Famous People with ADHD

ADHD has the reputation of making its owner unfocused and unable to concentrate, it is overlooked that individuals with ADHD can apply an immersive, dogged focus to an area that interests them or for which they have a passion.  

This ‘hyperfocus’ and ‘being passionate’ has allowed many individuals, despite the challenges of ADHD, to become incredibly successful and famous within their fields through developing their unique strengths.  

To show you that ADHD does not need to hold you back, here is our ADHD Hall of Fame of celebrities, sportspeople, artists, businessmen and scientists: 

Emma Watson, Actress 

Emma Watson is an actress who has appeared in 15 films, gained straight As at GCSE, A Level and has a degree in English Literature from Oxford University.  She is a Brown University alumnus and former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. She was also diagnosed with combined/hyperactive type ADHD. 

While Emma hasn’t spoken openly about the condition, ADHD Foundation said in a Facebook post that she had been diagnosed and medicated since childhood while filming the Harry Potter series. In addition, her range of accomplishments in both cinema and women’s rights, along with her undeniable poise and elegance, remind us that even Renaissance women have ADHD. 

Rory Bremner, Satirist & Comedian

Rory Bremner has had a long and successful career as the UK’s most famous satirist and impressionist. He was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult after recognising symptoms in his diagnosed nephew that he saw in himself. Describing ADHD as “being my worst enemy and my best friend” he acknowledges the challenges but also the advantages “it allows me to make leaps of logic and think outside of the box. Among comedians, particularly when improvising, it’s useful to have a brain that’s ‘freer’ and comparatively uninhibited.”  

Ant McPartlin, TV Presenter

Ant was diagnosed with ADHD in 2018 after a tumultuous time in his life.    

In an interview with The Sun when he was first spoke about his condition, Ant talked about the unique benefits of the condition: “I was so thoroughly examined and diagnosed, I found stuff out about me I hadn’t addressed for years. 
“There’s a lot of characteristics that held me in good stead working in live television. Richard [Bacon] said the same. In my job, having what they call ‘popcorn thinking’ is good because it means you can jump from one thing to another. Professionally, it’s brilliant. Personally, I’m all over the place.” 

Jamie Oliver, Chef 

Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s most famous celebrity chefs, was diagnosed with ADHD during his childhood. He is a champion for spreading the word on healthy eating and advocated for the use of diet and proper nutrition toward managing the symptoms of ADHD. 

Bill Gates, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist 

Bill Gates, born in 1955 is the founder of Microsoft, and has a net worth of many billions. He also chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation which has so far donated $35.8 billion to charity. He has talked about dropping out of Harvard as he was itching to start Microsoft at the beginning of the personal computer revolution in an interview with This Morning in 2016. He also discusses his constant activity and extremely busy schedule in an interview with Warren Buffet

Walt Disney, King of the animation industry 

Walt Disney was one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time as his presence is still felt even over 50 years after his death. He founded the Walt Disney Corporation and pioneered the animation industry where he was animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. He took what were crude drawings and turned them into a brand that is now instantly recognizable worldwide. With ADHD, he was able to build an empire in animated films and also expanded into amusement parks, making products that people love and want.

Ryan Gosling, Actor

As a child, Ryan Gosling was diagnosed with ADHD and had trouble reading. He was bullied at school and didn’t have any friends until he was a teenager. Concerned, his mum homeschooled him for a year. Shortly afterward, he began acting. Of his 2006 Oscar nomination, Gosling says, “It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to the people that I love. Especially my mother … she’s been fighting [for me] since I was born.” 

Michael Phelps, Swimmer

Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated Olympians. But swimming isn’t just a winning sport for Phelps; it’s a way for him to cope with his ADHD. His mother described her son’s exhibition of classic ADHD symptoms: not sitting still or being able to focus. However, he channelled that into swimming, and with “continuous praise and positive reinforcement” Phelps had the encouragement he needed to score the golds. Watch this video of him talking about his ADHD struggles.  

Channing Tatum, Actor

Channing Tatum is one of the most widely recognized celebrities. He also happens to be an actor who has publicly shared his struggles with ADHD during his childhood and how his struggles at school affected him. In fact, he continues to work through related difficulties as an adult. His ADHD has not stopped him from starring in many critically acclaimed movies and being at the top of the Hollywood game.  

Richard Bacon, TV Presenter 

Richard Bacon has spoken at length in public about his ADHD. The successful TV presenter was diagnosed at the age of 42. “MY ADHD is who I am. I wouldn’t change my ADHD for the world. “And talking about his late diagnosis as an adult “It’s a relief to be diagnosed. I’m so much better, I’m sleeping a lot better, only drinking a couple of times a week and a lot less.” 

Albert Einstein, Physicist & Mathematician 

Albert Einstein is acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Although it can’t be proven, many scholars and historians believe that Einstein one of the greatest minds of all-time, had ADHD. Einstein was a German physicist and mathematician who developed the special and general theories of relativity. In 1921, he won the Nobel Prize for physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.  

We didn’t have space in our Hall of Fame for the sheer number of celebrities with ADHD, but here are a few more! Scott Kelly (astronaut), Will Smith (Actor), Britney Spears (Musician), Justin Timberlake (Musician), Lily Allen (Actress), Jordan Stephens (Performer), Louis Smith (Olympic Gymnast), Heston Blumenthal (Chef), Lee Mack (Comedian), Mark Ruffalo (Actor), Ben Whittaker (Boxer & Olympian), Winston Churchill (Politician and former UK Prime Minister), Liv Tyler (Actress), Zayn Malik (Singer), Adam Lavine (Singer), Will.i.am (Musician) are just a few individuals who have had immense success despite having ADHD.