Disability is rarely something seen in the media. Though we are moving towards a more progressive representation of diversity in TV and Film, there is a lot of room to grow, and disability is one of those areas that is rarely seen. When it is, it is regularly done in a way that causes controversy and upset. But the truth is that there are plenty of disabled people working in the public eye; you just might not be aware of them. If you are wondering which celebrities might be disabled, check out this list.
Daniel Radcliffe – Dyspraxia
Boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe was a household name before he was a teenager. But did you know he is disabled? Daniel Radcliffe has a condition called Dyspraxia, which affects movement and coordination.
For him, he has cited that this disability manifested in difficulty tying his shoes amongst other things.
Tim Burton – Autism
Though – to the public’s knowledge – Tim Burton hasn’t had an official diagnosis, he and his wife Helena Bonham Carter are sure he is on the spectrum.
Looking at his films, it’s clear to see he has an incredibly unique mind: a pretty excellent one. He and his wife have researched the disability and feel certain that he fits into the category.
Joe Biden – Speech Impediment
The United States of America’s recently appointed President-elect used to suffer from a speech impediment.
When he was a child, he wrote a letter to himself which details the struggles he faced.
You’re only 12. Your stutter is debilitating. It embarrasses you and the bullies are vicious. […] You’ll summon the bravery to overcome the stutter, and you’ll learn to stand up to bullies.”
Biden overcame his stutter by practicing reading poetry aloud. It may be a little different from the traditional method of speech therapy, but it clearly worked. Guess who the next President might be?
Zooey Deschanel – ADHD
This actress is probably best known for her overexcited character Jess on the well-loved show New Girl. Zooey Deschanel announced her disability on the blog HelloGiggles back in 2011, citing the ways she felt her life had been affected by ADHD.
“Are you an unmedicated adult with Attention Deficit Disorder who also LOVES to do crafts? I AM! I barely have the patience to write this opening paragraph (I have already gotten up four times), so I need to focus my unfocused mind on projects that can be completed very quickly.”
James Earl Jones – Speech Impediment
Everyone knows James Earl Jones! This iconic actor, the voice of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, and the voice of The Lion King’s Mufasa had a speech impediment as a child.
When he was young, James Earl Jones moved away from his mother, moving in with his grandparents. This change traumatized five-year-old James, and he almost completely ceased speaking for eight years.
In the end, it was the help of one of his high school teachers that got him talking again, and helped him with his stutter.
Jamie Oliver – Dyslexia
Jamie Oliver’s issues with dyslexia meant he admits to having ‘never read a book in [his] life.’ Considering he had published multiple recipe books, this seems extraordinary. But he goes on to explain how dyslexia impacts his relationship with reading:
“I’ve never read a book in my life, which I know sounds incredibly ignorant, but I’m dyslexic, and I get bored easily.”
The book that finally captured his attention was Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Maybe he saw the title and thought it would be about cooking…
Justin Timberlake – ADD and OCD
Singer and actor Justin Timberlake has conquered just about every area of entertainment. But getting there wasn’t all easy. He said in an interview that his disabilities manifest mostly in a need to have things line up correctly, and refusing to have certain foods in the fridge.
“You try living with that,” he said in the interview. Though it has clearly been difficult, Justin Timberlake hasn’t let it hold him back from his successful career.
Millie Bobby Brown – Hearing Loss
Born with this disability, Millie Bobby Brown has talked about the issues she has faced performing. With issues hearing herself perform, the Stranger Things actress has found her work more challenging than her non-disabled peers.
Luckily, it hasn’t stopped her, and we’ve ended up with a character as iconic as Eleven.
Disability hasn’t been something these celebrities have let hold them back. But they’ve also been clear about the difficulties it has posed for them. Which person on this list did you find most interesting? Did any surprise you?