6 celebrities you didn’t know had OCD

Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba are amongst the many celebrities with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), now highlighted by a new Channel 4 drama

Channel 4’s fresh new TV drama Pure premiered last week, following 24-year-old Marnie, played by actress Charly Clive.  Marnie has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

The six-part drama is adapted on the acclaimed biography of Rose Cartwright, aka Marnie who decides to pack up and move to London, as she can no longer cope with her condition, Pure O (purely obsessional), a form of OCD. In London she discovers she is not the only lost soul and makes a group of new friends.

The drama focuses on Marnie’s functionality and the complications that pure O can cause to a person’s daily life. It also highlights the severity of the disorder and shines a new light on the scope of what OCD can encompass.  For Marnie, it manifests as being hindered by obsessive sexual thoughts and compulsions with unseen mental rituals that deeply interrupt her life.

12 in every 1,000 people suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder

What is Obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or most commonly referred to as OCD, is a severe anxiety condition. According to OCD UK, it is estimated that around three quarters of a million people are thought to be suffering from this debilitating condition. That’s approximately 1.2 per cent of the population in Britain which accounts to over one million people dealing with this disorder each day. Recent research also suggests that OCD is more common in women than in men.

OCD is often associated with immaculate cleanliness, repetitive hand washing or even mild germ phobias. But the truth is this condition is far more complicated. There are two predominant factors of OCD. These are obsessions and compulsions.


Channel 4’s new drama ‘Pure’. Joe (Anthony Welsh), Marnie (Charly Clive) and Charlie (Joe Cole). Image from Channel 4.

The Symptoms

Obsessions ‘are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind,’ says the mental health charity, Mind. This can result in the avoidance of certain people or places, sometimes even objects. Simply put, this is the cause of the anxiety.

Compulsions are the repetitive actions the person must do to tame their anxieties, this could include excessive checking of appliances, counting or repeating words in your head, or even washing your hands to the point they are red raw. This is the physical ritual.

More and more people are opening up about their battles with mental health. Now is the time to embrace them just like these six celebrities have done.

#1 Jessica Alba


Celebrities with OCD,Jessica Alba at the ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ Los Angeles Premiere, 2016. Image from PR Photos.

The actress now turned businesswoman once stated that she had suffered from OCD. It was a need for control over her life. As a child she suffered from multiple health issues such as kidney problems, asthma and pneumonia, which sometimes hit her multiple times a year, as mentioned in Cosmopolitan. It was no wonder that she developed a need for control over her life and so developed an obsessive and controlling condition.

‘I used to unplug every single appliance in my house. Or I’d double-check every door in my house to make sure it was locked at night,’ as mentioned in ABC News. ‘It was like a panic came over me and I had to do something, and once I did it, I was OK. … It was really me needing to control something.’

#2 Camila Cabello

Celebrities with OCD, Camila Cabello, The O2, Peninsula Square / London, UK, 2018. Photos by PR photos.

The 21-year-old singer recently admitted in an interview last year to her struggles with anxiety and OCD. Camila is one in a number of celebs that have come forward with their mental health difficulties.

‘OCD is weird. I laugh about it now,’ she says in an interview with E! Online. ‘Everybody has different ways of handling stress. And, for me, if I get really stressed thinking about something, I’ll start to have the same thought over and over again, and no matter how many times I get to the resolution, I feel like something bad is about to happen if I don’t keep thinking about it.’

Once diagnosed with OCD, the disorder appeared to be more easily managed and Camila could finally cope with it. She explained to Teen Vogue ‘I didn’t know what it was and when I found out, and [learned] how to step back from it, it made me feel so much better,’ she said. ‘I feel so much more in control of it now. To the point where I’m just like, ‘Aha! OK, this is just my OCD.’

#3 Amanda Seyfried


Celebrities with OCD, Amanda Seyfried at the ‘Gringo’ Los Angeles Premiere, 2018. Image from PR photos.

After filming Mean Girls in 2004, 19-year-old Seyfried took the step and moved to LA to continue her film career. Driving to one of her new sets she began to suffer from a panic attack, she tells Porter last year ‘I got dizzy and had this crazy headache, so I pulled over onto the freeway ramp and called my mom: ‘I’m going to die!’ I was gasping.’ It was soon apparent that she had OCD and once diagnosed found her ‘whole life changed. It was so empowering.’

Now 33-years-old, Amanda told Porter that she was on medication, but that combined with her embracing motherhood has left her so busy that she never has enough time to worry

#4 Katy Perry

Celebrities with OCD, Katy Perry, Byron Allen’s 2nd Annual Entertainment Studios Oscar Gala Viewing Party, 2018. Image by PR photos.

