15 Celebrities Who Struggled With Learning Difficulties In School

Celebs January 18, 2018 By Hugo

Most people presume celebrities are perfect and that they must have graduated high school with flying colours, but that assumption isn't always true. 

Shutterstock/ Andrea Raffin

Beleive it or not, numerous stars blossomed much later in life, and more than you think suffered from a learning disability. To prove this, we've featured 15 A-listers who struggled in school due to learning difficulties. 

1. Channing Tatum

Most people look at Channing Tatum and wonder if he is God's gift to women, such is his good looks and remarkable talent as both an actor and dancer, but his clear-to-see confidence wasn't always apparent.

Shutterstock/ Denis Makarenko

While going to school in Tampa, Florida, Tatum admitted in an interview with T-The New York Times Style Magazine, that his ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and dyslexia meant he was often "lumped" in classes with those suffering from autism and downs syndrome. 

"I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons," the actor admitted. "Not having early success on that one path messes with you.' However, Tatum has gone on to become one of the world's highest-paid actors and proved that you don't always need to be academically gifted to succeed in life.

2. Daniel Radcliffe

The Harry Potter star has lived with a mild case of dyspraxia his whole life. Not to be confused with dyslexia, the mild neurological disorder impacts on your motor development, making everyday tasks like tieing your shoelaces tricky.

Shutterstock/ Twocoms

Speaking about growing up with the condition, the world-famous actor, joked, "I sometimes think, Why, oh why, has Velcro not taken off?"

3. Cameron Diaz

The blonde beauty and star of many great films has been open about her struggles with OCD, a condition which sees sufferers find faults and discomfort in the most minor of things.

Shutterstock/ Tinseltown

In Diaz's case, her OCD sees her take on an intense fear of germs, causing her to wash her hands vigorously each day and also clean her house on a daily basis.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio

Following on from Cameron Diaz is fellow actor and OCD sufferer Leonardo DiCaprio. The star has suffered from the condition since childhood and admitted that just walking to school was a problem.

Shutterstock/ Kathy Hutchins

"I remember as a child, stepping on cracks on the way to school and having to walk back a block and step on that same crack," he told About.com. Years later, DiCaprio would go on to portray the iconic visionary Howard Hughes, himself a sufferer from OCD, in the Martin Scorcese bio, The Aviator.

5. Keira Knightley

Often considered one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, the Atonement star might sound well-spoken, but don't let her tone of voice fool you: Keira was far from a know-it-all as a child.

YouTube/ Featureflash Photo Agency

While incredibly confident (she famously asked her parents for an agent at 5-years-old), Knightley struggled with her studies due to her dyslexia, and even to this day, struggles to read scripts.

6. Robin Williams

The late actor and funnyman gave joy to millions with his high-octane energy, though many have attributed his dynamic behaviour to his ADHD condition.

Shutterstock/ Tinseltown

Perhaps a partial side-effect, Williams was certainly one that did things differently to the rest, but that didn't seem to stop him graduating from drama school in New York and leading a successful career in Hollywood.

7. Tom Cruise

One of the most famous actors of his time has had quite the life ever since he burst onto the scene a fresh-faced teenager in the movie, Risky Business, but his childhood wasn't easy.


Often moving around the country, Cruise never truly made friends in the schools he attended, and also found it hard to adjust to his studies due to his dyslexia. "My childhood was extremely lonely," he recalled." I was dyslexic and lots of kids made fun of me. The experience made me tough inside because you quietly learn to accept ridicule." 

8. Vince Vaughn

Just like Channing Tatum, Vince Vaughn has also suffered from two learning disabilities, those having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder- not to be confused with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and dyslexia.

Shutterstock/ Andrea Raffin

While school was no doubt hard for the Hollywood star, Vaughn admitted his struggles made him a stronger person. "When you have these setbacks, you develop a really good work ethic, because you have to try harder," he said.

9. Bella Thorne

Another star who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child was Bella Throne, who admitted that it didn't help her progress the way her peers did.

Shutterstock/ Kathy Hutchins

However, a determined Thorne now reads as much as she can to help herself deal with the learning disorder.

10. Jim Carrey

It should come as no surprise that the high-wired megastar actor Jim Carrey suffers from a severe case of ADHD. Noted for his outlandish performances, Carrey's platform as a comedic actor has no doubt helped him channel his energy into something creative.

Shutterstock/ Andrea Raffin

In school, however, Carrey, who was a self-confessed class clown, and found school a problematic place to concentrate. In fact, he would often finish his assignments early and then distract the other children, which certainly got the star in a lot of trouble. 

11. Orlando Bloom

Pretty boy actor Orlando Bloom has had his fair share of criticism over the years for his sub-par acting performances, but that's nothing compared to how he felt as a student struggling with dyslexia.

Shutterstock/ Featureflash Photo Agency

Talking about the learning disability he candidly confessed, "It makes you feel stupid."

12. Whoopi Goldberg

After being diagnosed with dyslexia, Whoopi Goldberg was often labeled "dumb" at school, naturally causing Goldberg to grow up with little self-confidence. However, it was the sage counsel of her mother that helped her through such a difficult time.

Shutterstock/ Ovidiu Hrubaru

“I knew I wasn’t stupid, and I knew I wasn’t dumb. My mother told me that,” she said. Thanks to her mother's support and her natural talents as a performer, Goldberg would go on to enjoy a stellar career in show business and is 1 of only 10 artists to win both an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony. 

13. Steven Spielberg

The esteemed auteur has directed countless films in his career, including the iconic movies Jaws, E.T. and Schindler's List, but even geniuses like Spielberg struggled at school.

Shutterstock/ Denis Makarenko

The star wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 60, but he admitted that his time at school was fraught with difficulties, primarily because his reading ability was 2 years behind that of his classmates. 

At one stage, he was bullied so much he dreaded going to school. Yet Spielberg has been keen to stress that no learning difficulty should stop you from pursuing your dreams. "You are not alone, and while you will have dyslexia for the rest of your life, you can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go. It will not hold you back.”

14. Keanu Reeves 

Keanu Reeves has had a turbulent life, both in childhood and adulthood, and he admits that his own unruliness plagued his time at school due to his dyslexia.

Shutterstock/ lev radin

In a revealing interview with Handbag Magazine, Reeves said, “Because I had trouble reading, I wasn’t a good student … I didn’t finish high school. I did a lot of pretending as a child. It was my way of coping with the fact that I didn’t really feel like I fit in.”

15. Richard Branson

British billionaire Richard Branson is one of the world's most famous entrepreneurs having founded his $8n Virgin business from scratch. However, Branson's business endeavours were spawned from an innate business acumen rather than any academic prowess due to his lifelong struggle with dyslexia.


That said, the celebrity businessman has described the learning difficulty as his "greatest strength" despite his teachers calling him "lazy" and "not very clever."

© 2017 OMGLane.com