14 Wildly Successful People With ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of people worldwide. Here are 13 successful people who have either been diagnosed with ADHD or openly discussed their struggles with it:

1. John Lennon

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John Lennon, an iconic singer, songwriter, and peace activist, was believed to have ADHD. He experienced difficulties in school and eventually dropped out, yet he still managed to make a name for himself, even with his condition.

The popular Beatles star is regarded as one of the greatest musicians ever, and his influence in the music industry still lives on today.

2. Michael Phelps

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Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in America, discovered he had ADHD in grade school. His teachers noticed that he had difficulty staying still during the day, and he was prescribed ADHD medication to control his symptoms.

Despite this, his mother encouraged him to take up swimming, which helped him develop concentration and self-discipline. With her support, he has achieved 28 Olympic medals— the most of any athlete in history.

3. Jim Carrey

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Jim Carrey is an esteemed movie actor who has bravely embraced his ADHD, allowing it to fuel the characters he portrays.

In an interview, he opened up about his struggles with mental health issues such as depression and the medication associated with them, including ADHD. This openness allowed others to relate to him and further cemented Carrey’s status in Hollywood. 

He has also used his platform to share information about the disorder and raise awareness. He is an advocate for those who live with ADHD and other mental health conditions, speaking out about the importance of seeking help.

4. Walt Disney

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Walt Disney is widely speculated to have suffered from dyslexia and ADHD. As a youth, he encountered difficulty with academics, leading him to drop out of high school at the age of 16.

His struggles with mental health issues may have driven his creativity and the success of his iconic animated characters. His legacy has had a lasting impact on the entertainment industry and continues to inspire young minds today.

5. John F Kennedy

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John F. Kennedy is known to have had dyslexia, but some believe he may have also been affected by ADHD. As a youngster, school seemed to be hard for him. However, he refused to let this hold him back and accomplished great things in his life.

He graduated from Harvard, became the 35th President of the United States, and was a major leader during the Cold War. Despite his struggles, Kennedy proved that achieving great things with hard work and dedication is possible.

6. Will Smith

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The beloved actor and comedian was diagnosed with ADHD in his youth, but he never let it slow him down. He’s since become one of Hollywood’s most successful stars, thanks in part to his hard work and dedication.

During an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine in 1998, Will Smith admitted that he struggled as a child due to his ADHD. He exclaimed that while he was capable of receiving “A” grades, his “B’s” reflected the fact that something wasn’t quite right.

7. Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan is widely recognized as the greatest basketball player of all time. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and his success on and off the court demonstrated what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication despite living with the disorder.

Even when he reached the top of his field, he still strived to keep discovering himself, which is a common symptom of ADHD.

In his retirement, Jordan harnessed the same drive that made him an NBA legend and poured it into many business investments beyond just ‘Jordan’ sneakers.

His story has acted as an inspiration to many people with ADHD.

8. Cher

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Cher, a legendary singer, has revealed that she was diagnosed with both dyslexia and ADHD. This would explain why she struggled with reading as a child and had difficulty in school.

However, Cher has proved that overcoming difficulties and having a successful career in the entertainment industry is possible. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, won an Academy Award, and even created her fashion label.

9. Will.i.am

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Will.i.am is a rapper famously known for being part of the Black Eyed Peas and has openly shared that he has ADHD.

He credits his success in music to the disorder, claiming that it helps him stay focused and creative in the studio. He believes that ADHD can be a strength, as it has helped him to find solutions to obstacles and even pushed him toward his passion.

Will.i.am is a great example of what can be achieved when one learns how to work with ADHD.

10. Albert Einstein

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It is widely speculated that the renowned scientist and physicist, Albert Einstein, had ADHD. He was known to have difficulty in school and experienced difficulty staying focused. Despite his struggles, he made major scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that have profoundly impacted the world.

Other great minds, such as Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin, were also thought to have ADHD.

11. Howie Mandel

howie mandel
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Howie Mandel is an American comedian, actor, and game show host who openly discusses his struggle with ADHD.

Mandel struggled with school as a child due to his ADHD and was never able to get a high school diploma.

However, Mandel says other people out there have similar struggles, and you are not alone. He serves as an ambassador for the Adult ADHD is Real campaign and uses his condition to fuel his comedic performances.

12. Justin Timberlake

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American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake has revealed that he struggles with ADHD. He has stated that it is a difficult condition to live with, as he is a combination of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and ADHD.

Timberlake has not gone into detail about his struggles, but he is an example of how celebrities can have ADHD and still have thriving careers.

13. Paris Hilton

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Paris Hilton was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of twelve. She revealed her condition in an interview with Larry King in 2007, mentioning that she had been taking medication to help manage her symptoms.

She admitted that while living with the condition makes it tough to pay attention to things, it has never affected her career, and she has learned to cope with it.

Hilton is an excellent businesswoman, television personality, and singer who has shown that one can live with ADHD and still flourish.

14. Emma Watson

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Emma Watson is widely recognized for her tremendous talent and beauty. She has achieved great success in both film and women’s rights while also having the distinction of being a Brown University graduate and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

Emma was diagnosed with combined-type ADHD when she was just a child, according to the ADHD Foundation, and had to take medicine throughout the Harry Potter filming. It never let it stop her from achieving her goals at school or in her career.

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ADHD is a disorder that can cause difficulties in everyday life, but there are also many people with ADHD who have gone on to have successful lives and accomplish their goals.

These celebrities have shown that ADHD does not need to hold you back, and there are countless possibilities for those who live with the condition. In their own lives, they have demonstrated how one can push through any obstacle and pursue their dreams.

This article, Celebrities and Well-Known People With ADHD, was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Featured Image: chrisdorney// Shutterstock

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

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