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‘It felt like the buildings were going to eat me’: Famous people and their phobias

Whether it’s bugs, clowns, or even beards, there are a multitude of different fears out there – and no one is immune. Louis Chilton looks at some of the famous faces to have been gripped by irrational phobias, from Margaret Thatcher to Niall Horan


Everyone’s afraid of something. Whether we’re talking about something as arch as killer clowns, or something as commonplace as intimacy, there’s probably not a person alive without some kind of idiosyncratic phobia nestled deep in their subconscious.

Though the trappings of fame and fortune can insulate a person from some of life’s hardships, many celebrities seem to fall victim to unusual – and sometimes even downright bizarre – phobias. Take US TV personality Tyra Banks, for instance, who admitted to a lifelong fear of dolphins (delfiniphobia), which manifested as a recurring nightmare. Or One Direction star Niall Horan, who has confessed to a crippling fear of pigeons – something corroborated by ex-bandmate Harry Styles. “I think pigeons target me,” Horan confessed, after an incident in which one of the feathered fiends flew in through his bathroom window.

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