There's been a lot of talk about autism amongst celebrities lately. Several stars have opened up about the challenges of having to raise a child who is autistic, from Jenny McCarthy to Robert De Niro. But surprisingly, there are many famous people who have the condition too — and despite the pressures of being in the limelight, have managed to control or even hide their symptoms.
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Since autism tends to have antisocial characteristics, like shyness or anxiety in public spaces, many don't expect actors and singers — whose very job is to be outgoing and social — to have it. But many stars who have secretly battled with the disorder have found ways to minimize their ailment to the point where most people don't even know they have it.
Daryl Hannah, for example, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when she was a little girl. Asperger's is a more functioning type of autism that is more common. The 56-year-old Splash and Blade Runner star was a huge name in the '80s and '90s. However, her condition, which caused her to have extreme anxiety whenver she was around crowds of people, made her early years difficult.
“I was tall, stick-thin skinny and kind of goofy looking and not very communicative," she told Women's Weekly in 2015. "Everybody at school picked on me because I was different – I had white hair and a boy’s name. My shyness was probably made worse because of my condition. I’d come home from school and cry myself to sleep."
She became interested in acting not because she wanted to be famous but because she was a huge fan of playing make believe. However, her old habits started to hinder her career as she became more successful.
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"Studio executives would call me but I'd be too shy to call them back," she revealed in 2010. "So after a while a couple of studios literally told my manager that I was blacklisted."
Check out the gallery below to see more stars who have admitted and are rumored to have autism.
The 56-year-old actress has had autism since she was a child, but she only started talking about it recently.
"I never went on talk shows, never went to premieres," she said in 2010. "Going to the Academy Awards was so painful for me. I'd almost faint just walking down the red carpet. I was so socially awkward and uncomfortable that I eventually got blacklisted."
However, these days she taught herself "little tricks" to help her cope.