List of people with bipolar disorder
This is a list of people, living or dead, accompanied by verifiable source citations associating them with bipolar disorder (formerly known as "manic depression"), either based on their own public statements, or (in the case of dead people only) reported contemporary or posthumous diagnoses of bipolar disorder.
Regarding posthumous diagnoses: many famous people are believed to have been affected by bipolar disorder. Most of these listed have been diagnosed based on evidence in their own writings and contemporaneous accounts by those who knew them. It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar disorder) are linked; the connection was widely publicized by Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire, although many of the diagnoses in the book are made by Jamison herself. Also, persons prior to the 20th century may have incomplete or speculative diagnoses of bipolar disorder (e.g. Vincent van Gogh.)
- Sherman Alexie, Native American poet, writer, and filmmaker
- Rigoberto Alpizar, fatally shot by United States federal air marshals after exclaiming that he had a bomb on board a plane.
- Sophie Anderton, British model.
- Michael Angelakos, American musician.
- Adam Ant, British musician.
- Emilie Autumn, American musician.
- Maria Bamford, American comedian.
- Andy Behrman, author of the book Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania.
- Max Bemis, frontman of the band Say Anything, spoke about his diagnosis in an interview with Spin magazine in 2006.
- Maurice Benard, actor. He has discussed his diagnosis with Oprah Winfrey, and has since become active in promoting bipolar awareness.
- Mary Kay Bergman, voice actress
- Ludwig Boltzmann, physicist and mathematician. He "suffered from an alternation of depressed moods with elevated, expansive or irritable moods."
- Adrian Borland, British musician.
- Russell Brand, comedian and actor. "In a low-key admission at the end of the book, he says he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder – manic depression – after he kicked the drugs for good in 2002 which goes some way to explaining his almost superhuman indifference to the chaos and catastrophe that almost lead [sic] him to obscurity."
- Andrea Breth, German stage-director.
- Jeremy Brett, actor.
- Katherine Brooks, director/writer/filmmaker. "I don’t believe Bipolar holds me back as a person or a filmmaker. I actually believe it makes everything I do have more meaning, passion, and purpose. I’m thankful to be this way … thankful to be born Bipolar."
- Brotha Lynch Hung, American rapper. He has discussed his diagnosis in various songs and interviews.
- Chris Brown, pop and R&B singer. Diagnosis was revealed through court documents.
- Frank Bruno, boxer; was hospitalized for a short period and as of 2005[update] is on lithium.
- Barney Bubbles, graphic designer.
- George Gordon, Lord Byron, English poet, writer, and adventurer.
- Alastair Campbell, press advisor.
- Georg Cantor, mathematician. Cantor's recurring bouts of depression from 1884 to the end of his life were once blamed on the hostile attitude of many of his contemporaries, but these bouts can now be seen as probable manifestations of bipolar disorder.
- Quincy Carter, American football player.
- Dick Cavett, television journalist. "CAVETT: Both in hypomanic, which I have had, and incidentally, one has to admit many patients say I am cured now, I am fine. But I must say I miss those hypomanic states. They are better off where they are."
- Eason Chan, Chinese popular music singer.
- Iris Chang, historian and journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
- John Clare, poet.
- Kurt Cobain, musician. His cousin, Beverly Cobain, a "registered nurse (…) [with] experience as a mental health professional" and author of a book, When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens ISBN 1-57542-036-8, stated in an interview: "Kurt was diagnosed at a young age with Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD], then later with bipolar disorder; (…) As Kurt undoubtedly knew, bipolar illness can be very difficult to manage, and the correct diagnosis is crucial. Unfortunately for Kurt, compliance with the appropriate treatment is also a critical factor."
- Neil Cole, former Australian Labor party politician. "Associate Professor Cole was the first politician in Australia or overseas to admit to having a mental illness, namely bipolar mood disorder."
- Rosemary Clooney, singer and actress.
- Patricia Cornwell, American crime writer.
- Robert S. Corrington, theologist. In his book Riding the Windhorse: Manic-Depressive Disorder and the Quest for Wholeness he gives a personal account of his own struggles with the condition.
- Michael Costa, former Australian Labor party politician and Treasurer of NSW. "Mr Costa said a number of state parliamentary colleagues approached him about their mental health problems after he publicly revealed his battle with bipolar disorder in 2001."
- Vincent Crane, keyboard player of Atomic Rooster.
