnosis, and how she initially felt shame that caused her to keep it to herself and pretend everything was fine.
“The little voice in my head was telling me that if I was honest about my mental health struggle and my internal battles, people would think there was something wrong with me, or that I wasn’t strong, or that I couldn't handle things.” – Camilla Cabello via Teen Vogue
Through a mix of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, meditation, breathwork and self-care, Cabello has learned to better manage her OCD symptoms.
Daniel Radcliffe (Actor)
Daniel Radcliffe is known as the star of the Harry Potter film franchise, and has been open about his challenges with various health conditions, including dyspraxia, and also OCD from as young as 5 years old.
He noted that his compulsions included feeling the need to repeat words he said back to himself under his breath. Radcliffe found help with his condition through therapy, and encourages others to do the same as it has helped to improve his quality of life.
“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 weak. I haven't had it this year so far and I'm missing it.” – Daniel Radcliffe via Hello Magazine
Charlize Theron (Actor)
Actor Charlize Theron has mentioned her OCD symptoms in several media outlets, saying that she feels a need to keep everything in order and partake in excessive cleaning otherwise she struggles to sleep. Like Julianne Moore (mentioned above) Theron has stated that she believes having children played a part in her managing her anxieties better.
“I actually have a serious problem – obsessive-compulsive disorder. I don’t do counting or anything like that. I’m good with chaos, I just don’t like it when chaos is hidden. So I have a problem with cabinets being messy and people just shoving things in cabinets and closing the door. I will literally lie in bed and not be able to sleep because I’ll be like, “I think I saw something in that cabinet that just shouldn’t be there.” – Charlize Theron via The Daily Mail
Michael Jackson (Musician)
According to Psychology Today, the late Michael Jackson suffered from a number of mental health conditions such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and, as some outlets have reported, some degree of OCD.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be closely linked to OCD in that it causes a debilitating preoccupation over one’s appearance. It may cause someone to compulsively check how they look, or become obsessed with cosmetic surgery.
Although an OCD diagnosis has never been confirmed for Michael Jackson, it is widely believed that his cosmetic surgery procedures were related to issues with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and that he suffered with OCD tendencies related to this.
Amanda Seyfried (Actor)
Amanda Seyfried has spoken publicly about her struggles with OCD, and several media outlets have reported that she was first diagnosed with the condition after appearing in the hit film Mean Girls in 2004.
“A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it. I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD.” – Amanda Seyfried speaking to Allure Magazine
At the time of speaking about her condition, Seyfried said she was on a low dose of Lexapro (a type of antidepressant) to help her manage the condition, and had been for 11 years, with no plans to come off of it as it helps her in daily life.
Niall Horan (Musician)
British musician Niall Horan has talked in interviews about his OCD and how it can cause what he calls "tics", which is a term sometimes used to describe compulsions. In Horan’s case, he has mentioned feeling the need to do certain behaviours in a specific order or routine.
"I feel like I have to do things in a certain way… For example, if I have a burger with chips on my plate, I always have to eat the chips first and only pick up the burger at the very end… Even when I go on stage, I only have one fixed sequence. I always have to sing in the same order, move and so on… I live with them and they’re mine no matter what others think about it… Fortunately, I now have enough people around me who understand me.” – Niall Horan via Teen Vogue
Charles Dickens (Writer)
Famous author Charles Dickens was alive in the 1800s, so there are no interviews that can confirm an OCD diagnosis for him. However, it is widely believed that the Victorian writer did suffer from the condition due to various expert accounts of his behaviours.
According to researchers, Dickens may have had a compulsion to rearrange furniture whenever he stayed in a hotel room. He was also thought to inspect his children's bedrooms daily to check their tidiness, and if not up to his standards, would leave notes for them.
Michael Slater is a professor of Victorian literature at Birkbeck College in London, and has written extensively on Charles Dickens. He believes his OCD traits can be traced back to Dickens’ poverty-stricken childhood, when his family were forced to move home frequently.
Jessica Alba (Actor)
Jessica Alba has discussed health issues she suffered as a child, such as asthma, pneumonia and kidney issues. These health issues apparently made her ill more than once a year, and led to her feeling no sense of control over her life. As a result, she believes she developed a compulsion to control things which led to OCD tendencies.
“I used to unplug every single appliance in my house. Or I’d double-check every door in my house to make sure it was locked at night.” – Jessica Alba via The Guardian
Suga is a member of the South Korean boy band BTS, and has been vocal about his depression and OCD. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2021, he mentioned that his symptoms tend to come and go, and expressed how he now finds it easier to talk about.
“It’s almost like cold weather. It may come back in a cycle over a year, year and a half… For anybody, these emotions are not something that need to be hidden… Whatever emotions that I may be feeling, I’m always ready to express them now.” – Suga via Rolling Stone
Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor)
Leonardo DiCaprio is known for strongly committing to the roles he plays, and during his time filming ‘The Aviator’ he played pilot Howard Hughes who famously suffered with OCD symptoms. His role in the film playing someone with OCD apparently brought up some of DiCaprio’s own compulsions, as he too has suffered with the condition.
