Reminder: Only some of these people have disclosed a PTSD diagnosis, but all lived through significant trauma. Some were traumatized before the official recognition of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in 1980.
Actors, models and TV presenters
21 Alan Cumming
Cumming suffered severe physical and emotional abuse as a child, at the hands of his father. He suffered flashbacks and an eating disorder. Cumming has won two Emmys and is best known for playing Eli Gold in The Good Wife. His memoir is called Not My Father’s Son.
22 Amanda Holden
Actress and TV presenter.
British actress Holden was diagnosed with PTSD after nearly dying during a cesarean section during her daughter’s birth in 2012.
23 Carré Otis
Model and actress.
Carré Otis grew up with an alcoholic father, was raped at 17, experienced domestic violence, and was raped again as an adult. Her modeling career involved frequent sexual harassment, and she modeled for Guess? and Calvin Klein. She used eating disorders and drug addiction to cope with her difficult past. She is now an ambassador for the National Association of Eating Disorders.
24 Joan Collins
Collins recently spoke being drugged and date raped at 17 (by her future husband, who was a famous star at the time). She felt obliged to marry him and guilty because he took her virginity; the marriage was abusive. She gave an interview about this in the film Brave Miss World, in which a former Miss World talked about her own rape.
Comedian and Actress.
Child sexual abuse. Mo’Nique drew on her experience to play the part of the abusive mother in the film Precious.
26 Oprah Winfrey
TV show host and author.
During a 1986 show on sexual abuse, Oprah revealed she had been raped by a relative as a 9 year-old, and was abused by several people for a number of years. She used sexual promiscuity to cope, having a baby at 14 who died. She continues to advocate for sexual abuse survivors.
27 Teri Hatcher
A Bond girl and star of Desparate Housewives, Teri spoke in 2006 about being sexually abused as a 5 year-old.
28 Waris Dirie
Somalia-born supermodel, author and campaigner against FGM.
Waris experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a 5 year old, which caused her years of pain. At 13 she was forced into marriage with a 60 year old, so she fled home and later found her way to London. She needed surgery prior to childbirth because of the damage.
Careers in Military
29 Audie Murphy
Famous for being the most decorated American Soldier of World War II, he was wounded many times and awarded the Medal of Honor and many Purple Hearts after being injured in combat. Physical injury increases the risk of PTSD. Murphy was also decorated by French and Belgian governments. After the war he sleep with an automatic pistol under his pillow and struggled with nightmares. He died in 1971.
30 Major General John Cantwell
Austrialian Army General
His autobiography Exit Wounds described how he hid his PTSD for 20 years and continued in the army, being promoted to Deputy Chief of the Australian Army. He experienced survivor guilt and avoided cars due to fear of car bombs. He became suicidal and was later admitted to a psychiatric ward for a week, retiring soon after.
PTSD Self Help: Transforming Survival into a Life Worth Living, p205. A. E. Huppert (2014).
The Everything Guide to Overcoming PTSD: Simple, Effective Techniques for Healing and Recovery, p91-94. Romeo Vitelli (2014).
Desert Flower. Waris Dirie (2009).
Beauty Disrupted: The Carrie Otis Story. Carrie Otis and Hugo Schwyzer (2011).
Brave Miss World (documentary).
For Military Merit: Recipients of the Purple Heart. Frederic L. Borch (2010).
- PTSD – Famous Trauma Survivors part 1 (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
- The challenges facing soldiers after combat (psychologytoday.com)
- Cultural aspects of PTSD – meaning and risk (neuroanthropology.net)
- PTSD – A set of survival responses (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
- Not my father’s soon by Alan Cumming: Book Review (jplbookreviews.wordpress.com)
- Trauma and Abuse (traumadissociation.com)
- PTSD (traumadissociation.com)
- Complex PTSD (traumadissociation.com)