20 Celebrities & Famous People With Borderline Personality Disorder

Last Updated on December 30, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester

According to research 1.6% of the American population suffers from borderline personality disorder (BPD). That means more than four million people in the country have been officially diagnosed with BPD.

Whether you have been diagnosed with it, or you know someone who suffers from the condition, borderline personality disorder is a terrible mental illness and it can wreak havoc not only on the lives of those with the disorder, but on family members and loved ones who are exposed to it.

As much as we admire and look up to the rich and famous, they struggle with the same life challenges as the average person, and many of them are also included in that 1.6 percent of the population who suffer from BPD.

If this has come as a surprise to you, here is a list of famous people with borderline personality disorder. 

What is BPD?

Borderline personality disorder is also referred to as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). It is a mental health condition characterized by having difficulties with thought patterns, in particular, the way sufferers think about themselves, other people, and the world around them. 

The symptoms of BPD include emotional instability, impulsive behavior, consistent negative thinking patterns, and an inability to maintain relationships. These symptoms operate on a spectrum from mild to severe. The severity of symptoms is often dependent upon external circumstances. 

what is bpd

Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis

A person is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder if they experience more than five of the following symptoms for an extended period of time, and they have a major impact on an individual’s daily life. 

An intense fear of abandonment, and being willing to do anything to prevent it from happening. Experiencing extreme emotions that last for several hours, or days at a time. Additionally, these emotions can change suddenly.

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One moment a person might feel confident and happy, the next, they feel sad and down. On a more extreme level, an individual with BPD might feel a sense of total despair, without hope, and suicidal, and a few hours later feel positive and excited about life.

There are variations in patterns, but the main sign is that a person experiences mood swings that alternate very quickly. Feelings of low self-esteem that either increase or decrease depending on your environment.

People with borderline personality disorder find it difficult to make and maintain relationships. They experience consistent feelings of emptiness, act on impulse and engage in reckless behavior such as drug use, binge eating, and dangerous driving.

BPD can cause a person to self-harm, they are also prone to suicidal thoughts. Feelings of stress can cause a person to experience disassociation or paranoia. Difficulty controlling emotions which can lead to intense feelings of anger or sadness.

Treatment For Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is generally treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Although, in severe cases, some individuals may require hospitalization. 

Schema Focused Therapy

Schema focused therapy incorporates psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapy. The treatment focuses on the idea that when needs are unmet during childhood, it can lead to destructive thinking patterns that manifest into destructive behaviors later on in life. The therapy challenges these thoughts and behaviors to help the individual focus more on developing a healthy mind-set and effective coping strategies. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This approach uses a combination of acceptance, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy to teach individuals how to manage distressing situations and cope with strong emotions. 

Mentalization Based Therapy

This type of therapy helps clients label their thoughts and mental state. It also helps them understand the thoughts and feelings of others which makes communication easier. When individuals are able to recognize how their thoughts and behaviors negatively impact their mental health, their perception of others, and the way others perceive them, it contributes to their desire to get well.

Medications

The food and drug administration have not approved a drug specifically for borderline personality disorder. However, research suggests that a number of medications help to reduce symptoms. These drugs include: Mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, antipsychotics and antidepressants. 

Celebrities and Famous People With Borderline Personality Disorder

famous people with bpd

Here is a list of celebrities and famous people with borderline personality disorder:

Amy Winehouse

The late British singer exhibited extreme symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

Whether during interviews, or in her songs, Winehouse spoke candidly about her struggles with eating disorders, self-harm, and depression. She abused drugs and alcohol, experienced violent mood swings and had several destructive relationships. 

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Zelda Fitzgerald

She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression, Fitzgerald was hospitalized several times, and it is believed that she also suffered from borderline personality disorder.

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Pete Davidson

Comedian and actor Pete Davidson was recently diagnosed with BPD. During an interview with Variety, he spoke of the difficulties he faced before his diagnosis such as confusion and overwhelm.

He knew that there was something wrong, but didn’t know what. Davidson manages his condition with DBT therapy, and medication. He speaks openly about his struggles with mental health to help remove the social stigma attached to it.

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Davidson has also spent time in rehab facilities and believes it is something that has helped him tremendously. 

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Madisone Bailey

The actress from the TV hit show ‘Outer Banks’ was diagnosed with BPD at the age of 17.

Through therapy, and self-education, Bailey has learnt to live with her condition, she states that even though mental illness has been a great tragedy in her life, it has also blessed her with the gift of empathy, and she can easily sympathize and resonate with others who are dealing with mental health issues. 

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Sinead O’Connor

The former Irish singer suffers from borderline personality disorder and complex post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). She has spent time in mental health institutions and writes about her experience in her memoir My Story. 

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Darrell Hammond

The American stand up comedian, actor, and impressionist was severely abused as a child which led to a lifelong battle with mental illness. Hammond has spoken about his struggles with substance abuse and depression.

He has been officially diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder. 

