Famous people with avoidant personality disorder experience the same extreme shyness, fear of rejection, and feelings of inadequacy as the typical person who suffers from the condition (Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder). Not many celebrities or otherwise famous people with mental illnesses step forward and publicly admit it.
But they should.
When well-known people with mental disorders speak openly about their illnesses, it helps reduce mental health stigma and encourages other people to step up and seek help for their own issues.
Despite the reluctance of many to speak up, a couple of courageous celebrities with avoidant personality disorder (APD) have: Actress Kim Basinger and singing superstar, Donny Osmond.
Kim Basinger. You may know this beautiful and talented actress from one or more of the many movies in which she starred: The Natural, 9 ½ Weeks, Never Say Never Again, LA Confidential and many more. Basinger talks openly about her APD and reflects on the intense fear she felt when asked to read in front of her class as a child. She also talks about the effects of her disorder and how she copes in interviews about the HBO movie Panic: A movie about coping.
When she accepted her Oscar award for the movie LA Confidential, she revealed that she didn't know what to say even though she had rehearsed a speech for a few days before. She has been in therapy, the primary treatment for avoidant personality disorder, which helps her better cope when required to socialize with others.
Donny Osmond. During an interview back in 2000, Osmond admitted that he had been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder and talked about his intense fear of going on stage. He said that even though he appeared on stage with his family and, later, alone as a teenager countless times, he experienced debilitating fear and anxiety each time right before walking on. He revealed that at one point, he was so intensely fearful that if given a choice to go on stage or die, he would have chosen death. He narrated a documentary about severe social anxiety called Afraid of People.
Other Famous People with Avoidant Personality Disorder
It's difficult to identify other famous people with avoidant personality disorder because no other celebrities have publicly revealed they suffer from it. Here are a couple of deceased celebrities whose behaviors indicate they might have had APD:
Michael Jackson –Jackson was an iconic pop star who lived as a virtual recluse. He wore masks and disguises when going out in public and didn't seem to enjoy public attention the way many stars do. He built an amusement park on his property so he could go there without encountering the crowds at public parks. People who knew him reported that he was painfully shy. Jackson died in 2009 of a medication overdose.
Glenn Gould. A renowned Canadian pianist, Gould began composing at age five. He lived as a recluse and preferred to "interact" with people through his piano compositions. Friends describe him as shy and kind. He died of a stroke in 1982.
In reality, there probably aren't too many other famous people with avoidant personality disorder, since becoming a celebrity requires people to interact with the public via stage, in person, on film, live radio, etc. Regardless, it's empowering for both celebrities and their fans to go public with their struggles with mental illness.