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15 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Autistic

Daryl Hannah attends 'Mostra de Valencia' Film Festival 2011

We need to slowly realize in this country (and all over the world) that the word autism is not a dirty word. It should not be taboo, and should not be judged in any such way. Autism is simply defined as a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. Though there are many different variations of autism and forms of autism, people need to have a wider awareness of it, and awareness of just how many people it affects. What better way to do this on this site than with a list of celebrities who are autistic? Some you may have known about, and a few may surprise you. But overall, we hope you walk away from this realizing that autistic people are no different than you or I. This list also proves it will only hold back those of us who let it. Keep in mind, in some cases here they are diagnosed, and some have diagnosed themselves or been diagnosed by very close loved ones.

(Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images)

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  • ja funmi

    Bob Dylan did not have a fatal motorcycle accident in 1966. A serious motorcycle accident, yes. But not fatal. Sloppy writing.

    • mck

      perhaps they meant fateful? makes no sense.

    • jasonwheeler97

      Maybe like Lazarus, he rose from the dead.

      • TennJD

        Maybe someone else died, so it was fatal.

      • unclesamonmars

        Jerry Garcia rose from the dead. Well, actually, not.

  • Middle of the Road

    I have these same personality traits. Interstingly, I am a Subject Matter Expert in Pharmaceutical Equipment, Operations, and how the drugs work to help people. It is difficult to manage me (or have me manage others), but I am the person that comes in to make a team/process/event better. The funny part is that each of these people needs and thrives on positive feed back, even more so than people without autism. That is what I think is missed by most. Tell me I did a great job when I do so, but do not fake it when I do not.

  • BreAnna Teschendorf

    Too many of the people on this list are self diagnosed or diagnosed by family/friends. The writer has worked with autistic people, it sounds like… So have I. And it can be a very heartbreaking disorder. I do not think of Autism as having a social “stigma” but I feel that this article makes too light of the disorder by making it sound like it is more of a personality quirk than anything else. These are indeed bright shining examples of people with (maybe) Autism, but not at all a reflection of the reality, for people who struggle with this, or have children with this struggle.

    • Buck Farack

      on behalf of my two daughters with severe autism, thank you. These people have no idea…

  • jasonwheeler97

    This article sure shows a lot of speculation by the author. Other than Temple Granden, who does have autism and has been diagnosed as such, most of these other folks are just a guess or self diagnosed. I worked with many children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and after a while, you do start to pick out the traits in folks who have not been diagnosed. However, you can’t just state that someone has it, without an actual diagnostic assessment by qualified medical personnel.

  • Michelle Horning

    It’s irresponsible to claim that these people are autistic, when a majority of them are only suspected to have it. I agree that this is a very sloppy article. This writer needs to study English, and learn that suspicion does not equal fact. Celebrities are people, and this is extremely disrespectful.

  • Mr Creosote

    Not sure I am buying the historical ‘analysis’ for Mozart and Einstein. ONe can expect that super genius types would have social awkwardness… but I don’t think Einstein came up with the theories of relativity nor Mozart’s requiem because they had concentration problems and couldn’t stay on task while composing symphonies.

    I think some of the centuries old post mortem diagnoses of aspergers is the worst kind of tripe.

    • Buck Farack

      if celebrities can self-diagnose then post mortem diagnoses must be valid, right? The one that gets me is Thomas Jefferson. I have a bulletin for those idiots: If you’re fathering multiple children with your slaves (as well as your wife), you don’t have autism.

  • unclesamonmars

    Doesn’t everyone have autism these days?

  • Katie Wood

    This is just such crap. Anyone can say anything and they do. It’s insulting to those who really have aspergers.

  • Buck Farack

    Courtney Love? She’s a drug addled idiot. What a disservice to people with autism to have this ridiculous list of whiners. Asbergers is no longer considered part of the Autism Spectrum and is so subjective in it’s “diagnosis” even pediatricians diagnose it. You need a full neuropsychological eval to be properly diagnosed, not just take the word of some self-absorbed celebrity or their “healer” or PR rep. Everyone has unique personalities and autism has real, measurable behaviors and impairments needed to be properly classified as autism.

  • Kelly Parkman-Morgan

    I worked with adults who had Autism and while I agree that no medical condition should carry with it a social stigma, the idea that these individuals are representative of what autism actually looks like is ridiculous. Autism is incredibly challenging and heart-breaking to deal with. My heart goes out to those who struggle with their autistic child. This article makes it seem like they’re just quirky geniuses.