iOS app Android app More

Posted:  |  Updated: 05/03/12 EDT

10 Celebs Who Faced Their Fear

You would think that achieving fame, fortune and lasting success would permanently put to rest all worry, self-doubt, and uncertainty. You would be wrong.

Yes, it's official: Celebrities really are "just like us." Even those charmed folks among us who seem to have it all can be attacked by debilitating feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

But as these 10 stars recently attested, facing your fear brings not only freedom, but personal -- and sometimes financial -- growth. May their true confessions inspire you!

How have you faced fear in your own life? Comment below, or tweet us all about it @HealthyLiving with the hashtag #BecomingFearless! Tweeters will automatically be entered into Toyota Corolla's Most Fearless Tweet Contest! (Click here for the Official Rules.)

Loading Slideshow...
  • Robert Downey, Jr.

    He may play Iron Man in the forthcoming action flick "The Avengers," but Hollywood's comeback king felt anything but strong when it came to the thought of being a father again (son Exton was born on February 7). "There was all this trepidation, all this projection, all this anticipation and goodwill and a good vibe about it," Downey told <a href="" target="_hplink">Esquire magazine</a> recently. "But what you're squeezing to the side -- or what's in the glove box -- is these thousands of forms of fear.... Does any new parent, even if you're not a first-time parent, ever really know what to do? [The] only thing you have to do, the only requirement, if you can hack it, is to not transfer your own discomfort in the moment to this fresh soul, right?"

  • Zac Efron

    After starring in a string of "High School Musical" flicks that made him popular with the so-called "teenybopper" set, Efron found the prospect of playing a Marine in "The Lucky One" extremely daunting. "I'm a musical theater geek walking in there and I knew there was so much work to be done it was overwhelming at that point," he confessed to <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>. "That's why I was so scared when I read the script for 'The Lucky One' because I was like, 'Dude, I like this. I like this and it's going to be real hard and you have a big chance to fail here....' I'm just like, 'How am I going to do this?' But every time I [got] really scared was a sign that I was on the right track."

  • Sofia Vergara

    The Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Colombian actress recently admitted to the Chilean newspaper <a href="" target="_hplink"><em>La Tercera</em></a> that, before taking the role of Gloria on "Modern Family," she was "terrified" that Hispanic viewers would view her character as a negative stereotype. "I thought people would hate Gloria for being ridiculous, for being married to a man so old, for being loud and outrageous," she said. "I was afraid that Latinas would be offended. It was a challenge to be loved and to gain sympathy, but I don't believe I represent all Latinas with this role.... I just try to show with Gloria nice things that Hispanic women share, such as the intense love and overprotection of their children."

  • Ewan McGregor

    Even having a solid reputation and a history of success doesn't prevent you from feeling fear, as the Scottish star of "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" well knows. "There's always the fear before every role that this might be the one you don't pull off," McGregor told the U.K. newspaper <em><a href="" target="_hplink">Metro</a></em> on April 20th. "I still feel the way I did on my very first job. It's what spurs you on to try your best."

  • Derek Jeter

    Taking on a new challenge that's completely outside your comfort zone is nerve-wracking no matter what level of fame and fortune you've achieved. Case in point: Derek Jeter and his 2001 stint hosting "SNL". "I was scared to death," the Yankee All-Star confessed to the <a href="" target="_hplink"><em>New York Post</em></a> on April 20. The slugger persevered, however -- and ultimately found his high-profile sketch comedy experience "enjoyable."

  • Tamra Barney

    A life-threatening cancer diagnosis would shake <em>anyone</em> to the core. After conquering stage-four cervical cancer in 2011, reality-star Barney conquered her fear of cancer recurrence by taking drastic action: She had her breast implants removed. "I was freaked out that cancer would be behind the implants, so I took them out altogether," the Real Housewife of Orange County says in the latest issue of <em><a href="" target="_hplink">Life & Style</a></em>. "It's just one of those things where you're like, 'Okay, you know what, I have to take control of my own body....' I think being in your 40s, there's a whole different outlook on life: You get a little more confident, giving up that part of you where you care too much what people think."

  • Bob Newhart

    He may be one of the most beloved and accomplished stand-up comedians of all time, but iconic funnyman Newhart still isn't fear-free when it comes to performing. "Fear is a friend who comes to visit me just before every show," he told the Canadian website <a href="" target="_hplink"></a> on March 31st. "The first time I ever walked onstage in my life, I was terrified, absolutely terrified out of my mind, but the first thing you learn as a stand-up; never show fear. The audience can sense it and they become uncomfortable."

  • Kathy Ireland

    Before launching an eponymous retail brand, the model-turned-entrepreneur wanted to get advice from a certain superstar who'd already done it successfully: Elizabeth Taylor. The problem? She'd never met the Hollywood icon! "I just took a deep breath, picked up the phone and I asked if I could be mentored by her," Ireland told <a href=" mogul/story?id=16127302#.T5h2xDJSTDU" target="_hplink">ABC's "Nightline"</a> on April 12th. "I was so nervous. I was so scared... [but] she said, 'I would love that.'" In the end, the bold move proved extremely beneficial for Ireland: Not only did she and Taylor become friends, but Taylor's valuable advice helped Ireland build a lasting brand (to the tune of $2 billon a year).

  • Colin Farrell

    The Irish actor has been sober for seven years now, but he still remembers how scared he was to give up alcohol for good. "I was terrified!" he told <a href="" target="_hplink">Ellen DeGeneres</a> on April 2. "I was terrified that whatever my capacity as an actor was beforehand ... that it would completely disappear. I ascribed to the notion that to be able to express yourself in an artistic form in life, you have to live in perpetual pain. And it's nonsense.... There's enough pain in the world that you don't have to live in it to represent it in some artistic way." How does he feel about his sobriety now? "I'm really grateful.... It's really lovely to be present in my life. I have more fun in life now than I used to. I just laugh more."

  • Beverly Johnson

    Before the supermodel and beauty icon launched her own line of hair care products for women of color, she was "paralyzed" by the idea of being in charge. "I wasn't sure about getting involved in business," she told <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>. "I don't have an MBA ... so I found a business partner. I said, 'Eff it, I'm going for it.'" Now <em>that's</em> fearless!


Filed by Elizabeth Kuster  |