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HomeLifestyle8 Famous People Diagnosed with Dyslexia

8 Famous People Diagnosed with Dyslexia

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Some of televisions’ favorite celebrities have it harder than most in their attempt to remain at the peak of their careers amid their battles with Dyslexia.

They might be famous, but they are humans too. Like everyone else, celebrities have real-life problems like heartbreaks, family rivalries, and financial challenges.

Most times, their health is also compromised, leaving them battling a series of ailments while doing their best to offer viewers the best on-screen experience.

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These health conditions range from genetic disorders to mental health issues and even learning disabilities like Dyslexia.

A dictionary page showing the definition of dyslexia | Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

While it seems almost farfetched to have these famous figures, who make a living mostly from reading and memorizing lines have a learning disability, some fan-favorite celebrities indeed live with this condition and are thriving in showbiz none-the-less.

From Jennifer Aniston to Whoopi Goldberg, here are some of Hollywood’s favorite celebrities who were diagnosed with Dyslexia.

1. Jennifer Aniston

“Friends” star Jennifer Aniston has starred in over a hundred films throughout her career, making each performance better than the last.

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Her outstanding prowess has earned her a handful of awards and recognition, solidifying her as one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood.

Hence, no one would have guessed how much it cost her to memorize each script. Notably, the star was diagnosed with Dyslexia in her twenties, which answered two decades of lingering questions. 

Aniston admittedly had a rough childhood due to her condition, never understanding why she found it difficult to read a book like her peers no matter how much she tried.

The struggle made her the least favorite of her teachers, subject to bullying, and earned her the role of class clown. Hence, eventually having a name tag on her condition admittedly felt like an end to her childhood traumas and dramas.

2. Octavia Spencer

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Actress and children author Octavia Spencer was never one to let her learning disability hinder her from pursuing her dreams.

Having attained success in showbiz, she began the mission of ensuring every kid embraced their dreams even in the face of a potentially limiting condition like dyslexia.

The star once recounted how she always felt paralyzed with fear each time she had to read aloud in class.

While she never understood why, all she knew at the time was she kept inverting or dropping words, making them increasingly difficult to discern. She received her diagnosis later in her life, giving her some long-awaited answers.

3. Keira Knightley

“Pirates Of The Caribbean” star Keira Knightley is one of a few celebrities with dyslexia who discovered the root of their condition at a young age.

Diagnosed at the age of six, Knightley turned her dyslexic condition into a superpower by making it the propelling force behind her career success.

Notably, she made a deal with her parents requesting them to hire an agent if she diligently worked on her reading daily.

Thereafter, Knightley harnessed her love for acting as motivation to live up to her end of the bargain, by constantly practicing with movie scripts. She improved substantially, but that did not stop the other kids at school from teasing her.

Ultimately, the icon’s parents supported her acting dreams, and thus one of Hollywood’s finest made her way into the industry.

4. Lorraine Bracco

Lorraine Bracco | Image: Pinterest
Lorraine Bracco | Image: Pinterest

In 2014, award-winning actress Lorraine Bracco opened up about her struggle with dyslexia throughout her childhood. Although she was never diagnosed until much later in life, she always knew she had a learning disability, and figured out a way around it like the genius she was.

Bracco recalled using humor to mask her learning disability while growing up. As she became older, she turned to creative outlets to deflect her dyslexia, eventually learning to work around scripts by emoting the lines.

The genius approach became the key to her success story. Leading child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz described Bracco as one of the fortunate few to have successfully overcome her undiagnosed case of dyslexia.

5. Whoopi Goldberg

Being an EGOT title-holder is a rare feat. Doing so while battling one of the most severe learning disabilities affecting up to 17% of the United States population almost seems impossible. Yet, Whoopi Goldberg managed to pull that off.

As a child, the actress had difficulties grasping words, making her subject of ridicule among her classmates. She recalled being called “stupid,’ by class bullies, so much that going to school became a dreaded ordeal.

Goldberg eventually dropped out of school, but never gave up on her dreams. Eventually, she learned she had dyslexia, which explained her learning difficulties.

Sticking to the words of her parents, who encouraged her to believe she could become whatever she wanted to be, the star chose the entertainment path. She went on to become a comedienne, actress, show host, and one of only sixteen people to ever snag the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.

6. Tom Cruise

Hollywood legend Tom Cruise has made quite the mark in the entertainment industry. However, five decades ago, many would never have believed he would amount to any good.

The 59-year-old actor was diagnosed with dyslexia at age seven. He spent the following decades of his life struggling academically to obtain a degree like his counterparts. His pursuits led him to discover his love for acting and he has remained unstoppable.

7. Cher

Grammy-Award-winning singer Cher never allowed her undiagnosed dyslexia to get in the way of her dreams. Growing up, she struggled academically, from learning to read to solving math problems.

In her autobiography, “The First Time,” Cher revealed she never could read quickly enough to complete her homework. In fact, her only means of learning was by listening to her teachers during classes.

Sadly, she endured these hardships in the dark for decades, only discovering she had dyslexia when she took her child to a hospital to get evaluated for similar learning and thinking differences.

8. Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg | Image: Pinterest
Steven Spielberg | Image: Pinterest

The brain behind some of the most iconic movies of all time, Steven Spielberg unbelievably makes this list. The filmmaker struggled with learning differences while growing up, but never understood his condition as there were no words for it at the time.

Due to his slow learning abilities, his peers bullied him, while the adults jeered him to smarten up. After enduring his daunting academic struggles for years, the legend dropped out of college in 1968.

He went on to establish himself as a filmmaker, finding a suitable niche despite his learning disability. The movie mogul only received his diagnosis at the age of sixty. By then, he had already defied the odds to become one of the most successful filmmakers to walk the earth.

A Stroke Of Genius

Many other celebrities young and old lived with dyslexia at some points in their lives. However, most went undiagnosed due to the unavailability of research resources or lack of awareness.

Legends like Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, John Kenney, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Graham Bell were believed to have this learning disability.

Remarkably, these iconic figures shaped the course of history in their own ways by accomplishing remarkable feats and technological advancements.

Achieving this while battling dyslexia leaves one wondering whether this learning disability, which conferred ultra-creative abilities on these legendary geniuses, was a curse or a blessing in disguise. Let history be the judge.

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