8 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Dyslexic
Several stars have opened up about their struggles with dyslexia.
The public likes to assume that celebrities breeze through life unbothered by daily trials and tribulations. But stars, just like the rest of us, have challenges they must face. Recently singer, actor, and author Jessica Simpson shared her personal struggle with dyslexia for the first time. Simpson joins a list of dyslexic celebrities that have been open about their experience with the learning disability. To see what Simpson had to say about her condition, read on, and for another candid celebrity moment, Stranger Things Star Shares Heartbreaking Video, Deletes Social Media.
On Dec. 2, Simpson posted a celebratory Instagram about the audiobook recording of her memoir Open Book being named one of the best audiobooks of the year by Apple. Back in Feb. 2020, when her memoir was published, Simpson earned acclaim for how open and honest she was about her life and career. The book even became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.
Writing a bestseller is an impressive feat for anyone, but Simpson was excited about the success of the audiobook recording for a much bigger reason. "Fact: I'm dyslexic and this was the first time I have ever read out loud without hesitation. I did it for the listener. I did it for my family. I did it for myself," Simpson wrote on her Instagram post. "Turning my fears into wisdom has been a soulful journey to say the least. I appreciate the power of this praise with all of my heart."
Per the Mayo Clinic, "Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words." This learning disorder can affect how people read, write, speak, and spell.
And Simpson is not the only star with dyslexia. Read on for seven other dyslexic celebrities that have discussed their experiences, and for more celebrities speaking openly about their identity, This Real Housewives Star Just Came Out as a Lesbian.
Actor and podcast host Dax Shepard has been open about many of his struggles, including dyslexia. While Shepard has acknowledged the many challenges that come with a learning disability, he says it's partly why he got into comedy.
Entertainment Tonight reports that during the Television Critics Association press tour in Feb. 2019, Shepard brought up the topic. "Not to bring the room down, but I had dyslexia very bad as a child. I got taken to the special-ed room every day, which was very humiliating," he said. "I thought, 'Well, I'm going to have to get to the joke before you get to the joke. My pride demands it.' And I think that's where this probably comes from." And to find out which star is Shepard's doppelgänger, check out these Pairs of Celebrity Lookalikes Who Could Be Twins.
After some followers had complained about some of this iconic singer's tweets being hard to follow, Cher tweeted, "ITS TRUE IM DYSLEXIC & some of u have a problem following me !I am who i am! Dyslexia is no joke ! If i had Some1 twt 4 me whats the point."
Before becoming a big Hollywood star, Tom Cruise struggled in school. "When I was about seven years old, I had been labeled dyslexic," Cruise told People. "I'd try to concentrate on what I was reading, then I'd get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I'd read. I would go blank, feel anxious, nervous, bored, frustrated, dumb."
Cruise said that many people had diagnosed him with dyslexia, but no one had given him a solution. Eventually, the A-lister managed to overcome his challenges and excel. And for more celebrity content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Award-winning director Steven Spielberg, told Quinn Bradlee that he was diagnosed with dyslexia very late in life, and "it explained a lot of things. It was like the last puzzle part in a tremendous mystery that I've kept to myself all these years."
The director said his classmates teased him because he was two years behind them in reading. However, after winning three Academy Awards, Spielberg is the one laughing now. And for more celebrities who have talked about their differences, here are 7 Celebrities Who Are on the Autism Spectrum.
The Mexican-born actress has been open about her experience with dyslexia throughout her career. According to The Reading Well, Salma Hayek said no one realized she was dyslexic until high school because she was a quick learner.
Hayek says her disability doesn't bother her anymore, and it even helps her retain her lines. "Some people read really fast, but you'll ask them questions about the script and they'll forget. I take a long time to read a script, but I read it only once," Hayek said.
Actor Whoopi Goldberg always knew something was different about the way she learned, but she didn't know she had dyslexia until later in life. Although Goldberg was bullied by her classmates, her mother assured her that she could achieve anything.
U.K.-born actor Keira Knightley says that Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility script helped her overcome her dyslexia. "I'm a huge fan of Emma Thompson. Huge. And my mum, who worked with her mum on Sense and Sensibility, got me a copy of the screenplay Emma had written. It was like my treasured possession," Knightley told GQ in 2012.
"And I was—am?—dyslexic, and all the way she got me over it was to say: 'If Emma Thompson couldn't read, she'd make ******* sure she'd get over it, so you have to start reading because that's what Emma Thompson would do," Knightley recalled. And for more stars who don't love being famous, check out these Major Celebrities Who Actually Hate the Spotlight.