Famous People With Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness. Characterized by an ongoing pattern of severe disturbances in various emotions and relationships, self image, and behavior. Although BPD is still widely misunderstood. More celebrities are coming forward to raise awareness and understanding of the disorder.

This article examines 12 famous people who have been reported to live with BPD. Their behaviors are linked to the condition, and how mental health advocates continue to work to stigmatize disorders like BPD.

Behavioral Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is considered a personality disorder because of the long term patterns of unstable relating to the world and others. Core behavioral traits associated with BPD include.

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Fear of abandonment. People with BPD have an intense fear that important people will leave them or that they will be alone. This causes frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection.

Unstable relationships. Interpersonal relationships of people with BPD tend to be volatile and intense. A person with BPD may view others in extremes, as all good or all bad, and their feelings towards others can rapidly shift from love to hate or from admiration to anger.

Unclear or shifting self-image. People with BPD have a distorted self image characterized by low self esteem and negative self perceptions. Their self-image may change suddenly and dramatically when reactions from others shift or when stressed.

Impulsive and reckless behaviors. Common examples include reckless driving, reckless spending, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, binge eating, and self harming behaviors like cutting. These behaviors are often ways to relieve emotional distress or feel something, even if it’s physical pain.

Suicidal threats or behavior. People with BPD may display suicidal threats or actual suicide attempts as a way to get needs met when feeling emotionally distressed or abandoned. Suicidal behaviors or threats are usually short lived and directed toward getting the attention or meeting the needs of others rather than at ending their lives.

Intense anger or difficulty controlling anger. People with BPD may display inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling their anger that seems disproportionate to the situation. Their anger is often short lived, but they may act angrily or aggressively.

Feelings of emptiness or boredom. People with BPD may experience dissociative (out-of-body) feelings and severe, long lasting emptiness that they try to overcome through impulsive behaviors and unstable relationships.

12 Famous People With Borderline Personality Disorder

While diagnosing public figures can only be speculated, several prominent creatives throughout history are thought to have exhibited behaviors consistent with BPD.

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Learning about their lives provides perspective into how highly intelligent, creative individuals may channel pain into art or exhibit turbulent relationships. Early childhood trauma is also commonly linked to developing BPD later in life.

1. Philip K. Dick (1928-1982): American author known for dystopian sci-fi novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. which was adapted into Blade Runner. Dick struggled with extreme paranoia, substance abuse, and reckless behaviors associated with BPD features such as immobility, impulsivity, and dissociation.

He reported an unstable childhood with separation from the death of his twin sister and divorce of his parents. which affected his sense of self and connectedness.

2. Jeffrey Dahmer (1960-1994): American serial killer convicted of murdering 17 men and boys between 1978-1991. Although there is no official diagnosis, Dahmer exhibits many of the behaviors associated with BPD.

In which there is a strong fear of abandoning his massacre to maintain control. Distorted views of victims as objects, affect instability and lack of impulse control. He came from a troubled home with an absentee, alcoholic father that experts link to the development of BPD.

3. H.P Lovecraft (1890-1937): American author of strange fiction including horror, fantasy and science fiction. Lovecraft struggled with depression, paranoia and had a very distorted, unstable self image.

who viewed herself as inferior and physically repulsive, consistent with features of BPD. A shy, sensitive child often bullied will turn to deep imagination as a coping mechanism.

4. Jodi Arias (1980): American convicted murderer who killed her boyfriend Travis Alexander in a fight in 2008. She has extreme emotions to avoid real or perceived abandonment during her tumultuous relationship.

Demonstrated unstable relationships and emotional behaviors associated with BPD such as stalking, inappropriate anger, and manipulation. Arias endured abuse and neglect as a child.

5. Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997): British royal family member known for her philanthropic efforts around the world. Diana struggled with depression and bulimia, had unstable relationships and an unstable sense of identity separate from her royal title.

He exhibits what appear to be BPD traits such as distortion of intimacy with idealization. and reacting strongly to consequent devaluation or real or perceived abandonment by its partners. Experts attribute the development of these behaviors to Diana’s highly volatile childhood.

6. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): American writer, poet, editor and literary critic known for his mystery and mystery. Poe struggled with alcoholism and experts believe. that he exhibited BPD behaviors such as depressive episodes, paranoia, irrational jealousy and suicidal thoughts.

His highly unstable, emotionally neglected childhood was a factor in the development of these traits and inner torment. which was expressed as a morbid obsession through most of his Gothic works.

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7. Michelangelo (1475-1564): Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. Considered one of the greatest artists of all time, Michelangelo suffered from episodes of depression. He had an immense fear of rejection, and he exhibited black and white thinking about his colleagues and tasks.

That went from regularly loving to violently abusive assistants. This turbulent inner world fits the criteria of BPD. And is born from a lonely childhood after his mother was young and sent away from the family.

8. Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961): American modernist author and journalist. Hemingway struggled with alcoholism and bouts of depression developing in later life after his reporting days. He engaged in very high risk recreational behaviors like deep sea fishing and big game hunting.

had volatile relationships prone to idealization before turning hostile, contemplated and attempted suicide on several occasions. all consistent with BPD criteria exacerbated by childhood traumas of absent father and domineering mother.

9. Franz Kafka (1883-1924): German language writer and one of the most important figures in 20th century literature. Kafka experienced what are considered classic BPD traits of instability in relationships. Despite high intelligence, frequent suicidal thoughts, and depression, a distorted self image is characterized by deep shame and guilt.

These inner torments and attempts to find meaning seem to be linked to his emotionally isolated, strict upbringing. Which reflects the absurd, alien themes in much of his existential writing.

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10. Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): Dutch post impressionist painter. Van Gogh lived a very turbulent life with episodes of depression. There are extreme swings, including wild mood swings, delusional thinking and psychosis, including the exuberance of creativity, anger and jealousy.

This is consistent with the criteria for BPD. Exacerbated by factors such as heavy alcohol consumption and untreated mental health problems. Van Gogh’s childhood lacked nurturing figures because his religious parents were strict. and were rejecting his decision to become an artist.

11. Ellen Wuornos (1956-2002): American serial killer who killed seven people in Florida in 1989-90. Wuornos exhibits many behaviors consistent with BPD. Such as unstable relationships, distorted sense of stability, angry episodes, inappropriate anger, worry about consequences.

Unmotivated and suicidal, all exacerbated by severe childhood abuse and sex work trauma. Although in his case the personality disorder was not fully considered. His turbulent existence is consistent with the development of BPD from trauma.

12. Susan Leigh Smith (1961-1993): American singer and songwriter known professionally as Susan Smith. Smith’s life was marked by instability in and out of psychiatric treatment, drug abuse, suicidal behavior and threats. Smith suffered severe abuse and trauma as a child.

Lost his mother at a young age and has struggled with neglect, depression and mental health. Writing emotionally raw lyrics about experiencing great inner pain, according to many BPD experiences. His music lives on as a testament to persevering through mental illness.

10 Stars Struggling With Mental illness

Stars Mental illness-fullpersonality

Beyond those historically speculated to have had BPD, many celebrities openly share their experiences with mental illness to spark valuable discussion. Their bravery counteracts stigma by normalizing disorders as medical issues instead of character flaws. Different conditions share features of emotional deregulation triggering BPD behaviors.

Emma Stone: has spoken about living with panic attacks since childhood which manifest physically through arrhythmia, extreme nausea. Panic disorder involves intense fears that trigger full blown panic episodes.

David Duchovny: sought treatment for sex addiction after playing a sex driven character led to compulsive behaviors mirroring his work, now considers his condition healed. Sex and love addiction involve lack of control over sexual behaviors despite harm.

Mary-Kate Olsen: was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa as a teen, an eating disorder involving severe calorie restriction and fear of weight gain despite being underweight. Eating disorders commonly coincide with co-occurring mental health issues.

Brooke Shields: experienced postpartum depression after the birth of her first child, involving intrusive thoughts about harming her baby and herself, now advocates for maternal mental healthcare. Postpartum depression can exacerbate other conditions.

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Elton John: has been open about his struggles with bulimia and alcoholism early in his career, eating disorders and substance abuse masking deeper emotional pain cause tremendous self loathing and feelings of emptiness. Integrated treatment relieved his symptoms.

Catherine Zeta-Jones: received treatment for Bipolar II Disorder involving cycles of depression and hypomania, a high functioning form of bipolar. Mood disorders commonly emerge in young adulthood, benefit from therapy and medication management.

Chris Evans: coped with childhood-onset social anxiety through acting, overcoming debilitating fears of embarrassment and being scrutinized with professional help. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable when identified and addressed.

Ariana Grande: sees a therapist to help process trauma like the Manchester bombing and maintains coping strategies for PTSD like panic attacks and dissociative flashbacks which exacerbate her anxiety. Trauma disproportionately impacts underserved populations.

Amanda Seyfried: found relief from years of intrusive thoughts through exposure therapy for OCD symptoms like contamination fears, obsessions about repeating actions perfectly, and checking locks excessively. OCD frequently goes undiagnosed due to stigma around its unusual compulsions.

Pete Davidson: has been candid about previous suicide attempts and depression since adolescence, now sees a psychiatrist regularly as a coping mechanism for BPD behaviors to avoid self-destructive tendencies like impulsivity exacerbated by his rocketing fame. With proper support, mental health can be maintained even for those historically stigmatized diagnoses.

List of Famous People with Borderline Personality Disorder

In addition to the 12 individuals explored above, many others are suspected or known to have struggled with BPD based on biographical details aligning with diagnostic criteria.

Brandon Marshall: American former NFL wide receiver who founded the Brandon Marshall Foundation to raise awareness after being diagnosed with BPD himself. With therapy and advocacy, Marshall overcame volatile moods to forge a successful career.

