How the condition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a status symbol

  • OCD can be a devastating psychological condition, causing severe anxiety
  • Many celebrities admit to self-diagnosing the disorder, speaking flippantly
  • Stars that claim to have it include Emily Blunt and Daniel Radcliffe 

Etan Smallman for the Daily Mail



Obsessive compulsive disorder – or OCD – appears to be the trendiest affliction you can claim to have.

The psychological condition can be devastating, causing unpleasant, anxiety-inducing thoughts as well as repetitive behaviours and obsessive habits, such as repeatedly washing your hands or checking that doors and windows are locked.

Celebrities, of course, are not immune to mental health problems and some genuinely suffer from the disorder – but many others admit to ‘self-diagnosing’ and speak of this distressing affliction so flippantly that it sounds as if they’re simply talking about the latest fad diet.

Cameron Diaz claims to have the condition, saying that she can't touch doorknobs for fear of germs

Cameron Diaz claims to have the condition, saying that she can’t touch doorknobs for fear of germs

Daily Mail psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton has written of his frustration at those who trivialise the condition by claiming to suffer from it in an apparent attempt to seem more interesting and quirky.

Here are a just few of the stars who are said to be obsessive and compulsive about everything from car radios to painting their nails.

You will sympathise with some of the celebrity sufferers – but not, perhaps, with others.


Washing his sports car

The GBBO judge says that sometimes he washes his Aston Martin every couple of hours, to keep it clean

The GBBO judge says that sometimes he washes his Aston Martin every couple of hours, to keep it clean

Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood came clean last month that he sometimes washes his Aston Martin every couple of hours.

‘I wonder if I love it a little too much,’ he said. ‘You look for little nicks and if I see one my heart misses a beat. [The nick] is just sitting there winding me up – it’s ruining the car. It is OCD. I’m obsessed with my Aston.’


Dirty door handles

Ever tried opening a door with your elbow? For A-list actress Cameron, there was once no other way of leaving a room.

The 43-year-old says she had such an obsessive fear of germs that she couldn’t touch doorknobs for fear of catching something, so had to resort to this somewhat unusual way of opening a door.

She also claimed to have cleaned the door handles in her Los Angeles home so often that their original paint had faded, and washed her hands ‘many times’ each day.

She claims to have enjoyed a remarkable recovery. ‘I think I’ve made my peace with it,’ she says.


Counting her blinks

The star of Absolutely Fabulous and Little Voice used to spend hours consciously swallowing and counting how many times she blinked. But she has said that motherhood banished the symptoms:

‘You don’t have time to be obsessed when you have a child. I also wrote a screenplay about the problem, which helped get rid of some of the angst.’

Her former RADA pal John Gordon Sinclair once said of Horrocks: ‘I think she must have a mild form of OCD, as she’s an obsessive cleaner. Whenever I’d go to her dressing-room, everything had to be in the same place – so I used to love going there and moving things around to wind her up.

‘I often caught her in there with her yellow Marigolds on and a bottle of bleach in her hand.’


Chaotic cabinets

Oscar-winner Charlize has said: ‘I actually have a serious problem – obsessive compulsive disorder. I don’t do counting or anything like that. I’m good with chaos, I just don’t like it when chaos is hidden.

‘So I have a problem with cabinets being messy and people just shoving things in cabinets and closing the door. I will lie in bed and not be able to sleep because I’ll be worrying: ‘I think I saw something in that cabinet that just shouldn’t be there.’ ‘


Neat freak

Baroness Mone has claimed that OCD is useful to have as the organisation it bring helps you get ahead

Baroness Mone has claimed that OCD is useful to have as the organisation it bring helps you get ahead

Bra tycoon Baroness Mone controversially claimed in a TV interview last month that OCD ‘helped her get ahead’.

She said: ‘It can prove really useful in business because it makes you really organised.

‘I’ve always said that if your drawers are organised, then your life will be, too. So I love having OCD.

‘If you go into my wardrobe, all my white shirts are together, the black shirts are together. And all the shoes are co-ordinating.’


Clucking at lamp-posts

The Devil Wears Prada star is worried that she might have the psychological condition.

‘It’s very weird,’ says Emily. ‘It’s only happened in the past year. I’ve started getting very superstitious and fixating on things. I used to do it as a small child. I would get these obsessive moments where I’d be in the car with my dad or something and every time we went past a lamp-post I’d [make six clucking noises with my tongue].

‘I’m afraid that it’s really becoming an issue.’


Symmetrical coke cans

David Beckham claims that all the Pepsi cans in his fridge must always be in a straight line before he can relax

David Beckham claims that all the Pepsi cans in his fridge must always be in a straight line before he can relax

Becks claimed in a TV interview to be a sufferer.

‘I’ve got this obsessive compulsive disorder where I need to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs,’ he said.