- Disco D, record producer and composer. On returning to the United States from his 2005 Australian trek, Shayman went public about his struggle with bipolar disorder.
- DMX (rapper), has spoken openly about his manic depression.
- Mike Doughty, musician. First described himself diagnosed as bipolar in 2007 on his blog.
- Charmaine Dragun, former Australian journalist/newsreader. Misdiagnosed with depression. Inquest concluded she had bipolar II disorder.
- Richard Dreyfuss, actor, BBC Documentary.
- Patty Duke, actress.
- Edward Elgar, an English composer, many of whose works such as the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches have achieved enduring popularity.
- Florbela Espanca, Portuguese poet.
- Carrie Fisher, actress and writer.
- Tom Fletcher, English singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist of McFly. admitted to suffering from bipolar disorder. He has also described his struggles with his weight and obsessive dieting.
- Ellen Forney, comics artist and creator of Marbles: Madness, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
- Larry Flynt, publisher and the president of Larry Flynt Publications (LFP).
- Connie Francis, singer.
- Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and writer. Fry was the center of the Emmy Award-winning documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive in which he openly shares his experiences of living with the disorder and interviews a number of celebrities who suffer from it as well.
- Mary Kay Fualaau, American schoolteacher who had sexual intercourse with a 13 year old student.
- Justin Furstenfeld, Lead singer of the band Blue October.
- Alan Garner, novelist. According to the Guardian, "In The Voice that Thunders (Harvill), a collection of critical and autobiographical essays, Garner casts light on his writing and thinking, and the role that manic depression plays in his creativity".
- Paul Gascoigne, English footballer. "His second book, released this year, centres on his therapy - for alcoholism, eating disorders, OCD, and bipolar disorder, among others."
- Mel Gibson, actor and director.
- Matthew Good, Canadian musician. He first disclosed his illness in a personal blog. It was during the writing and recording of Hospital Music that he suffered one of his worst episodes.
- Philip Graham, publisher and businessman. "It had finally penetrated to me that Phil's diagnosis was manic-depression…" Katharine Graham (1997), Personal History, p. 328; Knopf, 1997, ISBN 0-394-58585-2 (book has numerous other references).
- Macy Gray, musician and actor. As documented in an interview with Saul Williams.
- Graham Greene, English novelist. Extract from Graham Greene: A Life in Letters: "Greene was managing the impulses of bipolar illness, involving mood swings from elation, expansiveness or irritability to despair and would quickly be guilty of repeated infidelities."
- Ivor Gurney, English composer and poet.
- Beth Hart, Singer, songwriter, musician, painter.
- Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials.
- Linda Hamilton, actress. Star of the Terminator movies. Was diagnosed at the age of 40.
- Robert Hansen, serial killer.
- Mariette Hartley, American actress, has publicly spoken about her bipolar disorder.
- Jonathan Hay, Australian rules footballer
- Ernest Hemingway, writer
- Kristin Hersh, musician, of rock band Throwing Muses, has spoken about her bipolar disorder.
- Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party
- Abbie Hoffman, political activist: "Abbie was diagnosed in 1980 as having bipolar disorder, more commonly known as manic depression."
- Marya Hornbacher, writer. Hornbacher wrote Madness, a memoir of her struggle with bipolar disorder, after writing Wasted, which detailed her eating disorder.
- Jesse Jackson, Jr., American politician and son of civil rights pioneer.
- Daniel Johnston, musician: "Johnston's output in his late teens and early 20s proved to be a symptom of his worsening manic depression." The Guardian Unlimited, Saturday August 20, 2005: "Personal demons", review of film, The Devil and Daniel Johnston:
- Andrew Johns, Australian rugby league player. Publicly announced his condition following retirement.
- Lee Joon, Korean actor and musician
- Krizz Kaliko, American hip hop musician.
- Chris Kanyon American professional wrestler.
- Kerry Katona, English television presenter, writer, magazine columnist and former pop singer with girl band Atomic Kitten. BBC.
- Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy has been open about mental health issues, including being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
- Otto Klemperer, conductor.
- Margot Kidder, actress — self-described.
- Patrick Kroupa, writer and hacker, has been very open about his drug use and mental health issues, after his last heroin detox in 1999. He mentions bipolar disorder openly in several interviews.
- Kerli Kõiv, better known mononymously as Kerli, Estonian recording artist and songwriter.
