Which Celebrities Suffer With Social Anxiety?

List of Celebrities Who Suffer With Social Anxiety

Celebrities with social anxiety include those who have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (SAD) such as Donny Osmond, Barbra Streisand and Ricky Williams, and others who have dealt with social anxiety issues such as Susie O'Neill and Kim Basinger. Read more about celebrities with social anxiety and how they have learned to cope and succeed despite their illness.


Even performers like Donny Osmond live with anxiety.
Donny Osmond has been open about living with anxiety. Getty / David Becker

At the tender age of 6, Donny Osmond recalls the beginnings of what would later develop into a full-blown case of social anxiety disorder. While performing in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Osmond's stage fright became overwhelming. No longer able to cope, he sought help and received both medication and therapy as part of a treatment program. Osmond has spoken openly about his experiences in his autobiography and in interviews that he has given.



Barbra Streisand is known for living with social anxiety.
Barbra Streisand has shared her experience with social anxiety. Getty / Andrew Toth

During a concert in New York's Central Park, Barbra Streisand forgot the lyrics to a song that she was singing. Terrified of having it happen again, she did not perform publicly (with the exception of charity events) for nearly another 30 years. Streisand eventually returned to performing and has since reported using medication to manage her symptoms of social anxiety. She continues to be a sought-after actress and popular with the public.



Ricky Williams has shared his struggles with social anxiety.
Ricky Williams is an SAD activist who lives with social anxiety. Getty / NFL Photos / Ricky Williams

Professional football player Ricky Williams battled a crippling case of social anxiety disorder throughout his career in the NFL. Often judged as strange and aloof, Williams was known for leaving his helmet on during interviews and avoiding fans. On the suggestion of a friend, he entered therapy and began taking the anti-anxiety medication paxil (paroxetine). Williams has shared his story openly with the hope of helping others with social anxiety disorder. He continues to work with organizations and researchers to advance understanding and awareness of the disorder.



Zack Greinke is a successful baseball player despite battling social anxiety.
Zack Greinke overcame social anxiety to succeed in baseball. Getty / Joe Robbins

Zack Greinke took a leave of absence from his position as pitcher with the Kansas City Royals in 2006 to deal with SAD. A combination of treatment from a sports psychologist and anti-depressant medication allowed Greinke to return 7 months later. Greinke then performed exceptionally well, winning the Cy Young Award in 2009, and appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has been heralded as a triumph in the world of sports for overcoming a debilitating illness and going on to succeed. In 2015, he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.



Khalil Greene has suffered with social anxiety during his baseball career.
Khalil Greene is a baseball player with social anxiety disorder. Getty / Jamie Squires

Khalil Greene, shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, was placed on the disabled list for SAD in 2009 and 2010. Greene was known for having a long-standing pattern of emotional difficulties and had already been in treatment for anxiety issues.He left professional baseball in 2010.



Susie O'Neill is a famous athlete living with social anxiety disorder.
Susie O'Neill is an Olympic athlete who suffered with social anxiety disorder. Getty / Cameron Spencer

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Susie O'Neill spoke publicly about her problems with social anxiety both in her book "Choose to win: Achieving your goals, fulfilling your dreams", and in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly. O'Neill's fears included standing on the podium after a win, and being chosen to participate in team events.



Kim Basinger is an actress with social anxiety.
Kim Basinger has lived with anxiety. Getty / Hulton Archive

Actress Kim Basinger was so shy and withdrawn as a child that her parents had her tested for autism and other disorders. Basinger has since managed to develop a successful Hollywood career despite battling panic disorder, agoraphobia and social anxiety. The HBO film "Panic: A film about coping" features commentary from Basinger about her struggles with anxiety.


Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight has lived with anxiety during his time with NKOTB.
Jonathan Knight is known for living with SAD. Getty / Laura Cavanaugh

Jonathan Knight is one of the original members of the boy band New Kids on the Block that was popular back in the '80s and has found some revival in recent years. Jon appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about his struggles with panic and social anxiety. The brother of more outgoing Jordan Knight, Jon later revealed himself to be gay. Despite his issues with SAD, Jon continues to perform with the band and is popular with the public.

Celebrities Thrive Despite Social Anxiety

How do celebrities with social anxiety not only survive but thrive in the spotlight? The common thread appears to be receiving help in the form of treatment. If you are living with severe social anxiety that impairs your daily functioning, make a point of reaching our to your doctor—or even a family member. There are effective and brief treatments for SAD that can make a difference in your life.

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