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Top 33 Most Popular Celebrities With Autism
Shivam-Posted May 28, 2023
Autism spectrum disorder is a diagnosis that is marked by discrepancies from the general population in the key areas of social and communication skills. Those who have been diagnosed with it can often show certain behaviours that may come off as atypical and different to other people.
These behaviours are known as restrictive or repetitive. As challenging as autism can be, it is also true that autistic people have their unique strengths and abilities. Indeed, some of them have used their potential to achieve success and fame and accomplish amazing things in life.
Autism spectrum disorder did not become the mainstream diagnosis it is today until well into the 20th century. However, we certainly can't claim it to be new for history is full of people who many consider to be or have been somewhere on the autism spectrum.
You'd be amazed to learn that some of the most well-known scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and activists are believed to have ASD. But, today, we are going to get you acquainted with some exceptionally talented individuals who made it big in the field of entertainment despite having been diagnosed with the same.
We all are aware of the fact that celebrities end up enlightening people about different types of health issues and concerns when they decide to share secrets about their incredulously private lives.
This is perhaps why a lot of credit has to be given to the names we are going to be discussing today for having done their bit to make people aware of the autism spectrum disorder.
These celebrities turned their so-called disorder into their strength and went on to prove that different ways of thinking can only benefit society in the long run.
33. Alex Reid
Alex Reid was the winner of Celebrity Big Brother 7. He has gone on record to state that he started reflecting upon his childhood after having been diagnosed. He talked about the years of bullying and how he always felt different.
Not only that but he also very bravely went on to confess that there was a child inside him who often felt like sobbing. However, Alex discovered that he has Asperger's after having met with a random family who happened to have an autistic child.
Unsurprisingly, the parents noticed similarities between him and their child and informed him of the same.
32. Derek Paravicini
Derek Paravicini is an English autistic savant known as a musical prodigy. He resides in London and is reported to have been born extremely premature at only 25 weeks. He is blind and has battled severe learning disabilities over the years.
However, his pitch continues to be perfect. Actually, his talent can be gauged from the fact that he was only nine years old when he played his first concert with an orchestra.
Paravicini, who is labelled a "superhuman" by those who know him well, has played for Princess Diana and been featured on countless shows over the years.
31. Leslie Lemke
Let's just start by mentioning that the talented Leslie Lemke struggles with his motor controls so badly that he can't even hold onto utensils without dropping them. However, there is no stopping the man when he sits down at the piano.
Fortunately, his foster parents were quick to realize his talent and potential when they heard him play, without ever having taken a single piano lesson. In fact, he could play anything after having heard it just once.
Seems like, for Leslie, once is more than enough.
30. Anne Hegerty
Anne Hegerty is an English professional quizzer and television personality who has been diagnosed with Asperger's. Since 2010, she has been a "chaser" on the ITV game show The Chase as "The Governess".
She has also served as a contestant on the 2018 series of the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! She was not diagnosed until 2003 when she was 45.
29. James Durbin
Durbin rose to fame after having appeared on the tenth season of American Idol. He is reported to have been diagnosed with Asperger's when he was only 9 years old.
However, it didn't stop him from doing well and finishing fourth on the show. The artist went on to release his debut album in 2011 and has never tried to conceal his life story from the public.
Indeed, he seems to have always been open about his fight against Asperger's syndrome. Needless to say, he is a deserving name to be on the list of famous people with autism.
28. Hannah Gadsby
Australian comedian, writer, and actor Hannah Gadsby kick-started their career after having won the national final of the Raw Comedy competition for new comedians in 2006.
In 2018, their show Nanette, which plays on Netflix, earned the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special and a Peabody Award, respectively.
However, not many people know that Gadsby is autistic. In fact, she went on to reveal her experience with autism in an interview with The Project not so long ago.
She may have battled grief and confusion following her diagnosis, but, today she stands tall as an official ambassador for Yellow Ladybugs, which is an Australian organisation aiming to improve support for women and girls with autism.
27. Melanie Sykes
This English television and radio presenter is best known for co-hosting Today with Des and Mel with Des O'Connor and Let's Do Lunch with Gino D'Acampo.
