Live life in integrity with who you really are.
Did you know that a number of celebrities and high achievers have themselves been given a diagnosis of ADHD? Some of them have achieved success in their chosen fields despite their ADHD, whereas others have claimed that their symptoms haveactually contributed to their achievements! Here we look at a few of the public figures who have disclosed their diagnosis to the world and we look at how ADHD has impacted on their lives.
First cast spells on audiences as the beloved Hermione Granger a time travelling muggle who was always top of her class in 'Harry Potter'. Ivy League graduate, UN Goodwill ambassador and advocate for young girls and women everywhere she shares her feminist learnings with the world. Whilst opting to keep her ADHD experiences private, it is reported widely that she has been on medication since childhood. We say 'expelliarmus' to anyone who thinks ADHD holds you back.
Former Backstreet Boy Justin went public with a diagnosis of both OCD and ADHD in 2009. In an interview with the website collider.com he was quoted as saying “I have OCD, mixed with ADD. You try living with that. It’s complicated.” He described being on stage as an “addiction” for himself. Despite his struggles, Justin has had a hugely successful career in the music and acting industries, notching up multiple Grammy and Emmy wins.
"I was diagnosed with ADHD twice," Knowles said. "I didn't believe the first doctor who told me, and I had a whole theory that ADHD was just something they invented to make you pay for medicine, but then the second doctor told me I had it." Since then she has been an outspoken advocate for neurodiversity and has owned her condition publicly. Even quipping "The symptoms seem to apply to everyone around me in the industry."
Heartthrob and Hollywood A-lister didn't get off to a smooth start when it came to his education, his ADHD made reading difficult and he struggled to focus on his studies. He was bullied and reacted to this in disruptive manner, which lead him to being homeschooled by his mum.
Gosling recounted in an interview "I didn't feel very smart. They kept passing me in school even though I didn't know how to do things. I couldn't read, I couldn't absorb any of the information, so I caused trouble." His passion for acting, helped him find the hyper focus he needed to make it through and pursue his dreams and our screens are all the more richer.
New Girl actress (and singer) is living her best life with ADHD. She charmingly revealed her condition through a crafting tutorial, "Are you an unmedicated adult with Attention Deficit Disorder who also loves to do crafts? I am! I barely have the patience to write this, so I need to focus my unfocused mind on project that can be completed very quickly. I recognise I will never complete something that takes any kind of patience (sorry needlepoint) so I decided to focus this blog on crafts I can complete". She seems to be not only taking ADHD in her stride but offering great activities for fellow ADHDers.
The founder of the hugely successful US music group, The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am has recently opened up to the media about his diagnosis of ADHD. The singer has chosen not to treat his ADHD using medication and prefers to use skills and strategies to help him cope instead. In a 2018 interview with The Mail on Sunday, he described the condition as a ‘gift’ and was quoted as saying “I’ve learned how to control it. I can talk, look at that person, think about what I am going to do now and what I am going to eat later. I don’t see it as a flaw”.
International model and fashion muse was diagnosed with ADHD at 43, "I've discovered that I'm ADHD, which is new. In retrospect, it's very helpful to be able to piece together and understand certain things in my personality and growing up. I'm actually currently resitting my maths GCSE. It means a lot to me personally now that I understand how my brain wants to function and store information, I can become a more straightforward learner."
The saviour of many a mealtime, Jamie Oliver was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a child. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he credits his number one treatment as maintaining a healthy diet. Studies have suggested that food additives may exacerbate ADHD symptoms, and Jamie now takes the time to educate school children with ADHD about the importance of a balanced diet.
Outstanding world class gymnast with 32 olympic and world championship medals (at the time of writing). The world became aware of her ADHD when haters tried to discredit her for taking the ADHD medication Ritalin. Biles clapped back, "having ADHD and taking medication for it is nothing to be ashamed of [and] nothing that I'm afraid to let people know." She is a resounding example of what it means to be human, taking a stand against mental health, sexual abuse and ADHD. “Not only did I get to use my voice, but it was validated as well.” An icon we can all look up to and learn something from.
