Famous Folks with Mental Illness and/or Addiction

Edit: I am re-posting this list, with the addition of Patty Duke.  Patty Duke was an advocate for ending the stigma of mental illness and was out about her Bipolar disorder in the 1980’s, a time when mental illness was even more stigmatized than now.


Mental illness and addiction do not discriminate.  They touch people regardless of their age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class.  The individual you see on the corner asking for money may have the same disease as a celebrity.  The main difference?  The availability of helpful resources such as medication and therapy.  Below is a list of the famous men and women who have come out about their struggle, and by doing so, are helping to end the stigma.

  1. Drew Barrymore – Drug Abuse


Known for movies such as Ever After and Charlies Angels.

2. Kurt Cobain – Addiction, Depression, ADHD, committed suicide


Vocalist and Guitarist for Nirvana.  You can learn more about his life and death by listening to Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths.

3. Princess Diana – Depression bulimia, borderline personality disorder


Learn more about Princess Diana’s life and death here.

4. Robert Downey Jr. – Heroin Addiction


Best known for the Iron Man movies.

5.  Carrie Fisher – Bipolar Disorder


Best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars.

6. Mel GIbson – Bipolar Disorder


Known for movies such as Brave Heart, Lethal Weapon, and The Patriot

7. Nikki Glaser – Alcohol Dependence


Comedian and host of Not Safe on Comedy Central, as well as the podcast Not Safe.

8. Sir Elton John – Bulimia


Legendary rock/pop singer song writer.

9. John Nash – Schizophrenia


Influential mathematician, the movie Beautiful Mind was based on his life.

10. Mary-Kate Olson – Anorexia and Cocaine Addiction


Known from Full House, is a fashion designer along with her sister, Ashley Olson.

11. Michael Phelps – Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Known for being a Gold Medalist for swimming in the Olympics.

12. Edgar Allen Poe – Alcoholism


Literary genius known for writings such as “The Raven”

13. Daniel Radcliffe – Alcoholism


Best known as Harry Potter.

14. J.K. Rowling – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


Best known as the author of the Harry Potter series.

15.  Brooke Shields – Postpartum Depression


Wrote a book about her experience with Postpartum Depression.  Best known for her role in Suddenly Susan.

16. Dan St. Germaine – Alcoholism


Comedian, writer for Comedy Centrals Not Safe and co-host of Not Safe, the podcast.

17. Catherine Zeta Jones – Bipolar


Known for the Mask of Zorro, Chicago, and The Terminal.

18. Patty Duke – Bipolar


Known most for the Patty Duke Show, more recently she played Jan in Glee.


Recently in the news Kanye West has showed up as being hospitalized due to lack of sleep, erratic behavior, and paranoia.  A diagnosis has not been made public, however, I would be remiss to not mention him in this list.



How Stuff Works


Elements Behavioral Health

Not Safe Podcast (Soundcloud)

Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths (Parcast)

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