Sykes, who first came to public attention in the mid-1990s as the face of the Boddingtons Bitter advertisements, was diagnosed as autistic aged 51.
She is also known to have hosted other shows such as The Vault, Celebrities Under Pressure, and The British Soap Awards.
26. Christine McGuinness
A model, television personality, and former beauty queen, Christine McGuinness made her presence felt on the ITVBe reality series The Real Housewives of Cheshire between 2018 and 2020. She has also appeared on other television series such as The Real Full Monty and The Games.
She is autistic, as are her three children. In 2021, she decided to take part in a BBC documentary alongside her husband to raise awareness about autism.
25. Alexis Wineman
Alexis Wineman made history when she became the first known autistic contestant to compete in the Miss America pageant in 2013. When she was a child, the former Miss Montana was diagnosed with pervasive development disorder, which is a less common disorder found on the autism spectrum.
However, she did not allow the diagnosis to deter her and, ultimately, battled a ton of social pressure that comes with competing in pageantry. Wineman ended up winning the "America's Choice" award at the pageant.
24. Heather Kuzmich
America's Next Top Model contestant, Heather Kuzmich, has also managed to cope with Asperger's syndrome over time. Since she has always considered herself to be socially awkward, it became quite a task for her to live in a house with twelve strangers/competitors.
Her time on the show did have its challenges as she sometimes had trouble making eye contact and dealing with jokes she didn't quite understand. However, the viewers were apparently able to empathize with her as she was voted viewer favourite eight weeks in a row during the competition.
She also ended up in the top five.
23. Craig Nicholls
Best known as the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the Australian alternative rock band The Vines, Craig Nicholls has gained a reputation for being an erratic performer.
The artist was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome after having been charged with assault for kicking a photographer during a show.
That said, he has gone on record to state that his diagnosis may well be the root of his destructive behaviour.
22. Adam Young
This imaginative, Minnesota-based multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
The face behind Owl City, he has admitted to struggles with insomnia over time. In fact, one of his most popular songs, "Fireflies", revolves around the topic of insomnia.
Young, who happens to be an extreme introvert, acknowledges having spent most of his high-school years alone and without mates.
21. Dan Harmon
Ardent fans of a hit show like 'Community' would be familiar with its writer and creator Dan Harmon. He came to identify himself as someone with Asperger's while he was researching for a character he was creating.
The man realized that much of what he was learning described his personality quite well. Intrigued, he started looking up the symptoms and, subsequently, acknowledged that the more he looked them up, the more familiar and friendly they started to seem.
20. Marty Balin
Best known as the founder of the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, Marty Balin was fairly successful during his heyday in the 1960s. After struggling as a child, the artist was diagnosed with mild autism.
While he's been far away from the spotlight for quite some time now, he continues to be an advocate for those on the autism spectrum; the biggest illustration of which is a song he recorded for a short film about children on the autism spectrum.
19. Tom Wiggins
American pianist and composer Tom Wiggins was a master pianist of the 19th century who had numerous original compositions published. He gained a reputation for playing anything he heard and, therefore, went on to have a lengthy and largely successful performing career throughout the United States.
It is imperative to stress that he was one of the best-known performing pianists and one of the best-known African-American musicians during the 19th century. His ability to listen and memorize earned him the tags "human parrot" and "human phonograph" over time.
18. Matt Savage
Composer and pianist Matt Savage is also known to be autistic. The man taught himself how to read music when he was just six years old. And, by the time he turned 11, his music career was already pretty successful; so much so that he was even signed to Bösendorfer pianos and was performing for heads of state around the world.
He has gone on several tours and has received many awards, including being signed to Bösendorfer pianos in 2003. In fact, he is the only child to be so recognized in the company's 188-year history. Truly, savage!
17. Courtney Love
A figure in the alternative and grunge scenes of the 1990s, Courtney Love was popular both for being the wife of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and the lead singer of the punk band Hole.
Needless to say, she has enjoyed a long career in the spotlight. A popular biography about the singer went on to reveal that she has a mild form of autism.
Indeed, she has admitted that she struggles with social skills, which is why she took a call to practice conversation by visiting gay clubs with close pals for quite some time.
