Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder, and like most anxiety disorders, it is far more common that we realize. Agoraphobia is an extreme and completely irrational fear of crowded places and enclosed public spaces, so if you are one of many famous people with agoraphobia, understandably the disorder can be difficult to deal with and, if left untreated, potentially career suicide.
When you live your life in the public eye, it can often be difficult to cope with the constant attention from the press, media and general public. Everything you do is cause for worldwide revelations and you are constantly expected to make public appearances to appease your fans. So it is hardly surprising that many celebrities cave in under the pressure and develop anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia.
Although there are many famous people with agoraphobia, the majority of them keep their problems under wraps in order to keep their professional reputation unblemished. Celebrities value their privacy more than the average person, which is why a famous person with an anxiety disorder such as agoraphobia is even less inclined than Joe Average to publicize the fact they have problems. They probably believe the admission will negatively affect their career as well as leave them open to ridicule.
However, there are a few examples of famous people with agoraphobia who have come clean about their issues, either because it was difficult to deny it, or because they wanted to help others cope with the anxiety disorder.
Woody Allen is unfortunate enough to suffer from agoraphobia and claustrophobia. As a result, he has spent many years undergoing psychoanalysis in an attempt to cure his problems.
The Osmond family have all had problems with different anxiety disorders, including agoraphobia, social anxiety, and depression, which serves to illustrate how anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia can often run in families. Donny in particular had enormous problems as a result of his anxiety disorders.
Actress, Kim Basinger, is one of the few famous people with agoraphobia who have been fairly open about their condition. She described how she would stay at home, often crying uncontrollably, for long periods of time, unable to understand why she was feeling that way. “When I came to Hollywood, I could wear a bikini, but I was in misery because people were looking at me. So I wore baggy clothes and watched other girls get the big parts and awards. I used to go home and play piano and scream at night to let out my frustrations. And this led to my agoraphobia.”
Singer and actress, Barbara Streisand, suffered from social phobia for many years after forgetting the words to some of her songs during a concert in Central Park, New York, in 1967. Fear of further ridicule prevented her from singing in public again for nearly twenty seven years, although she did eventually learn to overcome her fears.
Billy Bob Thornton, ex husband of Angelina Jolie, has admitted to suffering from a mild form of agoraphobia: “I’m not exactly agoraphobic but I’m pretty close … I’m really afraid to go out.”
Somewhat interestingly, despite his in-depth understanding of the human psyche, Sigmund Freud also suffered from agoraphobia and tried to suppress the disorder for many years.
Jim A says
Really? Woody Allen says he’s both claustraphobic and agoraphobic and nobody points out he’s probably joking? He’s a comedian … and his most succesful “personna” is neurotic, etc