Doug Ferrari: American entertainment reporter based in New York known for his candid discussions of managing bipolar disorder and BPD through integrated treatment approaches including DBT skills.

Jim Carrey: Canadian American comedian, actor and producer open about his battles with depression and suicidal ideation in the past, now practices spiritual wellness routines including meditation to maintain mental stability.

Amy Winehouse: British singer whose tumultuous career and personal life were cut short by accidental alcohol poisoning at age 27, struggled with substance abuse issues, bulimia, volatile relationships and impulsivity associated with BPD.

Robbie Williams: English singer songwriter who achieved worldwide success as a solo artist and part of the pop group Take That. Williams has spoken openly about long struggle with depression and addiction, seeks ongoing therapy.

Elizabeth Wurtzel: American author known for her memoir Prozac Nation chronicling her experiences with clinical depression in adolescence and early adulthood, exhibited many traits linked to BPD like intense emotions, substance use and difficulties with relationships.

Britney Spears: American entertainer who experienced very public mental health crisis in 2007 involving hospitalization and conserved rights over her estate due to concerning behaviors like not sleeping, lashing out, shaving her head all inconsistent activities speculated to relate to untreated BPD.

Darrell Hammond: American comedian and actor primarily known for his work on Saturday Night Live where he impersonated Donald Trump, among other figures. Hammond was candid about experiencing suicidal depression and volatile mood disorder historically attributed to undiagnosed BPD he now manages well.

Marsha M. Linehan: American psychologist, author and professor emerita at the University of Washington known for developing dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) the most effective treatment for BPD based on mindfulness and emotion regulation skills. Linehan herself experienced suicidal BPD before becoming the first successful therapist in her field.

Ricky Williams: Former American football running back who won the Heisman Trophy and played 11 seasons in the NFL, revealed diagnosis of social anxiety disorder and speculated BPD caused extreme self criticism and mood fluctuations exacerbated by pressure from fame.

Mikey Welsh: American musician best known as the bassist for Weezer, died by suicide in 2011. Welsh struggled with bipolar disorder and drug/alcohol dependence that amplified behavioral traits consistent with untreated BPD like recklessness and depression.

Vincent van Gogh: Post Impressionist painter understood as one of the greatest in history but endured immense mental anguish, manic creativity and instability resulting in untreated bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression speculated to relate to underlying BPD not recognized in 19th century.

Treatment Options For Borderline Personality Disorder

Treatment Options For-fullpersonality

While challenging to live with BPD symptoms, proper treatment significantly improves quality of life and reduces health risks. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan is considered the gold standard, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy teaching skills in four modules.

  • Mindfulness: Focuses on being fully present instead of worrying about past/future through techniques like breathing meditation, modeling non judgment.
  • Distress Tolerance: Coping with intense emotions in healthy ways instead of destructive escapes like self harm via strategies such as self-soothing, improving the moment, thinking of pros/cons before acting impulsively.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Handling conflicts and asking for what you want or need assertively without sacrificing self respect through “fair” behaviors instead of becoming aggressive or submissive when feeling attacked.
  • Emotion Regulation: Understanding triggers and labeling emotions using vocabulary to detach from overwhelming internal experiences and act constructively instead of reacting. Journaling thoughts/feelings, radical acceptance of present moment.

Medication combined with DBT shows the most success in reducing depression and suicidality. Although DBT alone is very effective. Other adjunct therapies include psychoeducation, coping skills building, cognitive techniques.

And involves addressing childhood trauma through talk or physical therapy to maintain symptom patterns. Individuals living with BPD have an integrated approach to empowering recovery, resilience and self compassion.


What age does BPD peak?

BPD symptoms typically peak in late adolescence/early adulthood between ages 18-21. This is when personality is solidifying and coping skills are still developing.

Do people with BPD have high IQ?

While BPD itself is not linked to intelligence levels, anecdotal evidence suggests many high-functioning/highly creative individuals exhibit BPD traits. High IQ does not protect from mental illness.

Why is BPD life expectancy 27?

This statistic is outdated and misleading. With proper treatment, life expectancy is the same as the general population. The 27 figure from older research may be attributed to risk of suicide attempts being highest during initial BPD years before treatment.


While famous figures tend to attract speculation. learning about their lives and struggles can help reduce stigma by showing mental illnesses impact people of all backgrounds. and artistic talents develop through processing all human experiences including internal pain. Advocacy efforts continue raising awareness that disorders stem from biology and life events out of.

One’s control instead of personal failings needing condemnation. With compassionate care focusing on the whole person. not just symptoms, those affected learn to manage overwhelming emotions and rebuild ability to connect. Organizations supporting diverse communities in need constantly advocate.

For increased crisis and long term services so all may heal from generational wounds perpetuating disorders. Continued discussion highlighting treatment and recovery stories over symptoms work to strengthen understanding and accommodation for invisible disabilities.

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