- Mary Lambert, American actress, singer and writer, revealed that she had the illness in an interview with shewired.com and in her song that was released in 2014, Secrets.
- Albert Lasker displayed the symptoms of Bipolar II according to the book "The Man Who Sold America."
- Vivien Leigh, actress, most famous for her role as Scarlett O'Hara in David O. Selznick's movie "Gone With The Wind".
- Bill Lichtenstein, print and broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker, profiled in Time magazine, October 10, 1994.
- Demi Lovato, American actress, singer and writer, revealed her illness in April 2011 in an interview with People magazine.
- Tina Malone, British television actress, writer, director and producer. Brookside Shameless diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder in 1998.
- Arthur McIntyre, Australian artist.
- Kristy McNichol, actress. The former child star and teen idol left the show Empty Nest due to her battle with the depression. McNichol later returned to the show for a few episodes during the series' last season.
- Jessica Marais, South African-Australian actress. She has stated that she has suffered bipolar episodes since she was 12 years old, suggesting that they have been caused by the death of her father from a heart attack.
- Burgess Meredith, actor; with cyclothymia.
- Spike Milligan, comedian.
- Ben Moody, musician. The former guitarist from Evanescence.
- Seaneen Molloy, Northern Irish blogger.
- Marilyn Monroe, American actress.
- Petr Muk, Czech singer.
- John A. Mulheren, American financier, stock and option trader and philanthropist.
- Edvard Munch, artist.
- Robert Munsch, author.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher.
- Florence Nightingale, nurse and health campaigner. BPW "Florence heard voices and experienced a number of severe depressive episodes in her teens and early 20s - symptoms consistent with the onset of bipolar disorder", Dr. Kathy Wisner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
- Kim Novak, actress: During an interview with Robert Osborne for TCM in 2012 she stated that she wasn't diagnosed until late in her life.
- Sinéad O'Connor, musician. She discussed her diagnosis in a Guardian interview in 2010.
- Graeme Obree, Scottish racing cyclist. World hour record 1993. Individual pursuit world champion in 1993 and 1995. Cited in 2003 autobiography, Flying Scotsman: Cycling to Triumph Through My Darkest Hours and 2006 film.
- Phil Ochs, musician.
- Bill Oddie, naturalist, comedian and television presenter.
- Craig Owens, singer for American bands Chiodos, and Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows.
- Nicola Pagett, actor. Wrote about her bipolar disorder in her autobiography Diamonds Behind My Eyes ISBN 0-575-60267-8
- Jaco Pastorius, jazz musician. "Jaco was diagnosed with this clinical bipolar condition in the fall of 1982. The events which led up to it were considered "uncontrolled and reckless" incidences."
- Jane Pauley, TV presenter and journalist. The former Today and Dateline host describes being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her autobiography "Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue", which she wrote in 2004, as well as on her short-lived talk show.
- Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, American basketball player 
- Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet.
- Edgar Allan Poe, poet and writer, may have experienced bipolar disorder.
- Jackson Pollock, American artist.
- Odean Pope, American jazz musician.
- Gail Porter, British TV presenter.
- Emil Post, mathematician.
- Charley Pride, country music artist. (autobiography) Pride: The Charley Pride Story. Publisher: Quill (May 1995). "Pride discusses business ventures that succeeded and those that failed, as well as his bouts with manic depression. He tells his story with no bitterness but lots of homespun advice and humor."
- Gabriele Rabel, botanist, physicist
- Rene Rivkin, entrepreneur.
- Barret Robbins, former NFL Pro Bowler.
- Axl Rose, lead singer and frontman best known for Guns N' Roses. "I went to a clinic, thinking it would help my moods. The only thing I did was take one 500-question test - ya know, filling in the little black dots. All of sudden I'm diagnosed manic-depressive."
- Richard Rossi, filmmaker, musician, and maverick minister, revealed for the first time in a live interview on the Lynn Cullen show on June 5, 2008 the link between his artistic productivity and his depression to bipolar disorder, stating that "my father was bi-polar one, and I'm bi-polar two." He spoke of the relationship between creativity and the illness.
- John Ruskin, the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist
- Rene Russo, American actress, producer, and former model
- Robert Schumann, German composer
- Nina Simone, American singer. Interview with her daughter Simone, The Sunday Times June 24, 2007
- Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor. "Being an 18-karat manic depressive, and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an over-acute capacity for sadness as well as elation."
- Michael Slater, International Australian cricketer, forced to retire because of related symptoms.