16. Tony DeBlois
Tony DeBlois does not only have autism spectrum disorder but he is also blind, which is the result of receiving too much oxygen after having been born prematurely. Despite the various hurdles in his life, the artist began playing the piano at the age of two.
Sooner than later, it became quite clear that he was not an average toddler. While he excelled at music as a child, he started playing 20 different musical instruments as an adult.
Today, he is acknowledged for performing more than 8,000 pieces by memory. Many have been privileged to see him perform live in concerts.
15. Satoshi Tajiri
This name may not be heard in popular culture today, but it is very much a part of it. Satoshi Tajiri is a reputed Japanese video game designer who was fascinated with collecting bugs as a child; so much so that he went on to expand his interest by creating the beloved show Pokemon.
Those who have read or heard about Asperger's Syndrome would know that people who are diagnosed with it sometimes enjoy collecting, sorting, and categorizing stuff; something that Tajiri could relate to as well.
Though he has confirmed that he is, indeed, on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, he does not talk about it in public as much. We truly can't complain for his many accomplishments speak for themselves.
14. Susan Boyle
Most of you know this reticent Scottish introvert as an artist who has gone on to sell over 14 million records after having risen to prominence on Britain's Got Talent.
The singing sensation inspired people even more when she announced that she had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. While she was diagnosed with Asperger's as an adult, it's been reported that she was once misdiagnosed with brain damage at birth.
However, the artist confessed that her diagnosis only helps her have a better understanding of herself. Boyle, who is known to have struggled with depression and mood swings over time, has now learnt to manage her symptoms.
13. Daryl Hannah
The beautiful star of motion pictures like Splash, Blade Runner, and Steel Magnolias, Daryl Hannah opened up about her experiences with the autism spectrum just a few years ago. However, she has been nothing but inspirational to her friends and colleagues ever since.
She has gone on record to state that she rocked herself to self-soothe as a kid, and that she was so shy that she refused to give interviews or attend premieres even after having become a screen performer.
Needless to mention, the actor has been fairly honest about her challenges with Asperger's Syndrome. While she has mostly learned to control and live with her diagnosis, she doesn't work in the entertainment industry anymore.
Instead, she seems to have shifted her focus to environmental issues and other passions.
12. David Byrne
The multi-faceted David Byrne is a Scottish-American artist who describes himself as on the autism spectrum. But, the Talking Heads frontman has not been professionally diagnosed yet.
He believes that he is just different, and not defective, and that is perhaps the approach we all should have towards the people diagnosed with autism.
The artist has gone on to release solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, fiction, and non-fiction throughout his career.
Byrne has also gone on record to state that he used to get annoyed when folks placed value judgements on sociability.
11. Glenn Gould
Eccentric master pianist Glenn Gould was one of the most famous and celebrated pianists of the 20th century. He was also renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The artist, whose playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency, was known for his many eccentricities. While his unorthodox musical interpretations and mannerisms managed to grab eyeballs, people were also often fascinated by his lifestyle and behaviour.
Gould's performances were marked by strange habits like rocking and humming while playing the piano. It is not surprising then that a lot many experts over the years have suspected that he could have had Asperger's syndrome.
10. Wentworth Miller
Things got a bit too complicated for 'Prison Break' star Wentworth Miller when the world was reeling under the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic; for he discovered that he has autism while in lockdown.
Later, the Hollywood actor took to his Instagram to explain that this discovery may have been a surprise of sorts, but it definitely wasn't a shock. He mentioned that he received a formal diagnosis after a long, flawed process that was in severe need of updating.
Wentworth went on to add that he wanted to share his side of the story to not come across as a loud and ill-informed voice in the autism community. Also, being autistic is not something he intends to change about himself.
9. Jerry Seinfeld
Yes, we are duly aware of the fact that this popular comedian has been criticized for making light of actual issues, but the man has gone on to state in multiple interviews that he believes himself to be on the autism spectrum.
While he has never been officially diagnosed by a medical professional, Seinfeld identifies himself as at least mildly autistic and cites various social challenges that he has experienced since childhood to justify his statements, including his tendency to think rather literally.