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Nikki Hayes

The famous DJ disclosed during an interview with the Independent newspaper that she had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2015.

She is a vocal mental health activist; Hayes has also struggled with the eating disorder anorexia, self-harm, and she has attempted suicide on more than one occasion.  

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Marsha Linehan

Marsha Linehan is an author and psychologist. She created dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to treat borderline personality disorder.

It is a form of psychotherapy that combines concepts such as mindfulness and acceptance with behavioral science. Despite being one of the most innovative minds in the field of clinical psychology, she suffers from borderline personality disorder, and it was her mental illness that motivated her to develop DBT. 

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Marilyn Monroe

The late actress and singer was one of the most famous women of the 1950’s. Throughout her life, Monroe suffered from bipolar disorder and major depression and was committed to a mental institution on more than one occasion.

It is believed that her mental health issues were due to an unstable childhood in which her mother suffered from mental health issues, and she did not know her father.

It was never officially stated that Marilyn Monroe was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but she exhibited many of the symptoms. She dealt with abandonment issues, she attempted suicide several times, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Her real name was Norma Jean, she created Marilyn Monroe as an alter ego which she believed achieved everything that Norma Jean was incapable of.

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Lindsey Lohan

The American actress has displayed many symptoms of borderline personality disorder such as substance and alcohol abuse, impulsive and self-destructive behaviors like self-harm.

Lohan wears the scars of self-mutilation, and has stated in several interviews that she cuts herself. It is not uncommon for those with mental health conditions to slice the skin as a way to release the build-up of intense negative emotions.

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Angelina Jolie

The famous actress was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in the 1990’s. She checked herself into a mental health institution due to her homicidal and suicidal ideations.

Jolie had a difficult childhood and a publicly strained relationship with her father. She began self-harming as a child, and states that motherhood has been her saving grace in many ways, and helped her cope with her mental health struggles. 

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Megan Fox

The talented young actress is no stranger to mental illness. She has displayed many symptoms of borderline personality disorder including impulsive behavior, and emotional instability. Fox has openly shared her mental health struggles with the media. 

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Bobby Baker

Bobby Baker is a performance artist from the United Kingdom. She was diagnosed simultaneously with borderline personality disorder and breast cancer.

Baker dealt with severe emotional issues after her diagnosis and used art as a coping mechanism. She penned 771 drawings over the span of 11 years, and put them on display to help others understand her better as she recovered from her physical and mental conditions. 

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Doug Ferrari

Doug Ferrari has been a comedian for more than 30 years, and started struggling with substance abuse and mental health during the late 1990’s.

As a result, he became homeless but later received treatment for borderline personality disorder and drug addiction. In the mid 2000’s, he made a comeback, and today deals with his mental health problems with humor. 

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Brandon Marshall

Marshall played for the New York Giants as a wide receiver. He speaks openly about his diagnosis with borderline personality disorder. He is a mental health advocate who encourages people to open up about their struggles.

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In 2013, Marshall wore green cleats during a game but because the shoes were not a part of the uniform, he was fined $10,500. He doubled the amount and donated it to charity. 

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Susanna Kaysen

The famous author spent 18 months in the McLean Hospital after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Her memoir, ‘Girl Interrupted’ was turned into a film starring Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder. Kaysen is a successful writer who despite her condition, went on to write many more books. 

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Tas Pappas

The professional skateboarder became a public figure in 1996 when he beat Tony Hawk at the World Championships despite having a broken rib.

Pappas drug addiction led to a three year prison sentence, and in 2014, he opened up about his diagnosis with borderline personality disorder. 

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Rebbie Ratner

The producer and filmmaker created a documentary about borderline personality disorder. Ratner suffers from BPD and hosts a YouTube channel where she provides information about the condition. 

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Ricky Williams

NFL player Ricky Williams suffers from BPD, avoidance, and social anxiety disorder. He has spoken frankly about being sexually abused by his father before starting college which is most likely the cause of his mental illness.

Williams retired from football in 2012 and today works as a coach and an advocate in the mental health space. He uses yoga, therapy and medication to cope with his conditions.  

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Mikey Welsh

The late musician had a lifelong drug addiction; he suffered from borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar.

After a suicide attempt, Welsh was admitted to a psychiatric ward. He later became an artist and from 2008, he held 13 exhibitions. Unfortunately, in 2011, Mikey Welsh committed suicide, he was found dead in a hotel room in Chicago. The cause of death was a drug overdose. 

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Final Thought

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 800,000 people a year commit suicide due to mental health issues.

Fear, stigma, and a lack of understanding exacerbate the suffering of those affected which prevents them from getting the help they need before it’s too late. As with any mental illness, borderline personality disorder is a serious condition and should not be taken lightly.

If you suspect that you yourself, a friend, or a family member might be suffering from it, please seek professional help immediately. If you’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, make sure you tell a trustworthy family member or loved one so you’ve always got someone to speak to if you need to.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

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