Entertainment & Culture

Top 10 disabled celebrities from across the world

We’ve covered the top 10 female and top 10 male disabled celebrities, many of which are based in the UK. So we thought it was about time we celebrated those disabled celebs from across the world. 

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Can you think of any other disabled celebrities from across the world? Leave your comments below and share our video on social media to join in the conversation using #disabledcelebrities.

Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her unconventionality and experimenting with new styles.

A few months ago, Lady Gaga revealed that she has fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that can cause pain all over the body. “I wish to help raise awareness and connect people who have it. We can all share what helps/hurts,” she tweeted.

As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue (extreme tiredness) and muscle stiffness. Although there’s currently no cure, there are treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms.

Andrea Boccelli

Tenor, musician, writer and music producer of Italian origin, Andrea Boccelli has sold more than 75 million records. He also studied law.

He was born with congenital glaucoma, which left him partially blind. But that did not prevent him from taking piano lessons until the age of 6. However, at the age 12, he suffered a blow during a football game that left him completely blind.

Boccelli has received numerous awards of international prestige and even has a beach named after him on the Adriatic.

Marlee Matlin

American actress Marlee became deaf at just 18 months after losing all hearing in her right ear and 80% in her left. She believes this was down to a genetically malformed cochlea.

She first acted at the age of 7 and has since been in a whole host of films and high-profile TV shows, including Desperate Housewives, The L-Word, ER and The West Wing.

In the majority of her roles, Marlee has played a deaf character. But in the TV drama ‘Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story’, she played the main character, a hearing woman, for which she was nominated best actress.

She’s also written novels and competed in the sixth series of Dancing with the Stars, the American version of Strictly.

Marlee won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for ‘Children of a Lesser God’. To date, she is the only deaf performer to have won the award.

Michael J. Fox

Disabled celebrity Michael J Fox portrait image on black background

Born in Canada in 1961, Fox found his calling in acting early on, leading him to Hollywood where he became a household name through his role in “Family Ties” and the iconic “Back to the Future” series. His career, marked by numerous awards including three Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, took a pivotal turn when he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 29.

His career was at its peak. He was told that he should withdraw from the stage, but he did not cease to be an actor.

Choosing to keep his diagnosis private for years, Fox continued to work in film and television, showcasing his unwavering dedication to his craft. It wasn’t until his symptoms could no longer be hidden that he publicly disclosed his condition, a revelation that shifted his career path towards advocacy and research for Parkinson’s disease.

Michael found it hard to accept his illness, suffering with depression and alcoholism for some time. But, he now works to promote his foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to help find a cure for this progressive disease.

In 2000, Fox founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, aiming to drive scientific progress towards a cure. As a testament to his impact, the Foundation has become the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development in the world, raising over $1.75 billion for research. Fox’s advocacy work extends beyond fundraising; he actively participates in raising awareness and promoting research initiatives, embodying hope and determination for millions.

After more than 25 years and with the condition at a very advanced stage, Michael J. Fox continues to maintain his spirit of improvement. His foundation has already raised $233 million for Parkinson’s research.


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Sudha Chandran

An Indian actress and dancer, Sudha lost her leg at the age of 16 after a road accident. After a gap of two years, she went back to dancing using a prosthetic leg.

Sudha started her careers in the film Mayuri, which tells her life story. She was awarded a Special Jury Award in 1986 for her performance. She has since been in a number of films, TV programs and even a reality dance competition.

She is most well-known in India, where her life story is part of the curriculum for young school children, but has performed all over the world, including America, the UK, Saudia Arabia and Yemen.

Aaron Fotheringham

Adam Fotheringham at speaking at an event he is in a green sports wheelchair and has a baseball cap on.

In addition to being one of the most inspirational disabled celebrities, Aaron Fotheringham is one of the world’s most famous skaters. His speciality? Wheelchair skating.

Aaron Fotheringham, widely known as “Wheelz,” is a pioneering WCMX (Wheelchair Motocross) athlete who has defied the limits of what can be achieved in a wheelchair. Born with Spina Bifida, a condition that left him without the use of his legs, Aaron has never let his disability define his capabilities. From a young age, he was determined to do everything any other child could do, quickly moving from a walker to crutches and mastering each with a tenacity that hinted at his future in extreme sports​​​​​​.

