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Famous People with ADHD
These 19 famous people have scored gold medals, started up Fortune 500 companies, starred in TV shows, won Super Bowls—and they all have ADD or ADHD.
- Splash News
The Grammy-winning singer said in an interview with Collider.com that he has "ADD mixed with OCD". That didn't stop him from bringing sexy back—or writing hit after hit.
- Splash News
The star chef had ADHD as a child, but he told the Celebrities with Diseases website that healthy eating helps him manage it. Today, he's a huge proponent for healthier school lunches and eliminating junk food from kids' diets as a way to cope with attention disorders.
The Ukrainian-born Dancing With the Stars pro said ADHD was not a well-known disorder in her home country—in an interview with ET, she reported she was diagnosed just a few years ago.
Actor, singer and one of Parenting.com's hot celeb dads said on the Celebrities with Diseases website that growing up, he was the "fun one who had trouble paying attention", and that today, he would've been diagnosed with ADHD. He also recalls having trouble reading—these days he follows along with books on tape.
Swimmer Michael Phelps racked up 14 gold medals at the Athens and Beijing Olympics. But swimming isn't just a winning sport for Phelps; it's a way for him to cope with his ADHD.
Phelps' mom Debbie described her son's exhibition of classic ADHD symptoms: not sitting still or being able to focus. However, he channeled that into swimming, and with "continuous praise and positive reinforcement" Phelps had the encouragement he needed to score the golds.
- Splash News
Funnyman Jim Carrey is well known for his zany, all-over-the-place antics—but he said on the Celebrities with Diseases website that's a result of his ADHD. He remembers coping by being the class clown, and said that it's "hard for me to come down from what I do."
- Getty Images
Pennington, who was diagnosed with ADHD in college, said in the London-based Metro newspapers that carpentry is what helps keep him focused. Looks like his gig as the bundle-of-energy Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host couldn't be more perfect for him.
Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Founder and adventurer Sir Richard Branson has ADHD—but that hasn't stopped him from owning a major airline, sending tourists into space or building an underwater plane.
Branson's living proof of the statistic reported in Psychology Today that people with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own company—indeed, he started up his own magazine called Student when he was just 16.
The socialite/heiress/reality TV starlet said in her post-jail interview with Larry King on CNN that she takes Adderall to manage her ADHD, which she's struggled with since she was 12.
Remember Knight as middle bro Peter on The Brady Bunch? He's said on NCL.org that in watching energetic, quirky Peter, viewers were also watching Knight's public struggle with ADHD. (He also had trouble memorizing lines.)
After difficulties with reading and writing, and dropping out of college, Knight was eventually diagnosed with ADHD nine years ago. He compares getting medication for ADHD to getting glasses for poor vision.
The comedian and host of Deal or No Deal is known for his germ phobia—but he's reported that he also deals with ADHD. In his public service announcements for Adult ADHD, Mandel recalls not being able to focus or sit still in class as a kid, but he wasn't diagnosed until he was an adult.
Former NFL quarterback (he won the Pittsburgh Steelers four Super Bowl titles) was diagnosed with depression after he admitted he often had anxiety attacks before games. He also reported he has ADHD, and struggled even as a child.
Bradshaw now frequently speaks out against the stigmas of mental disorders, hoping he can help others—particularly, he said in an interview on FireChief.com, the "big old macho guys"—get help.
James Carville, a political consultant and commentator, is best known for leading campaigns for Bill Clinton and Tony Blair (heard of them?) He also has adult-onset ADHD, and frequently speaks about it with organizations such as CHADD.
- Gary Moss
Paul Orfalea, Founder of Kinko's
Paul Orfalea's dyslexia and "ADD to the max" may have caused him to flunk second grade and earn Cs and Ds in college—but, in an interview with ADDitude magazine, he credits ADHD with helping him start the copy chain Kinko's (so-called for his own nickname, due to his curly hair). "With ADD, you're curious,"he said.
Orfalea also says his ADHD lets him think big without getting weighed down by details, saying "I can't write a letter and I can't fix a machine [...] I hire capable people to handle that."Orfalea also offers up a barb for the No Child Left Behind Act, and how it would have impacted him with his ADHD: "I would still be in third grade, because that's how bad a speller I am."
Major League Baseball star Pete Rose lost interest in school when he was labeled a "troublemaker" by teachers—but Rose didn't find out until a few years ago that his behavior could have been explained by his ADHD, according to ADDitudemag.com.
His undiagnosed ADHD also fed his gambling addiction, which eventually cost him a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose chronicled his battle with ADHD and gambling in his 2004 book My Prison Without Bars.
Former Lost star Michelle Rodriguez worries that her ADHD could interfere with writing and directing opportunities. But she said in an interview with Cosmopolitan that she is wary of taking medication for it.
David Neeleman, Founder of JetBlue Airways
David Neeleman reported in an interview with ADDitude magazine his ADHD prevents him from being detail-oriented and completing doing day-to-day tasks, saying, "I have an easier time planning a 20-aircraft fleet than I do paying the light bill."
But Neeleman credits his success, and creation of JetBlue, with his ADHD—saying that, with the disorder comes creativity and the ability to think outside the box.
Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner said on CHADD's (Children and Adults with ADHD) leadership blog that he struggled in grade school with attention issues, until he won a race in fifth grade. Being the fastest kid in the class gave him his "little arena" to focus on—and eventually, the tools to succeed in the big arena, when he took the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
- Splash News
When singer Solange Knowles (little sister to Beyonce—and mom to son Daniel) found out she had ADHD, she didn't believe it was a disorder. But Knowles said on HealthCentral.com she has high energy and that "people think I'm high even when I'm sober."