8 Celebrities Who Were Frightened of Public Speaking (And How they Overcame it)

Public speaking is a common phobia that affects people from all walks of life, including some of the most celebrated celebrities in the world. 

From Oscar-winning actors to chart-topping singers and influential business moguls, no one is immune to the butterflies that come with standing before an audience. 

However, many famous individuals have faced their fears head-on, employing a variety of strategies to overcome their anxiety and emerge as confident speakers. 

In this blog, we’ll explore eight inspiring stories of well-known personalities who have transformed their fear of public speaking into an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. 

These tales highlight the universal nature of this fear and illustrate the power of resilience and determination in conquering personal challenges.

Harrison Ford


You’d think fighting in outer space, saving a plane from hijackers, and dealing with all sorts of creatures and monsters would eliminate your fear of public speaking!

Harrison Ford, renowned for his iconic roles in cinema, is not immune to the common fear of public speaking. Despite his on-screen confidence, Ford had to confront his own anxiety when it came to delivering speeches off-screen. His method was straightforward but effective: practice.

This approach is simple yet effective, which is why all communications coaches preach it. Practice can significantly diminish anxiety and enhance confidence. 

By dedicating time to refine his speaking abilities in private, Ford could translate this preparation into more assured and compelling public presentations, demonstrating that even the most daunting fears can be overcome with persistence and hard work​​.



Adele, the internationally acclaimed singer known for her soul-stirring music, has openly shared her struggles with severe stage fright. Despite her massive success and global fanbase, Adele experiences intense public speaking anxiety that leads to physical symptoms, such as nausea, before her live performances. 

Her approach to managing this fear is quite human and relatable; she confronts it head-on by acknowledging her anxiety and allowing herself to feel the emotions without retreating. 

Adele’s honesty about her fears is a powerful reminder that facing our anxieties, rather than avoiding them, can be a crucial step toward overcoming them. By embracing her vulnerability and stepping onto the stage despite her fears, Adele demonstrates remarkable courage and commitment to her art, inspiring many who struggle with similar fears​​.

Richard Branson


Richard Branson, the charismatic founder of the Virgin Group, despite his extroverted persona, has not been spared the common fear of public speaking. In tackling this challenge, Branson employs a unique and introspective strategy: he mentally prepares himself by imagining that he is speaking to a smaller, more intimate group rather than a vast audience. 

This mental shift helps him create a sense of familiarity and comfort, reducing the anxiety associated with addressing large crowds.

Furthermore, Branson emphasises the importance of authenticity and passion when speaking, which can resonate more deeply with the audience than a flawless delivery. 

His approach demonstrates that overcoming fear can be as much about mental preparation and mindset as it is about practice and technique. It offers a valuable lesson in harnessing one’s inner resources to confront and conquer personal fears​​.

Julia Roberts


Julia Roberts, an award-winning actress revered for her roles in both drama and comedy, faced her own battle with public speaking early in her life. 

Roberts’ journey to overcoming her fear of public speaking is deeply intertwined with her acting career, as she initially struggled with a stutter that made any form of public communication daunting. 

Through her commitment to the craft of acting and speech therapy, she found her voice and confidence. 

The transformation was so profound that by 2001, Roberts was able to deliver a confident and memorable Oscar acceptance speech for her role in ‘Erin Brockovich.’ 

This transition underscores the power of targeted practice and personal development, illustrating how dedication to overcoming a specific challenge can lead to growth and success in public arenas. 

Roberts’ experience highlights that even those with natural talent can struggle with public speaking and that overcoming such fears is a testament to resilience and hard work​​​​.

Nicole Kidman


Nicole Kidman, the acclaimed actress known for her range and depth in various cinematic roles, has also faced the challenge of public speaking anxiety

Despite her prowess on screen, Kidman has spoken openly about the nervousness she experiences while speaking in public. 

To manage this anxiety, Kidman turned to focused breathing techniques. 

This approach involves taking deep, controlled breaths to calm the mind and steady the voice, a strategy that can be remarkably effective in mitigating the physical symptoms of nervousness. 

By employing this technique, Kidman demonstrates the importance of simple, mindful actions in overcoming anxiety, providing a practical example for anyone who might find themselves daunted by the prospect of public speaking

Her experience conveys that even those accustomed to the spotlight can struggle with fear and that such fears can be addressed with thoughtful, deliberate practices​​.

Mark Zuckerberg


Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is a prime example of someone who has navigated the journey from public speaking anxiety to competence

Despite being at the helm of one of the most influential tech companies globally, Zuckerberg was not naturally comfortable with public speaking. 

Early in his career, his nervousness was evident through his use of filler words and apparent discomfort on stage. 

However, Zuckerberg did not let this hinder his leadership journey. He embraced the challenge, leveraging self-talk and mindset strategies to transform his nervous energy into enthusiasm and confidence.

By mentally preparing himself and focusing on positive outcomes, he appeared more persuasive and competent during public addresses. 

This evolution in Zuckerberg’s public speaking skills underscores the power of mindset and preparation in overcoming anxiety, demonstrating that even tech moguls must work on fundamental skills like communication​​​​.

Samuel L Jackson


Samuel L. Jackson, a highly celebrated actor known for his dynamic performances, has also faced challenges with public speaking, particularly due to a stutter he has had since childhood.

Rather than let this obstacle hold him back, Jackson pursued acting lessons as a therapeutic intervention on the advice of his speech therapist. 

This innovative approach helped him manage his stutter and empowered him to face audiences with greater confidence. Jackson’s journey highlights the value of leveraging personal challenges as catalysts for growth and self-improvement. His success in overcoming a fear of public speaking through acting demonstrates that creative solutions can lead to personal breakthroughs, inspiring individuals to confront their fears with courage and determination​​.

Warren Buffet


Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors and a prominent figure in business, is a compelling example of someone who has overcome a profound fear of public speaking. In his early years, Buffett was terrified at the prospect of speaking in front of people. 

Recognising the importance of communication in his career, he took a decisive step to address this fear by enrolling in a public speaking course

This experience was transformative, providing him with practical techniques and the confidence to speak effectively in public.

Wrapping up

So there you have it. Even the most famous celebrities and business tycoons faced debilitating public speaking anxiety. 

Yet, they overcame it with practice and, in some cases, the help of an online public speaking course or communications coach.

And if they can, so can you!

Good luck! And if you want to hear more from me, you can find me on:

All celebrity images have been generated using AI. These are not real images of the celebrity. The AI has been used to create their likeness. 

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