5 Celebrities Who Overcame Dyslexia

Being dyslexic may be hard enough for the average person, but when a star has it, it can make or break their blossoming career. These 5 stars have all overcome their dyslexia, even if it means working twice or three times as hard to learn their lines, and even if they find it very hard to read and memorize their scripts. These stars have shown that it can be done with determination.

Keira Knightley


Keira Knightley found out she was dyslexic aged 6, but she didn’t let it slow her down, and she did well in school: “I was diagnosed when I was six. I worked hard to get the better of it and by the time I got to secondary school, it was much better. I can read and write – badly – but I’m fine reading scripts. And I did leave school with starred As in my GCSEs!”



Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg didn’t at first know that she was dyslexic: “When I was a kid they didn’t call it dyslexia. They called it… you know, you were slow, or you were retarded, or whatever. And so, I learned from a guy who was running a program who I met one day and he had written out on a board a sentence. And I said to him, “You know, I can’t read that.” And he said, “Why not”? And I said, “Because it doesn’t make any sense to me.” So he said, “Well, write down what you see under each. Whatever you see, write exactly what you see underneath.” And so, he brought me to letters by coordinating what I saw to something called an A, or a B, or a C, or a D, and that was pretty cool.”

Tom Cruise


Aged 7, Tom Cruise found out about his dyslexia. He describes how hard it was for him to study at school:  “When I was about 7 years old, I had been labeled dyslexic. I’d try to concentrate on what I was reading, then I’d get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I’d read. I would go blank, feel anxious, nervous, bored, frustrated, dumb. I would get angry. My legs would actually hurt when I was studying. My head ached. All through school and well into my career, I felt like I had a secret. When I’d go to a new school, I wouldn’t want the other kids to know about my learning disability, but then I’d be sent off to remedial reading.”

Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey says that living with dyslexia has shaped him: “I think it’s made me who I am today, it’s given me a perspective of – you have to keep working. I have never given up.” When working on memorizing his lines for Grey’s Anatomy, he finds it hard: “I think that’s when I get the most insecure … it’s very hard for me to read it off the page, I need to memorize it, in order to go on.”

Orlando Bloom


Orlando Bloom says that he had to work harder to compensate for his difficulties during his childhood: “It was a struggle. It was a lot of work, I had to work three times as hard to get two-thirds of the way. I was frustrated with that learning disability. It makes you feel stupid.”