Famous Living Confirmed People with ADD-ADHD

There are already a few lists out there of famous people with ADD-ADHD but most of those people are dead and as far as I know most did not confirm they had ADD when they were alive. Yes I know that when you read about what Thomas Edison was like, it sure sounds to me like he might have had ADD, but I don’t know that for sure.

There is so much negative stigma and misinformation around ADD.  It often seems like it’s easier to say you’re addicted to crack cocaine or you’re an alcoholic or a gambling addict than you have an inherited neurobiological condition like ADD.

Many people who have undiagnosed ADD suffer because there of the negative media stigma towards ADD and the fact that most of the “ADD experts” tend to be people trained in the ideology of pathology and that’s what they mainly look for in people with ADD and consequently that’s what they mainly find and talk about in the media.

There are real negatives associated with ADD but there are also positive traits as well.

Far too many adults who may have ADD, especially men, don’t want to get a diagnosis screening for ADD in part because ADD is often portrayed as condition that is nearly solely negative and some don’t want to receive another label that people around them (spouses, other family members, employers etc.) can use to condemn, attack and blame them with.

A list of possible role models with ADD who work in different fields can provide some counter balance to the 98% pathology model, and to encourage people who think they may have it to get diagnosed and if they have it seek treatment and a better life.

I wanted to see a list of living famous or well known people with ADD that have publicly stated they have ADD and not just a list like “I think Robin Williams has ADD”. I think so too, but I don’t know for sure. Or just a combined list of well known people with ADD and or LD (Learning Disabilities) where they don’t say who has LD and who has ADD or both.
Since I couldn’t find such a list, I thought I’d create one.

So I’ve started a section on my website called Famous Living Confirmed People with ADD ADHD.

Know of any famous publicly confirmed, living people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Let me know, send me the details with the blog/website/book/newspaper/radio/TV interview where it was confirmed i.e. website, date, page etc.

Please don’t send me info like “I think the actor Joe Smith has ADD”. I want publicly confirmed, living, famous people with ADD ADHD to add to my list. I’ll be also cross posting the listing to this blog.



22 thoughts on “Famous Living Confirmed People with ADD-ADHD”

  1. Hi Pete,

    I love what you’ve done here. I’m so tired of amateurs giving posthumous diagnoses to historical high-flyers–many of whom, truly, had their dark sides and some of whom have crashed and burned. I just don’t feel it gives a full or accurate picture of ADHD.

    For example, sure Einstein ranks high in the annals of science, but as a human being, with his wife and children? Well, let’s just say that the author of “Einstein in Love” says he would not want his sister dating someone like Einstein. Besides, it seems the Asperger’s camp likes to claim him, too.

    I’ve wondered what seeing these lists actually does to kids with ADHD. Are they inspired….or intimidated? Do they feel they must do something really really SPECIAL in order to be loved, to have value, to be worthy? Seems like a lot of pressure to put on any kid.

    I’ve long wanted to see “average” people profiled who have confirmed ADHD. Okay, not that journalist Clarence Page is “average.” I’ve long been a fan and greatly enjoy his above-average work. What I mean, I guess, is accessible people. Because when only high-flyers are mentioned as having ADHD, it gives the impression that ADHD is something “out there somewhere” — not at the next desk, the next house over.

    I see many adults at our CHADD meetings who I feel are better “poster people” than those on some of these “famous” lists. For one thing, they’re not set on a self-medicating, ego-boosting scale up the corporate ladder. They’re people who enjoy their work, enjoy their families, and are active members of their community.

    My two cents. Thanks for your great site.


  2. thanks Gina,

    while there’s evidence that many of the people on those lists have add like traits, most were not diagnosed with it or formally said they had it. In terms of the family side, if they could have got diagnosed and properly treated that would have probably contributed to better outcomes.

    I don’t think that these lists are a way of “pressuring ADD kids to be special”. I think that so much of the information about ADD is negative, a consequence of the ideology of pathology that so many in the medical world have, ie there focus is mainly on the negative aspects of ADD and often dismiss or briefly mention some of the positives.

    There are both positive and negative aspects of having ADHD and to focus on one while ignoring the other is not useful to people with ADHD.

    Many ADDers especially males avoid getting diagnosed because of the negative perception of ADHD that is generated in the media and by many (though not all) medical professionals who see ADD as 98% pathology with few if any redeeming features.

    One reason to have a list of famous confirmed living ADDers is to help remove some of the stigma generated against people with ADD. Another is by showing that ADDer can excel in different fields, and having ADD can be a competitive edge if you learn to outsource or delegate some of your weakness and work on managing the ones left and focusing on your strengths. By doing that I hope to encourage more people who have ADD but are to afraid or embarrassed to seek diagnosis and treatment because of the stigma of ADD, to seek diagnosis and treatment.

