Catherine Zeta-Jones And 5 Other Celebrities With Bipolar Disorder

Date November 27, 2017

What is bipolar disorder and who has it?

Bipolar disorder (formerly known as ‘manic depression’) is characterized by dramatic shifts in mood and energy levels. It’s estimated that about 2.5% of American adults are affected by the condition.

Bipolar disorder is notoriously difficult to diagnose and is often left untreated because many people with the condition don’t seek medical help. The video below will give you the information about its most common sympthoms and signs.

A disproportionate number of artists have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Famous bipolar people who already passed include Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Carrie Fisher. Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, and Vincent van Gogh are among those who have been diagnosed retrospectively based on the accounts of their contemporaries. The list of currently living artists with bipolar disorder includes dozens of people who are admired by many.

Here are some famous people who spoke publicly about their diagnosis:

Stephen Fry


British actor and comedian Stephen Fry has experienced mood swings since childhood and was even expelled from school at age 15. He was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 37. Fry was relieved to finally find out what was wrong with him. He said:

I'd never heard the word before, but for the first time I had a diagnosis that explains the massive highs and miserable lows I've lived with all my life.

In the documentary titled “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive”, Fry spoke about his own experience with bipolar disorder and interviewed other people with the condition, including Carrie Fisher.

Catherine Zeta-Jones


Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar-winning actress and wife of Michael Douglas, was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2011. This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by longer episodes of depression and hypomania (milder episodes of mania).

The actress told People magazine:

If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.

Russell Brand


Russell Brand, a famous stand-up comedian and the ex-husband of Katy Perry, received the diagnosis at a young age. Brand is known for public antics and controversial remarks. He has also struggled with drug addiction and described his experience in the book titled “Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions”.

Carrie Fisher


Sadly, Carrie Fisher is no longer with us, but people in the bipolar community will remember her efforts to educate the public about the disorder. Known to the world as Princess Leia, Fisher learned she was bipolar at the age of 24. Up until her passing, she remained outspoken about her condition. Here’s what Fisher wrote in her advice column for The Guardian in response to a question how she manages to feel at peace with her condition:

We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic – not “I survived living in Mosul during an attack” heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder. That’s why it’s important to find a community – however small – of other bipolar people to share experiences and find comfort in the similarities.

Mel Gibson


One of the lesser-known facts about the actor is that he is bipolar. In a 2008 documentary, Gibson revealed he has bipolar disorder:

I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I'm manic depressive.

The actor is rather reticent about his condition.

Jean-Claude Van Damme


In 2011, action-movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme opened up about his bipolar disorder on the British reality TV show Behind Closed Doors. The actor said:

Sometimes you’re gonna like me, and sometimes you’re gonna hate me. But what can I do? I’m not perfect.

He added:

I’m an extreme bipolar, and I’m taking medication for this…When I was young, I was suffering those swing moods. In the morning, the sky was blue [when I was] going to school, and to me, the sky was black. I was so sad.

Bipolar disorder: a curse or a blessing?

Manic episodes of bipolar disorders are no fun. To say that there’s a bright side of mania may be offensive to many people living with the condition. But many artists find that the “highs” of bipolar disorder are times when their creativity flows. Who knows, maybe some of the awe-inspiring masterpieces would have never been created, if it wasn’t for their authors' bipolarity.

Source: Health, WebMD, EverydayHealth

READ ALSO: Dysthymia: It’s Not A Fault In Character But A Legitimate Mental Illness

This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.

Celebrities Catherine Zeta-Jones