‘I’ll put my Pepsi cans in the fridge and if there’s one too many then I’ll put it in another cupboard somewhere. I’ll go into a hotel room and before I can relax, I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them in a drawer. Everything has to be perfect.’

His wife Victoria added: ‘He’s got that obsessive compulsive thing where everything has to match. If you open our fridge, it’s all co-ordinated down either side. We’ve got three fridges – food in one, salad in another and drinks in the third.

‘In the drinks one, everything is symmetrical. If there’s three cans, he’ll throw one away because it has to be an even number.’


Lucky walking

Julianne Moore says that she used to have to walk at a certain pace so she'd be certain to hit every green light

Julianne Moore says that she used to have to walk at a certain pace so she’d be certain to hit every green light

Hollywood actress Julianne has said she used to do the ‘lucky walk’, leaving her house at a certain time, at a certain pace, so there would be green traffic lights at pedestrian crossings rather than red.

‘Those are the indulgences you can have before you have children. Now I don’t have time to obsess.

‘All that stuff about ‘I need to go this certain way and do that’ was an indulgence of my youth.’


Five ball bounces

Tennis star Serena ties her shoelaces a specific way and bounces the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second.

‘I have a slight case of OCD. It’s definitely self-diagnosed. I think it’s good to have it,’ she said.

‘I’m obsessed with my nails, too. I have to do them every day.’


Stepping on each crack

Screen star Leonardo has said he remembers as a child ‘stepping on cracks on the way to school and having to walk back a block and step on that same crack or that gum stain’. He added: ‘Let’s just say it took me a while to get to a film set, having to step on tons of things.’

katy perry: Pets keep away

Pop star Katy – the former wife of comedian Russell Brand – says she has an ‘OCD side’ that is revealed whenever she’s on tour.

‘If there’s broken make-up in my bag I freak out,’ she said.

‘Also, if I am around household pets and some of their fur comes off on my cardigan, then I can get pretty sharp.

‘But my worst one is if I see a pair of sunglasses with fingerprints on them. Truly, I cannot stand it. I can’t breathe! Wipe them clean! Agghhh!’


Whispered words

Daniel Radcliffe has lived with OCD since he was five, and was referred to a therapist to help manage it

Daniel Radcliffe has lived with OCD since he was five, and was referred to a therapist to help manage it

Harry Potter actor Daniel opened up about his experience of OCD in 2012, saying he had lived with the condition since the age of five. ‘I had to repeat every sentence I said under my breath.’

He said he was referred to a therapist and his condition is under control, adding: ‘I haven’t had it this year so far and I’m missing it.’


Don’t use my loo

According to Hollywood gossip websites, former Friends star Jennifer can ‘become nearly obsessed with cleanliness’, driving everyone around her up the wall.

‘When friends come to her house, Jen insists they use a loo that’s reserved for guests only. Jen never uses that toilet,’ it was reported.

‘She carries hand sanitiser in her bag so she can do the ‘wipe-down’. In public, she’s constantly wiping grocery trollies, hand rails, lift buttons, doorknobs and anything else she comes in contact with.’


Licks his mobile phone

Talk show host Jeremy told the Manchester Evening News how ‘ordered’ his life was:

‘I get up and mop the kitchen floor at 2am. I lick my mobile phone to make sure it’s clean – yes, I know it’s disgusting.

‘I did lick golf balls, too, until someone told me a guy in America who did that died because of the pesticides.’


Never touch a teacher

Presidential candidate and comb-over king Donald Trump, 69, claims to have ‘borderline’ OCD.

He calls shaking hands ‘one of the curses of American society’ and says: ‘I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible.’

It is also said that he refuses to touch the ‘G’ (for ‘ground floor’) button in lifts because too many other people touch it, leaving it infested with germs.

He also believes that teachers are particularly bug-ridden people, and once said: ‘I’m going to do everything in my power not to shake hands with teachers.

‘They have 17,000 germs per square inch on their desks. That’s ten times the germ rate of other professions.’


Morbid fear of forks

Public toilets and restaurant cutlery are just two of actress and model Megan’s nemeses.

The 29-year-old American says she has OCD and has an obsessive fear of using forks and knives while eating out.

‘Putting my mouth where a million other mouths have been, just knowing all the bacteria that you carry in your mouth? Yuk!’

She added that she will not use toilets without a lid on the seat. ‘Every time someone uses a bathroom and they flush, all the bacteria is shot into the air.’


Volume controlling

England cricket captain Alastair Cook ‘has to have the volume of his car stereo on an even number’, according to a new book, Who Wants To Be A Batsman?, by Simon Hughes.


Combing his hair

In 2009, a biographer diagnosed the author Charles Dickens with OCD, 139 years after his death.

Dickens touched objects three times ‘for luck’ and combed his hair hundreds of times each day.

He would rearrange furniture whenever he stayed in a hotel room, and inspected his children’s bedrooms every morning, leaving behind notes when he was unhappy with their level of tidiness.

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