Aaron began riding at skate parks at the tender age of 8, encouraged by his older brother Brian. Despite the initial falls and challenges, he was hooked from his first successful drop-in. His career in WCMX took off from there, with Aaron entering and winning BMX freestyle competitions, including the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX Finals. However, for Aaron, the thrill of riding and innovating within WCMX always trumped competition accolades​​​​.

His list of achievements is extensive and includes being the first person to successfully perform a backflip in a wheelchair at just 14 years old, followed by a double backflip at 18. Aaron’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of WCMX has seen him land many other tricks, such as 180-degree aerials, one-wheeled spins, and rail grinds. His custom-designed WCMX wheelchair, which is both lightweight and equipped with four-wheel suspension, has been crucial in enabling him to perform at such a high level​​​​.

Daniel Radcliffe

Star of the Harry Potter movies, actor Daniel Radcliffe has dyspraxia, which is classed as a learning disability. Dyspraxia can make simple, day-to-day tasks involving coordination, challenging. This includes tying shoes, writing and riding a bike.

It’s his dyspraxia that may have been the reason for his career. At the age of 9, his mother encouraged him to audition for a play because he was having a hard time in school. His mum thought acting would boost his confidence. How different his life might have been if he hadn’t taken her advice.

Born in 1989 to a literary agent mother and casting director father, Radcliffe was cast in the Harry Potter films at the young age of 11.

He starred in all 8 films released between 2001-2011.Since concluding the iconic role that made him a globally famous child star, Radcliffe has taken on eclectic parts in indie movies as well as Broadway shows. He earned acclaim for performances in Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Miracle Workers, Guns Akimbo and played parody singer “Weird Al” Yankovic in the 2022 biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

Radcliffe has been open about living with dyspraxia, a neurological motor disability that causes coordination, balance and movement issues. Though his case is mild, speaking about it has allowed Radcliffe to use his fame as a platform to advocate for understanding neurological conditions.In his personal life, Radcliffe has been in a long-term relationship with actress Erin Darke since they met filming the movie Kill Your Darlings in 2012. In March 2023 it was announced the couple were expecting their first baby.

Daniel and his wife an baby at a protest, he is walking and has the baby in a papoose, he has a beard and baseball hat

Towards the end of April 2023, Radcliffe’s rep confirmed Darke had given birth to a son.

In subsequent interviews, Radcliffe has described the first months of fatherhood as “awesome” and an amazing experience. He is currently taking time off from work to be present with his new baby boy and supportive partner Darke, relishing the privilege of this special time in his family’s life.

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic is an Australian motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a disability where the person affected is born without arms and legs. He is one of the seven known survivors in the world who has the syndrome.

Born in 1982 with no limbs, he claims that as a child he suffered ridicule and discrimination, and tried to commit suicide. However, with time, he learned to see his own potential. He is the founder of Life Without Limbs – an organisation for people with physical disabilities.

He is currently giving motivational talks around the world, has written several books and is a regular on talk shows and TV programs. He became very famous after starring in the short film The Butterfly Circus.

Frida Kahlo

Frida was a Mexican painter who had a number of health conditions. She contracted polio at a young age, which resulted in one leg being thinner than the other, and is believed to have been born with spina bifida. She sadly died at the age of 47, but her legacy as a trailblazer has continued.

At 18 she was involved in an accident that left her with many injuries, including a broken spine. While recuperating, her parents encouraged her to paint. She largely painted herself, which often depicted her disabilities at the time. One painting, for example, shows her painting from a wheelchair.

Like many painters, it’s since her death that her work has become most recognised. She’s also never conformed to gender stereotypes and so has become an icon for the LGBT community.

You can find out more about Frida Kahlo in our full article about her life and impact on society’s views of ‘normal’.

Justin Timberlake

American singer-songwriter, actor and record producer Justin Timberlake has attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But he’s always

Born and raised in Tennessee, he appeared on the television shows Star Search and The All-New Mickey Mouse Club as a child. In the late 1990s, Timberlake rose to prominence as one of the two lead vocalists and youngest member of NSYNC, which eventually became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time.

A lot of famous faces have ADHD, including actresses Liv Tyler and Emma Watson, socialite Paris Hilton, musician Will.i.am and actor Channing Tatum.

By Raya AlJadir

Is there anyone we’ve missed? Let us know about any male disabled celebrities you think are awesome by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com or leaving your comments below.

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