- Tony Slattery, actor and comedian. "I rented a huge warehouse by the river Thames. I just stayed in there on my own, didn't open the mail or answer the phone for months and months and months. I was just in a pool of despair and mania." BBC Documentary
- Sidney Sheldon, producer, writer; wrote about being a victim of bipolar disorder in his autobiography The Other Side of Me.
- Tim Smith, rugby league player whose career with NRL side Parramatta Eels was ended due to his bipolar condition, and pressure from the media.
- Charlene Soraia, British singer-songwriter, musician has cyclothymia.
- Britney Spears, American singer-songwriter
- Alonzo Spellman, American football player
- Dusty Springfield, English pop singer
- Peter Steele, frontman, Type O Negative.
- David Strickland, Actor, Suddenly Susan.
- Poly Styrene (real name Marion Elliot-Said), singer.
- Stuart Sutherland, British psychologist and writer
- Mackenzie Taylor, British comedian.
- Michael Thalbourne, Australian psychologist and parapsychologist.
- Steven Thomas, American entrepreneur.
- Gene Tierney, Academy Award nominated actress, Best Actress (1945).
- Devin Townsend, musician, Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Band. He took himself off of his medication to write lyrics for Strapping Young Lad's album Alien.
- Nick Traina, singer, "in the last year of his life, he began telling people he was manic-depressive."
- Timothy Treadwell, American environmentalist and bear enthusiast, featured in the 2005 documentary film by Werner Herzog titled Grizzly Man.
- Margaret Trudeau, Canadian celebrity and ex-wife of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau (deceased). She now travels Canada and other countries speaking out against the stigmas on mental illness.
- Ted Turner, American media businessman. Founder of CNN.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor.
- Vincent van Gogh, artist. (among numerous other hypotheses)
- Townes Van Zandt, singer-songwriter.
- Eric Victorino, vocalist of The Limousines, author.
- Mark Vonnegut, author.
- James Wade, darts player.
- David Walliams, actor/comedian/author/charity fundraiser.
- Tom G Warrior- Lead singer/guitarist of heavy metal bands Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun and Triptykon
- Ruby Wax, comedian.
- Scott Weiland, musician. (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver)
- Pete Wentz, musician. Fall Out Boy
- Delonte West, American basketball player
- Mark Whitacre, business executive described in the true story movie, The Informant.
- Robin Williams, actor and comedian.
- Brian Wilson, musician, founding member of The Beach Boys.
- Amy Winehouse, musician
- Virginia Woolf, writer.
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He suffered from an alternation of depressed moods with elevated, expansive or irritable moods.
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- 'Nik Turner had remained close to Barney up to his death, and was "heartbroken" when it happened. He had been the only member of Hawkwind to witness at first hand the terrifying transformation dealt by Barney's manic depression.'Carol Clerk. Saga of Hawkwind, p.269. Omnibus Press, 2004 ISBN 1-84449-101-3.
- "Barney had recently returned from Australia and was extremely depressed about the right and condition of the indigenous Aboriginal population. He also had a fixation about the Cold War, but his manic depressive state had really been fueled over the previous three years by the death of his father and mother, from which he never recovered." Ian Abrahams. Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins, p. 150. SAF Publishing Ltd, 2004, ISBN 0-946719-69-1
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Six years ago, Hall was diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder ... It took four years to find the right medication, ... The results have been spectacular, he says. “For two years, I’ve been really good — no weirdness, no darkness — and that’s great. I can operate now.”
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I had no time to rest during that period. I knew that I had to study, but I couldn’t. I have a severe bipolar disorder, and people only saw what was broadcast on TV. They don’t see the effort behind the screen, such as the late-night rehearsals. No matter how hard I tried, my body just couldn’t keep up with me, so it was very upsetting.
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I have been well and free of the symptoms that are called manic-depression for almost five years, and have been working steadily and leading a happy and productive life since then.
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At these moments Vivien turned into a stranger, whom he was seemingly incapable of helping. It was the beginning of a long and tortured series of such attacks, to be diagnosed some years later as manic depression.
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Actress Jenifer Lewis, who appeared in Tyler Perry's film Madea's Family Reunion, recently revealed that she is bipolar and says she is finally ready to talk about it. "After years of therapy and after years of medication, I feel experienced enough now to come out and say bipolar disorder is treatable and you can get help and you don't have to live such a tortured existence," she says.
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