Celebrity Phobias: Claustrophobia & More

When a sneeze can send someone in a tailspin or being confined to a small room proves detrimental to an individual, they are battling a serious phobia. In this article, you will learn who is afraid of flying, riding a train, and even fearful of antique furniture.


Mysophobia refers to a fear of germs, which is something that plagued Howard Hughes, who was at one time one of the richest people in the world. As the aviator, engineer, film producer and philanthropist approached the end of his life, Hughes grew increasingly eccentric about his fear. When staying at hotels he deemed germ-free, he would lie naked in complete darkness. To protect his feet, he would insert them into empty tissue boxes.


Being claustrophobic means that you fear confined spaces, meaning a ride on a crowded elevator could pose a painful experience. Uma Thurman told reporters of the scene in which she is buried alive in a coffin (Kill Bill: Vol. 2): “There was no acting required. Real screams available. It was horrific. Nobody wants to live that experience.” On the other side of the coin, actresses Daryl Hannah and Kim Basinger are afraid of wide, open spaces.


Thousands upon thousands of people share a fear of flying (aerophobia), but sports icon and video game icon, John Madden, insists upon traveling by bus to his assigned jobs as a sports announcer. Each year, Madden drives more than 60,000 miles a year in a 45-foot motor home called ‘the Madden Cruiser,’ which costs an estimated $700,000. Other celebrities who have a fear of flying include actress Jennifer Aniston, singer Aretha Franklin, musician Cher, and actress Whoopi Goldberg. In June of 2009, it was reported that Goldberg took to the air for the first time in 13 years after participating in the Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear program.


The fear of train travel is called siderodromophobia , something the great Sigmund Freud suffered. On a trip from Freiberg, his train passed through Breslau, where he got a chance to see gas jets for the first time. He remarked that they gave him a picture in his head of souls burning in hell.


Billy Bob Thorton has a great deal of phobias, but the one that sticks out the most is his fear of antique furniture. The actor refuses to stay or eat in a room that has furniture dating back before 1950. Other fears that he has admitted to include aviophobia (fear of flying) and chromophobia (fear of bright colors).


When George Bernard Shaw lost his virginity to a much older woman, he was 29 years old. Since he suffered from coitophobia (the fear of sex), he became shocked by the entire experience and is said not to have intercourse for another 15 years.