    Also their ARE advantages to having ADD. There are some things we can do better than other people, despite the negative ones that try to say having ADD is just a curse and you should feel ashamed and embarrassed by it.

    Perhaps the people you’re talking about have more of a problem with one of the comorbid conditions of ADD, namely Narcissistic personality disorder.

  3. I came across this page recently, and I was sad to find there was no list yet! I only know of one confirmed, David Neeleman, the founder/CEO of JetBlue airlines. He was profiled in the book I read Making ADD Work. This was my first book I bought after finding out I had ADD, and so everything in the book was new to me, including the fact that there were people to boast about having ADD. This was something pretty inspiring to me. I was eager to find out more successful people who had it, like the kid in me seeking out for an idol. I wanted to find someone who was officially diagnosed and not afraid to share it in the media. That is what I would love to see, more ADD in the media, to show people how ‘normal’ it actually is and how successful it can make people be.

  4. British comedian Russell Howard (who appears regularly as a panellist on the successful BBC show “Mock The Week”) mentions he has ADHD on one of his DVD’s.

    There’s a wrestler called Matt Morgan who wrestles with TNA who has very publically admitted having ADHD (although this was on the show it is not used as part of a character gimmick, instead filmed as a segment, seeming to be to raise awareness)

  5. Carol Menber

    Hi there just was on the computer because i was trying to find a poster to put in my 10year old Zachs room of famous/sucessful people with adhd as i saw one on line a couple of month ago. I came across your website and read it briefly. Children like my son need to knw that … yes adhd is not this terrible disease !!! with no cure or hope( which is the public image that is most protrayed by the media etc) so I think knowing that there are sucessful people living with ADHD is a positive and by no means do I ever expect him to have to live up to being the next Jim Carrey , Albert Einstein etc ! I try to tell my son that adhd is a gift if u let it be, do not let people get u down like you’re doomed to self medicate yourself with drugs or alcohol..later on in life (especially since he is not medicated and most of his freind that have adhd are (not much support there)) .The self portrait is so bad out there that is refreshing to read a positive keep up the good work …and Thanks again.

  6. justin timberlake and many others have publicly stated this now, perhaps a google search like i just did can help you find other such public statements?
    Just an FYI I am an adult ADD/H that, while not being a super successful person did well until I became disabled, and my biggest success? Raising an EXTREME ADD/H with many other challenges whom, we were told, would always be in special schools and medicated. He graduated from a regular HS (yes still some accommodations but still…) REGULAR CLASSES, even if on the lower requirement level, and OFF ALL MEDS! He even held a C average! He has since completed a Job corps training pgm and is currently making arrangements to attend the local community college.

  7. @carol I always told my son that his challenge meant he had to work twice as hard to get half as far, but the rewards would be three times as sweet!

  8. Hi Shari, actually justin timberlake was joking when he said he had adhd, but it wasn’t apparent that he was joking on the first reports of it. Raising a child well is one of the hardest things to do so congrats

  9. Thanks Adi,

    Good idea what you’re doing on sept 4th.

    Maybe consider do a blog post on the well known local Swiss with ADHD on your blog in Swiss German after the event, and then later translate it into English and post it on my blog with credit to you and a link back to your blog?

  10. Thanks Brieanna, good list. Yes often people forget it’s not just men who have adhd. Many men with adhd don’t get diagnosed but probably even more women get missed

  11. Hi Pete, bring this thread back from the dead, in addition to Rick Green, Patrick McKenna also confirmed ADHD

  12. another one not on ANY lists is Tom Arnold who is said to exhibit symptoms very similar to mine.

    also alot of these list I absolutely do not believe.

    I do not believe THAT many people ESPECIALLY FAMOUS people are like us.There’s just no way.

  13. thanks Bill. Some of those people on that list do not have it ie justin timberlake. he was joking when he said it & serena is “reported” to have it vs publicly confirmed she does, but others do

  14. there’s a lot of people who many think have ADHD but I’m more concerned with those who actually have gone public and confirmed it. Some famous people have publicly confirmed they have adhd. some multiple times. ADHD can be a competitive edge in some fields if you can delegate most of the negatives, learn to manage well enough the others & spend most of your time hyperfocusing on what you enjoy & are good at. See my post top ten advantages of ADHD in a high tech career especially the comments

  15. Interesting Alice, do you have a URL to that interview with Serena Williams?

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