Justin Timberlake Reveals He Has Both ADD and OCD

'I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that,' the singer said

Justin Timberlake
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Justin Timberlake has not only brought SexyBack, he has also revealed that he has both attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The 36-year-old singer and actor told  Collider.com, “I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), those with OCD often experience repeated, uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions) and repeated actions or rituals (compulsions).

The condition affects about 3.3 million American adults and occurs equally in men and women. Symptoms of OCD usually develop by the age of 19 but can develop even beyond the age of 35.  

ADD, or inattentive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as its now known, causes symptoms of inattentiveness without the hyperactivity and impulsiveness associated with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD and combined ADHDthe two other forms of ADHD. ADHD affects approximately 7 percent of Americans, and according to the NIMH between 30 percent and 70 percent of these children will continue to exhibit symptoms as they grow into adulthood. 

Living Well With ADHD and OCD

Though ADHD and OCD each come with their own unique challenges, both can be managed through talk therapy and prescription medication. It is possible, with either or both conditions, to lead a full and productive life—just like Justin Timberlake, who thrives with both conditions.

In addition to his music, laughter has been a big part of Timberlake’s life. “My earliest memories as a kid was I would always try to make my mom and my stepdad laugh at dinner. Or make my friends laugh in class. And I don't know, it’s something I just really enjoy doing.” Timberlake continues to enjoy the excitement of live performances, as well.

He even still gets butterflies right before taking the stage. “It’s not like, ‘Oh my God, I hope I do good.’ You just kind of get caught up in the electricity of it,” says Timberlake. “And when that stops happening, you should stop. It’s addictive, you know what I mean?”

Family and a sense of humor can be a great source of support in dealing with the stress that comes along with OCD and ADHD. He credits his mother and stepfather for teaching him humility and keeping him grounded with a simple message: "Everybody puts their pants on the same way every morning."

This matter-of-fact approach has continued to help Timberlake in his adult life. When he begins to feel too much pressure to meet people’s needs or fascination, he is able to just let it go. “I don’t invest in it. And I stay away from it as much as I can,” says Timberlake.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Facts About ADHD.  2016. 

National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 2016.