10 Extremely Successful People You Never Would Have Suspected of Having Dyslexia

Imagine opening a book and seeing a variety of letters.

Instead of seeing the letters and immediately putting the letters into various words and sounds, you see the letters and they don’t make any sense to you. Your brain doesn’t connect the letters to the words and the sounds they make.

The letters and words are jumbled in your mind and they lose its meaning. You may feel that this disorder would pull anyone back and ensure that they do not excel in life.

You’re Wrong. 

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, “Dyslexia is…an invisible problem.” Dyslexia occurs in the brain. When a child or person has dyslexia, it’s hard to connect letters to sounds.

There are one in ten people diagnosed with dyslexia, which approximately leads to 40 million dyslexic adults. Since it’s an invisible problem only 2 million of those people are actually diagnosed with the learning disability. There are actually many famous people with dyslexia. These celebrities prove that dyslexia can’t stop you from being successful.

You can overcome it.

10 Famous People with Dyslexia

1. Vince Vaughn

When Vaughn started school, he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. The school put Vaughn into special classes so the teachers could help him overcome his learning disability. Like many children, Vaughn felt embarrassed when his special class teacher came to pick him up.

Vaughn knew he wanted to be an actor since his junior year of high school. Once he realized this aspiration of his and he started working harder in and out of school. Through this process, he acquired a great work ethic and a strong will to fulfill his dreams.

Since starting his acting career in 1989, Vaughn has won: MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo, Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie and People’s Choice Award for Favorite Leading Man.

2. Tom Cruise

Although, he really doesn’t need an introduction, his story does.

Diagnosed with dyslexia at seven years old, Cruise struggled to keep up with his peers. His dyslexia made it harder for him to complete his work in high school and even affected his early acting career.

Cruise’s big break at 19 made him realize that he needed to gain better work ethics in order to have a successful acting career. He adopted L. Ron Hubbard’s Learning Method of Study Technology.

Since letters and words don’t make sense in his mind, he created mental images to help him understand different words and the sounds they make.

3. Steven Spielberg

Spielberg was diagnosed with Dyslexia in 2007 when he was 61-years old.

When Spielberg was growing up, the term dyslexia wasn’t invented yet. So, Spielberg’s struggle with reading was seen as a result of laziness. His classmates made fun of his struggles. In school, Spielberg remembers how he “felt like an alien” in class.

He says, “I always felt like I never belonged to any group that I wanted to belong to.”

As he got older, Spielberg poured his energy into film making. He says, “Movies really helped me, kind of saved me from shame, from guilt, from putting it on myself … when it wasn’t my burden. I think making movies was my great escape, it was how I could get away from all that.”

4. Whoopi Goldberg

Much like Spielberg, Goldberg grew up at a time when the term dyslexia didn’t exist yet.

Her teachers reported that she was a slow learner. In an interview with Ebony, Goldberg recalls being labeled as “retarded.” She says,“You don’t want to be retarded all your life. I was retarded for a good part of mine, according to all the paperwork, and I just couldn’t handle it.”

Goldberg always dreamed about becoming an actress. She worked hard to overcome the stereotypes people casted on her at a young age. During an interview with the Academy of Achievement, Goldberg says, “I knew I wasn’t stupid, and I knew I wasn’t dumb.  My mother told me that.” With that belief, Goldberg didn’t give up on her dreams despite life’s many hardships.

Her hard work paid off when Steven Spielberg casted her in The Color Purple. Goldberg won a Golden Globe for her amazing performance in the movie.

Since then Goldberg has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony Award. She has also won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

5. Anderson Cooper

Cooper was diagnosed with Dyslexia at a young age.

Alongside school, he also saw a reading specialist to improve his reading skills. With her help, he soon became a great student. A few years later, Cooper graduated from Yale and began his journalism career as a fact checker for Channel One News in 1989.

He quickly worked his way up to Chief International Correspondent at Channel One. He then moved onto ABC News where he was a correspondent and co-anchor by 1995.

In 2001, Cooper took a job as a correspondent and substitute anchor at CNN. Cooper’s CNN show Anderson Cooper 360° aired in 2003.

Anderson Cooper has won five Emmy’s in his impressive journalism career.

6. Keira Knightley

Knightley was diagnosed with a reading disability when she was only six.

She was clever and made her parents a deal. Knightley promised her parents that she would learn to read if they agreed to find her an agent to start her acting career after she succeeded.

With her parent’s support, Knightley overcame criticism from her peers and the film industry. She worked hard to improve her grades in school and memorized her lines.

Since starting her acting career in 1993, Knightley has starred in films like Pirates of the Carribean, Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess.

7. Cher

Cher was no t diagnosed with dyslexia until she was 30.

School was not easy for Cher. She had a combination of dyslexia and dyscalculia. In an interview, Cher told the reporter, “I never read in school.  I got really bad grades, D’s and F’s and C’s in some classes, and A’s and B’s in other classes. In the second week of the 11th grade, I just quit. When I was in school, it was really difficult. Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards always said that I was not living up to my potential.”

After dropping out of school, Cher moved to LA to pursue her acting career.

She started by taking classes and soon met Sonny Bono. Her career took off with hit songs and the famous Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

Over the years, Cher has collected quite a few awards including: Academy Awards, Bambi Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Cannes Film Festival and many more.

8. Jamie Oliver

When Oliver was in school, he was placed into A special needs class because of his dyslexia.

However, his special needs classes never propelled him to read a book and finish it. As a result, Oliver finished his first book three years ago at 38 years old. In an interview, Oliver commented on his younger self.

He said, “It was with great regret that I didn’t do better at school. People just thought I was thick. It was a struggle. I never really understood dyslexia…”

Despite his trouble with reading, Oliver has written 20 cookbooks which have sold over 10 million copies.

9. Robin Williams

Williams has admitted to having “severe dyslexia.” He tells childhood stories such as, “I was the only child on my block on Halloween to go ‘trick or trout’ … Here comes that young Williams boy. Better get some fish.”

Despite his difficulty with reading and writing, Williams had an amazing acting career and we all miss him to the core!

10. Orlando Bloom

Bloom was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 7.

His struggle with reading made him frustrated. In an interview with PBS, Bloom said, “I was an angry, angry child at times…Somewhere in me I knew I was smart, but I was really struggling … My creative outlet, performing — that was what got me through.”

Once Bloom discovered his love for drama he pursued an acting career. He landed his first major role in Lord of The Rings in 2001.

Dyslexia can’t stop you from achieving success. Orlando Bloom is famous for telling people to see Dyslexia “as a gift.” 

Through hard work and determination, these famous people have found success in their dream careers so why not you?

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