DiCaprio has previously mentioned compulsions such as avoiding sidewalk cracks, always stepping on chewing gum marks, and walking through doors more than once.
“Sometimes it took me 10 minutes to get to the set because I'd be pacing back and forth, stepping on gum stains… I'm able to say at some point, 'OK, you're being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see… ‘You don't need to do that. You don't need to walk 20ft back and put your foot on that thing. Nothing bad is going to happen’.” – Leonardo DiCaprio via The Daily Express
Thanks to therapy, the actor now apparently manages his OCD in everyday life.
Kelly Rowland (Musician)
Kelly Rowland is most famous for her time in former girl band Destiny’s Child, and has been open about her struggle with OCD. She has discussed her compulsive need to order and arrange objects in a certain way.
According to Psychology Today, similarly to some others on this list Rowland had to adjust her OCD tendencies after the arrival of her son, when she was forced to become acquainted with having his toys everywhere.
George Ezra (Musician)
British musician George Ezra has been vocal about a specific type of OCD that only causes intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions), but does not cause compulsions. This is sometimes referred to as ‘Pure O’, although there is debate in the OCD community over this term. Regardless, Ezra has been open about his struggles with this purely obsessional condition.
“Often OCD will come with physical actions that you have to carry out to silence the mind… [Pure O] is the name given to somebody who just experiences the thought patterns without the physical part.” – George Ezra via The Independent
Billy Bob Thornton (Actor and Musician)
Counting compulsions are a common symptom of OCD, which cause people to, for example, repeat words or perform actions a certain number of times. Billy Bob Thornton has been open in interviews in the past about his phobias and his OCD tendencies. In fact, these tendencies are said to have inspired his song ‘Always Countin’.
“It exhausts you… You're constantly doing mathematics in your head… Certain numbers represent certain people. And I can't use that number in a certain circumstance. And then I have to use it in another circumstance.” – Billy Bob Thornton via NBC News
According to Psychology Today, musician Amerie has mentioned her struggles with OCD, although she has not given specific details of her symptoms. She has, however, disclosed that her OCD has been triggered by fame and having to make appearances on red carpets.
“I know I disappeared and people are like, ‘What happened?’ It’s because… I don’t really chase after fame. I don’t really love red carpets. Maybe it’s because of the OCD thing. They just give me a lot of anxiety.” – Amerie via Rap Up
OCD can be triggered by a number of things, and they are often very unique to each individual. You can read more about triggers in our article; OCD Triggers: How and Why Do They Happen?
Justin Timberlake (Musician)
Justin Timberlake has been open about his struggles with both Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), stating that living with both conditions can be challenging. His OCD tendencies apparently cause him to seek to line things up perfectly.
"I have OCD mixed with ADD. You try living with that. It's complicated." – Justin Timberlake via SheKnows
Lena Dunham (Actor and Writer)
Lena Dunham has been one of the most vocal celebrities when it comes to her OCD, which can cause intense symptoms for her, and led her to write the character she plays on ‘Girls’ who also suffers with OCD.
Dunham has lived with the condition since she was a young child, and has mentioned being 8 years old with obsessive thoughts and extreme fears about different things, such as health conditions, dirty things, and death.
Through attending therapy and the support of her family, Dunham has learned to manage her symptoms in daily life,
“I feel so lucky that my parents were people who were comfortable with therapy with medication and conversations about anxiety. I would tell my younger self that there’s no shame in asking a teacher for help, telling a friend that you’re uncomfortable and that it’s just the same as falling down and scraping your knee.” – Lena Dunham via HuffPost
If you suspect a loved one may be suffering with OCD, you can read more in our article: Advice For Living With Someone With OCD
What to do if you think you may have OCD
At Augmentive, we believe getting professional advice and treatment is the best way to ensure you get on a path to recovery from OCD that is bespoke to your situation and specific compulsions. It can manifest differently for each individual, and treatment should reflect this.
OCD is typically treated with either medication (such as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), psychotherapy (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Exposure and Response Prevention), or in some cases a combination of both.
Many patients undergoing OCD treatment will see improvements that allow them to be free of their OCD, but others will learn tactics to manage it in daily life while still experiencing ongoing symptoms. OCD is often considered to be a lifelong condition, so finding the best treatment for you as early as possible can help you to manage the condition well and continue taking part in daily life.
32-70% of those with OCD are thought to experience symptom remission, so recovery is certainly a possibility. Reach out to your GP or to a private specialist in order to discuss your symptoms, treatment options and more.
If you have a question about mental health, like what real event OCD is, we’re here to assist on your journey. Our free 15 minute consultation can guide you to the most relevant specialists to answer your questions and discuss next steps.
Whether you’re feeling off-kilter or want to shake up your routine, our state-of-the-art mental wellbeing platform gives you quick and seamless access to world-class support on your terms, from private psychiatric assessments and reviews to broader private mental health care.