8. Dan Aykroyd
One of the most famous people with Asperger's Syndrome, Dan Aykroyd is a comedic actor who is perhaps best known for his acting role and writing of the movie Ghostbusters (1984).
As a youngster, he was expelled from two different schools by the time a doctor diagnosed him with mild Asperger's. However, these events went on to shape his thinking and he has been pretty honest and up-front about his experiences with the autism spectrum ever since.
You'd be surprised to learn that the Academy Award-nominated actor and writer stated quite a few years ago that his experiences with autism helped him contribute to his character in Ghostbusters.
7. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This prolific and influential composer of the Classical period is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. The great man's tunes were admired for their "melodic beauty, its formal elegance and its richness of harmony and texture."
A well-documented incident about the artist states that once when he got bored, he started doing cartwheels and vaults over tables while meowing loudly like a cat.
However, he was quite sensitive to loud noises himself. Add to that the fact that he could make a span of facial expressions within seconds.
6. Woody Allen
While it has not publicly been explicitly stated that three-time Oscar winner Woody Allen is on the autism spectrum, he, along with various experts, seems to agree that it is very likely.
The writer, director, actor, and musician is well known for his quirky ways and has confessed to being neurotic in a more benign way. In fact, he has gone on to state that he doesn't like to go into elevators or through tunnels.
Not only that but the filmmaker also argues that he likes the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.
5. Tim Burton
One of Hollywood's most famous filmmakers, Tim Burton identifies as being autistic because he shares so many common personality traits with others with ASD. It is not surprising then that one of his long-time partners, Helena Bonham Carter, seems to think so too.
According to her, the director often used to be so engrossed in his work that he failed to even hear or acknowledge those around him. Well, his amazing movies are a testament to the fact that his self-diagnosis allowed him to see things other people won't or couldn't see.
The director himself has confessed that as a child, he often chose solitary activities such as painting, drawing, and watching films and could never get enough of them.
4. Stanley Kubrick
One of the most renowned film directors of all time, Stanley Kubrick is best known for having helmed innovative and exceedingly creative motion pictures such as A Clockwork Orange, Dr Strangelove, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This is precisely why it can be a bit difficult to believe that he may actually have been autistic. Dr Michael Fitzgerald with co-writer Viktoria Lyons seems to have diagnosed him with ASD in retrospect and discussed it in some detail in their book about Asperger's.
However, it is imperative to mention that the experts are split on this one. Those who genuinely believe Kubrick to be autistic cite his withdrawn nature and habit of hoarding animals.
Not only that but they also argue that the man was a chess mastermind. Be that as it may, there are plenty of reports that continue to deny these allegations.
3. Robbie Williams
Popular English singer and songwriter Robbie Williams firmly believe that he may have Asperger's Syndrome. The man first found fame as a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and consolidated his popularity after having achieved commercial success in his solo career.
In an interview on BBC Radio 2, the singer confessed that he feels that something is missing in him and that he has big blind spots. While he cannot be too sure of it, he does think that he may be going through autism or Asperger's syndrome.
There may not be a formal medical diagnosis yet, but Williams has revealed that he has an "interesting compulsion, addiction, or mental illness."
One of the best-selling and most talented rappers of all time, Eminem apparently disclosed in his song "Wicked Ways" that he has Asperger's.
While he has never really talked about being diagnosed with any kind of autism spectrum disorder publicly, he has mentioned that he's had persistent difficulties with or differences in social communication and social interaction over the years.
To conclude, there is no definitive evidence to suggest that Eminem has autism. However, he does show carry some characteristics that are consistent with autism.
1. Sir Anthony Hopkins
Oscar award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins was also diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. While some think that he was diagnosed as a child, others believe that the realization dawned upon the movie star quite late in his career.
Be that as it may, the man has stated in his interviews that he did withstand learning differences as a kid. Not only that but he has also coped with obsessive thinking and difficulty in maintaining friendships as an adult.
Needless to say, these are two significant traits of ASD. However, the legendary performer also credits ASD with his unique ability to look at people differently and deconstruct a character while working on a project.
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