These celebrities worked past their speech impediments from struggling to thriving and spoke out on how they did it.
Stuttering affects millions across America according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. It can make it difficult to grow up without being bullied or ridiculed for your speech. Luckily, there are non-profits like The Stuttering Foundation that have been around since the 1940s to help anyone in need.
This list is compiled of celebrities who have been outspoken about growing up with a stutter and have gone on to thrive in their specific industry. Many of these are ambassadors from The Stuttering Foundation and continue to be a voice for those living with this disability.
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In an interview with
Tiger stated, “The words got lost, you know, somewhere between the brain and the mouth. And it was very difficult, but I fought through it. I went to a school to try and get over that, and I just would work my tail off.” He would later become one of the legends of golf, showing no matter the adversity, you can always achieve your goals with the right approach. 60 Minutes,
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Tim Gunn spoke to
NPR about one of his most embarrassing moments in the sixth grade stating, “I had to do a report on the Louisiana Purchase, and I couldn’t get ‘Louisiana’ out of my mouth. I went over and over, and I ran out of the classroom crying and ran home.” His struggle with his stutter gave him a disdain for school though after college he needed a job and an inspirational teacher gave him an opportunity he thrived once realizing his potential.
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In 2020, Emily sat down with
Marie Claire and spoke about her experience growing up as a stutterer saying, “There were certain people who liked to define me by that. That was tough. I decided not to really spend time with those people. I’ve probably only now come to realize that everybody has something growing up. That just happened to be my thing.”
President Joe Biden
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Our most recent President recalled his struggles with his stutter with
The Atlantic and how his mother had to come down to the school to defend her son after he had been made fun of by his teacher. It was his determination as a young teen that drove him to recite passages in the mirror trying his all to better his speech impediment. It’s this type of drive that we see in a lot of other celebrities with a stutter that makes them some of the most successful people out there.
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Back in 2016, Bruce Willis, while accepting an award from the
American Institute for Stuttering, made it a point to speak out to the children stating, “My advice to the young people in this room is to never let anyone make you feel like an outcast because you will never be an outcast.” During the speech, you can see how emotional this journey has been for Bruce and how his craft of acting helped him get through his speech impediment.
Samuel L. Jackson
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During an interview with
Howard Stern, Samuel L. Jackson recalls the ridicule he received from other kids that had him stop speaking at school for almost the whole year. He also mentions his use of “mother f#$ker” helps with his stutter, claiming, “I have no idea, it just does. It clicks a switch that stops the di-di-di, buh-buh-buh, cuz I stuttered really, really badly for a long time.” It makes his iconic cussing even more legendary, knowing how much it actually helps the famed actor.
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Like Bruce Willis, Grammy winner Ed Sheeran also received an award from the
American Institute for Stuttering, where he spoke about how his love of music aided him with his stutter. Sheeran said, “My dad bought me the Marshall Mathers LP when I was nine years old, not knowing what was on it, and I learned every word from it back to front by the age I was ten, and he raps very fast and very melodically, and very percussively, and it helped me get rid of the stutter.” Knowing that one of the most controversial albums of the early 2000s helped dissolve someone’s stutter shows the true power of music.
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Big Little Lies actor spoke to Newsweek during an Oscar round table about her stutter as a child. The Oscar winner stated, “I just remember everyone always saying to me, ‘Calm down, think about what you’re going to say.’ I remember when I was little, just being so excited to get it out, and I couldn’t. I grew out of it.”
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With Kendrick’s flow and delivery in his music, you’d be surprised to find out that he, too, overcame his stutter growing up. In an interview with to
Spin Magazine, he revealed how his stutter fueled his rapping. “As a kid, I used to stutter. I think that’s why I put my energy into making music. That’s how I get my thoughts out, instead of being crazy all the time.” It’s no wonder why this Compton-raised rapper won multiple Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize for Music.
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It seems music has helped so many in their fight with stuttering as Marc Anthony echoed similar statements to others in an interview with
CBS News. The Grammy winner stated, “What happened was I’d stutter. And I really couldn’t put a sentence together. But when I sang, I didn’t stutter. So that was my preferred way of communicating.” It’s wonderful to see how art has helped so many with their stuttering.
If you or anybody you know is struggling with stuttering, click here for The Stuttering Foundation, which provides free resources for anybody who needs it.
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