A Little Practice Makes Perfect: Celebs Who Stutter Or Used To Stutter
Celebrities tend to hide their flaws and imperfections. However, there are some imperfections that can’t be perfectly hidden, such as a speech impediment. According to National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), more than 3 million Americans have some form of a stutter. Here are 14 celebrities that are part of that statistic, and have admitted to having a stutter.
Though you couldn’t tell it by his career path and success today, especially working as a television host, Wayne Brady stutters. It wasn’t until the age of 16, when he enrolled in an acting class in high school, that he was able to overcome his heavy stuttering and build a sense of self-confidence. Wayne has often spoken out about how he was beaten up and teased as a kid for having a stutter.
Julia Roberts and her brother Eric Roberts were both stutterers in their younger years. The two contribute their speech impediment to a hereditary link. Despite her past stuttering problem, Julia Roberts has become an award winning actress that speaks fluidly and is able to nail her lines in any movie.
B.B. King has become one of the most recognized blues guitarists in the world. Surprisingly, he has been a stutterer since he was young, and despite his speech impediment, he was able to sing without a hitch. In his autobiography, released in 1996, he wrote “I struggle with words. Never could express myself the way I wanted. My mind fights my mouth, and thoughts get stuck in my throat. Sometimes they stay stuck for seconds or even minutes. As a child, I stuttered. What was inside couldn’t get out. I’m still not real fluent. I don’t know a lot of good words. Words aren’t my friends. Music is. Sounds, notes, rhythms. I talk through music.”
Nicole Kidman is another celebrity on the list who has gone forth to find success in an acting career, despite having a stutter when she was a child. When she was little, she admits to having been extremely shy, which contributed to her stuttering. With the help of her family telling her to calm down and think about what she says before she says it, Kidman was able to outgrow her stutter.
Samuel L. Jackson
When Samuel L. Jackson was younger, he was bullied and teased for having a stutter. To help fix the problem, Jackson sought help from a communication specialist in efforts to boost his self-esteem. Jackson admits that he still stutters and struggles with certain words, but he just tries to use another word. He’s also said that his stuttering manifests itself more when he reads than when he talks.
Marilyn Monroe dealt with stuttering her whole life, though she learned various ways to hide her speech impediment. If you’ve ever heard a recording of her speaking, you’ve probably noticed that she speaks in a very breathy tone. Many say she was taught to do this, along with using exaggerated mouth movements, to control her stuttering. During the filming of her last movie, her stuttering returned, due to high levels of stress and drug abuse.
Singing proved to be a God-send for Marc Anthony when it came to his stutter. When he sang in elementary school, he said that the amount of concentration required somehow caused his stutter to go away. Outside of singing, he was extremely shy and would often refuse to talk. He still says that singing is his savior when it comes to his stutter.
Adrian Peterson is a running back for the Minnesota Vikings. Though he’s best known for his speed, agility, and strength, Peterson stutters, and he doesn’t hide it. He has dealt with stuttering since he was a child, and though growing up with a stutter was a challenge, Peterson accepts it now and even runs a foundation for children who stutter.
Tiger Woods has had his ups and downs in the golfing world as well as in the media, but if there’s one thing he has been able to overcome, it is his stutter. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Woods talked about how his competitive spirit helped him to overcome stuttering. He even admitted to talking to his dog until he would fall asleep in efforts to resolve his speech impediment.
James Earl Jones
When he was younger, James Earl Jones had a severe stutter that almost left him mute, as in he would only talk to his family out of fear of being embarrassed. He also admits to talking to animals, since, according to James, “they don’t care how you sound.” James’ stutter was the center of a lot of bullying and jokes. With the help of an English teacher and poetry writing, James overcame his stutter, and went on to become a well-known actor who is famous for his voice.
Bruce Willis may be a well-known Hollywood actor, but before he became a hit on the big screen, he struggled with a stutter for more than 20 years. When he was younger he could barely talk, and it took him minutes to complete a sentence. To overcome and deal with his stutter, Willis became a joker in high school and eventually went on to overcome his stutter.
Emily Blunt, a well-known actress, stuttered during her younger years. Between the ages of seven and 14, her stutter was at its worse and, at one point, she had stopped communicating altogether. Though her friends and family accepted her stutter, Blunt felt that she was misrepresenting herself because of her speech impediment. Blunt grew out of her stutter due to age as well as with the help of a teacher who encouraged her to take up roles in class plays.
Before Tim Gunn became a fashion mogul, he had to deal with bullying for various reasons. Not only was he bullied for being gay, but he was also bullied for having a stutter. His stutter lasted until his teenage years, and the bullying once turned him to a suicide attempt. With the help of a therapist, he changed his life around and has become extremely successful.
During a clip recorded for a Dove Men+Care commercial, Shaq discussed the fact that he suffers from a stutter. During school he was terrified of talking, and even more terrified of the teacher calling on him to answer a question. Despite the setbacks and bullying he faced, Shaq has become a well-known face of the NBA.