The 34-year-old American singer-song writer is not shy about opening up on her quirks, nor does it seem her mental health is out of bounds either as she honestly admits to suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.

Speaking out in 2013, as noted in News24, she said ‘I have OCD tendencies. I do strange things with buttoning everything up and colour coordinating it, hanging it in a certain way. When things are out of control in your childhood, you find things to focus on.’ But that’s not all, she has also admitted, as stated in the Cosmopolitan, that she brushes her teeth ‘four to six times a day,’ and takes twenty-six pills each day, but don’t worry they’re only ‘vitamins and supplements.’

#5 Lena Dunham

Celebrities with OCD, Lena Dunham, 2017 Tribeca Film Festival “My Art” Premiere. Image from PR photos

Multi-talented director, actress, and writer, most notably known for her hit show Girls, Dunham is no stranger to the effects of anxiety. She is particularly open about her experiences and feels no stigma surrounding her struggles.

In a video exclusive to People she said,  ‘I have obsessive compulsive disorder and a generalized anxiety disorder that often leads to dissociative anxiety.’

Even as a child at the age of four, it was apparent that beneath her funny demeanor she was plagued by thoughts of worry which highly affected her schooling. She confessed in Vogue ‘I missed 74 days of 10th grade,’ which in turn lead to her to become avoidant and afraid to leave the comfort of her own home.

#6 Charlize Theron


Celebrities with OCD, Charlize Theron at The 24th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, 2019. Image from PR photos.

South African actress and mother of two spoke in 2012 to Australian radio show Kyle and Jackie O and confessed she has ‘OCD, which is not fun.’  She goes on to say, ‘I have to be incredibly tidy and organized or it messes with my mind and switches off on me.’ She has also professed how the worry of chaos often weighed upon her at night. Something that anyone with anxiety can relate too.

In 2017 she spoke to Ellen DeGeneres in an interview about the effect her children had on her condition. As mentioned in ET online, she says  ‘My kids definitely help me be less anxious about a lot of that stuff. There are certain rooms that I let go and I’ve given up on.’

You can now catch Pure every Wednesday on Channel 4 or you can catch all episodes on All 4.

More Healthista Content:

Is your instagram making you ill?

5 effects of stress that seriously impact your health

Mindfulness and running – the therapy that could change your life

3 exercise tips this TV doctor wants you to know

7 signs of magnesium deficiency that could be ruining your body goals

< Back

Also in this week’s magazine

breathing exercises, mood, self love, happiness
Mood and Mind

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Try this quick breathing exercise

Can a simple breathing exercise change our mood? Performance Coach Mark Whittle, says it can. Join us every week for lockdown productivity hacks

'Read more books' says leading purpose and performance coach Mark Whittle - here's why reading is so good for us FEATURE
Mood and Mind

‘Read more books’ says leading purpose and performance coach Mark Whittle – here’s why reading is so important for our wellbeing

Reading has been shown to significantly improve cognitive function, increase vocabulary, reduce stress and aid in sleep quality. It has also been shown to increase lifespan. So, how much should we be reading?

6 smart goal setting tricks FEATURED
Trainer Tips

Celebrity trainer Sarah Lindsay reveals the fitness lockdown goals we should be aiming for – ps: they aren’t what you think

If you are in need of some lockdown goal setting advice, then Sarah Lindsay aka Roar Fitness Girl is here to help

9 natural ways to get a better night's sleep FEATURED

9 natural insomnia remedies to help you sleep better tonight

Whether you're worried about that virus or general life pressures are mounting, there seems to be a lot of insomnia about right now - for World Sleep Day Olivia Hartland-Robbins finds out what natural remedies will help you sleep

gratitude mark whittle FEATURE
Mood and Mind

Leading purpose and performance coach reveals how gratitude can make you happier every day and improve mental health

For Wellness Wednesday, join us weekly for productivity hacks, lifestyle changes and tools to help you through the rest of lockdown with Purpose and Performance Coach, Mark Whittle

Home Workout Challenge for body and mind day 19 FEATURED
Mood and Mind

Home Workout Challenge for body & mind: guided meditation for relaxation – week three, day 19

Welcome back to our new four week workout challenge for your body and mind – it’s time to take a chill pill and practice some relaxation meditation for day 19 with Maude Hirst

Latest Video Series


Wellness Weekly

I agree to my personal data being stored and used to receive the Healthista newsletter.