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What do Joe Biden, Julia Roberts and Samuel L. Jackson and many other famous people have in common? They were all once stutterers. Though we know most of them today for their acting, sports, or professional skills, and though we’ve all heard them speak flawlessly on TV or the silver screen, they all admit to suffering from this difficult condition earlier in life.
Stuttering is a medical condition that forces the person to speak in a spasmodic or repetitive way. Often, the person who stutters might prolong a single sound within a word or repeat one letter over and over without the rest of the word being able to pass their lips. The Stuttering Foundation says that more than 70 million people around the globe stutter (1% of the population), and that around four times more men than women will have the condition.
The group also says that around 5% of all kids pass through a point in their early lives when they stutter, with 75% of them overcoming it without any long-term issues.
Why Do We Stutter?
No one knows exactly why someone stutters. The experts say that it is partly genetics (both Julia Roberts and her brother Eric had stutters as children), partly childhood development, partly a neurological issue, and often due to family dynamics.
The good news, as these 10 celebrities prove, is that it’s an issue you can overcome. Though it is best to tackle it early in life, you can master it later with the right training and support.
1. King George VI
Made even more famous by the award-winning film The King’s Speech, the stutter of England’s most reluctant monarch was an incredibly painful challenge. As the leader of his nation, he was often seen as mentally deficient because of the cautious manner of his slow speech. Fortunately, he was able to find a coach to help him overcome the issue as he stepped into his role of king during some of England’s most challenging years.