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD at age nine. But while he couldn't sit through class without fidgeting, he could swim for up to three hours at the pool after school. At the time his teachers told him he would not amount to anything, but he found solace in swimming, which gave him a means to cope - routine, calming water and discipline. By age 10, Phelps was a nationally ranked swimmer and so began his journey to win 28 Olympic medals. On learning to manage his ADHD, "I think the biggest thing for me, once I found that it was okay to talk to someone and seek help, I think that' something that changed my life forever. Now I'm able to live my life to its fullest."
Mel B (AKA Scary Spice)
Former 90's Spice Girls girlband member has ADHD among other forms of neurodiversity. "Working out for me is for my mind, because I do have ADHD, dyslexia, I mean, the list goes on and on. I find working out helps me meditate, it helps me get rid of a bit of my anxiety and it helps me focus on just me for that hour." She opens up about her sensitivities about people's perception of her "I know I sometimes intimidate people and I'm too brash and I'm too loud, being humble and grateful is important too. I'm trying to live my best life."
Recently the subject of a BBC Horizon special – ADHD and Me, the talented impressionist was actually diagnosed whilst filming the programme. Most noticeably, he was offered medication, which he started just minutes before he was due out for on stage, gaining praise for his bravery. In a recent television interview he described his ADHD as ‘mild’ and ‘controllable’, but that he wanted to bring the condition into the public eye for the people that ‘do have problems controlling it’.
Heiress and socialite Paris Hilton may not be living “the simple life,” but she is living with ADHD. The current DJ shared in an interview with Larry King that she was diagnosed with the disorder at a young age. “I’ve been on medication since I was a child. I have ADHD, so I take medication for that.”
Actor and Singer Will Smith was diagnosed as an adult and described himself as “the fun one who had trouble paying attention”. The star of the Men in Black series of films credits his driven nature as a by-product of his ADHD and has previously stated that he ‘couldn’t finish a book, even if he was given two weeks to do so’.
Erin Brockovich-Ellis was teased by her classmates in school because of her dyslexia and ADHD. She overcame the odds and went on to become a successful legal clerk, where her hard work and keen research played a vital role in winning the largest class-action lawsuit settlement in American history. Her inspiring story was later turned into a feature film starring Julia Roberts, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the activist.
The lead singer in the hugely successful American band Maroon 5, Levine has also been another proponent for spreading the message about ADHD. He says that he wasn’t surprised when he was diagnosed with the condition because he experienced ‘big problems with focusing’ at school. He was quoted by Us magazine as saying “when I can’t pay attention, I really can’t pay attention. He admitted that he still had problems when he embarked on his musical career which led him to seek help and eventually receive a diagnosis.
The iconic pop star Britney Spears went public with her ADHD in 2012 while she was performing as a judge on 'The X Factor'. Diagnosed with the condition as a child, she needed to take regular breaks during filming to manage her symptoms. It was only when she stopped her medication because it interfered with her other prescriptions did it cause a problem. Britney has been in the public limelight since she was a child and as such has had to deal with a lot of external pressure. Being a pop star is challenging at the best of times, with ADHD (and perhaps RSD Rejection Sensitive Disorder) it can be difficult to manage. Thankfully that management is now back in her own hands.
People with ADHD are often described as being suited to entrepreneurism and there is perhaps no better example of this than Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, which today boasts over 400 different companies. During a TED talk that Branson gave in 2007, he said that he had "no comprehension of schoolwork whatsoever and would have failed IQ tests." He left school at 15 claiming that "if I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it." Branson certainly managed to grasp the skill of being an entrepreneur with both hands and now possesses a new worth of over five million dollars.
This is just a small sample of a significant group of high achievers with ADHD who thrived because of their ADHD, not in spite of it…