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VIPs You Didn't Know Have ADHD

January 18, 2023

The stigma surrounding mental health conditions is beginning to improve, and our goal is always to further diminish the stigma associated with ADHD.

We know that characterizing an individual with ADHD as someone that is unfocused and unable to concentrate is an incomplete picture, as individuals with ADHD can apply an immersive, tenacious focus to an area that interests them or for which they have a passion.

The ability to hyperfocus and pursue your passion can be a superpower and has allowed many individuals, despite the challenges of ADHD, to become incredibly successful, and even famous, within their fields through developing their unique strengths.

There are many famous people with ADHD including celebrities, athletes, artists, businessmen, and scientists including:

  • Emma Watson – While Emma hasn’t spoken openly about the condition, ADHD Foundation stated in a Facebook post that she had been diagnosed and medicated since childhood while filming the Harry Potter series.

  • Michelle Rodriguez – Most famous for her acting, she has discussed the challenges associated with ADHD saying she has found it difficult to progress from acting to directing because of her lack of focus. She said: “I want to write and direct but it’s not easy with ADHD. I have a hard time focusing when I’m alone.” “I’m a scatterbrain,” she added. “I'm nervous of taking medication. I don't really want to depend on anything to control my brain.”

  • Other actors with ADHD include: Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, Zooey Deschanel, and Jim Carrey.

  • Bill Gates – He is the founder of Microsoft and chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. Bill has talked about dropping out of Harvard as he was itching to start Microsoft at the beginning of the personal computer revolution.

  • Walt Disney – One of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time as his presence is still felt today. He founded the Walt Disney Corporation and pioneered the animation industry where he was animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. With ADHD, he was able to build an empire in animated films and also expanded into amusement parks, making products that people love.

  • Michael Phelps – He is one of the most decorated Olympians. Swimming isn’t just a sport for Phelps; it’s a way for him to cope with his ADHD. He channeled his inability to focus and sit still into swimming, and with “continuous praise and positive reinforcement” greatly succeeded.

  • Simone Biles – The 32-times Olympic medal and World Championship gymnast has spoken publicly about her diagnosis.

  • Terry Bradshaw – Four-time Super Bowl champion turned sports analyst and commentator, revealed in his book that he has struggled with ADHD for years.

  • James Carville – The political operative turned celebrity TV commentator claims his own experience with adult-onset ADHD complimented his abilities and “razor-sharp focus” amidst the fast pace of politics.

  • Astronaut Scott Kelly – Having grown up in a time when ADHD was not a common diagnosis, he has said that “If I was a kid today, I would have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.” Every year he swore to himself that he would start paying attention in class and getting his homework done, but every year it seemed just as impossible as ever. He found motivation to change his habits and pursue his future job. “I just decided right then and there that this is what I’m going to do,” he said.

  • It is also believed that Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Thomas Edison had ADHD, which helped expand their curiosity to discover and invent.

If you or your child ever need encouragement that success is possible having ADHD, take note of these successful people who learned how to harness their innate strengths to hyperfocus their way to a fulfilling, healthy life.


ADDitude Editors, & Panel, A. A. M. R. (2022, October 24). Famous People with ADHD. ADDitude.

ADHD Embrace. (2021, September 12). Famous People with ADHD.

Cole, L. (2021, April 15). 76 Famous Successful People with ADHD - MentalUP.

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