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What celebrity has a fear of water?

Many people suffer from fears and phobias, and celebrities are no exception. In fact, some celebrities are surprisingly open about discussing their fears and what they do to cope with them. One phobia that seems to afflict a surprising number of famous figures is a fear of water, known as aquaphobia. This fear can range from a mild discomfort to a full-blown phobia that prevents someone from going near bodies of water. So which celebrity has admitted to struggling with aquaphobia? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

Defining Aquaphobia

Before examining which celebrities have aquaphobia, it helps to better understand what exactly this phobia entails. Aquaphobia is a specific phobia that involves an intense, irrational fear of water. People who have aquaphobia may fear swimming pools, bathtubs, lakes, oceans, or any other body of water. The severity of the fear can vary widely. Mild cases may involve some anxiety or hesitation around water, while severe cases can cause full-blown panic attacks at the mere sight or thought of water.

Some common symptoms of aquaphobia include:

  • Extreme anxiety around water
  • Avoidance of water-related activities like swimming, boating, bathing, etc.
  • Panic attacks when confronted with water
  • Racing heart, sweating, trembling, dizziness when thinking about water
  • Nightmares involving water or drowning

Like many phobias, aquaphobia may stem from a traumatic experience involving water, such as nearly drowning. It can also be learned from a close family member with the same fear. The phobia leads to avoidance behavior that only reinforces the fear response. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to help people face their fear and learn new associations. Medications like anti-anxiety drugs may also be prescribed in severe cases.

Now that we understand a bit about aquaphobia, let’s look at which celebrities have admitted to struggling with this water fear.

Carmen Electra

One celebrity who has been very open about having aquaphobia is model, actress, and media personality Carmen Electra. She developed a fear of water after her mother drowned in a swimming pool when Carmen was just a child. Understandably, this traumatic event shaped Carmen’s relationship with water for years to come.

Carmen has admitted that her aquaphobia controlled much of her adult life. She refused to go near pools, beaches, or any significant bodies of water. She would not even take baths! Showers were the only exception. Carmen revealed that her home and travel choices were often dictated by her phobia.

To try to overcome her lifelong fear, Carmen eventually sought therapy. She worked with professionals to uncover the roots of her trauma and begin facing her phobia. Although Carmen still feels anxiety around water, she has made major progress. In 2018, she shared an Instagram post of herself swimming and revealed that she can finally put her face in the water without panicking. She encourages others with phobias to seek help. Carmen demonstrates that even long-standing water fears can be alleviated with professional support.

Pamela Anderson

In addition to Carmen Electra, actress and model Pamela Anderson has also disclosed her lifelong fear of water. Like Carmen, Pamela’s aquaphobia stems from childhood trauma. When she was a kid, she fell off a bridge and nearly drowned in a lake. After this terrifying ordeal, Pamela developed a debilitating phobia.

Throughout her career, Pamela’s water fear presented major challenges. She had to turn down movie roles that involved water scenes. Memorably, she used a body double for her iconic slow-motion beach run in Baywatch. Whenever she books roles with water components, Pamela requires closed sets so she feels safe.

In recent years, Pamela has worked to overcome her anxiety around water. She revealed that her new husband, Dan Hayhurst, has been helping her face her phobia. Dan is a builder and lifeguard who feels comfortable in the water, while Pamela still experiences panic. Together, they are taking small steps like wading in ankle-deep water to help Pamela slowly acclimate. Like Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson’s story demonstrates the impact childhood events can have in shaping phobias, and the progress that can be made in overcoming them.

Matthew McConaughey

A third celebrity who has opened up about his lifelong fear of water is actor Matthew McConaughey. In his memoir Greenlights, Matthew shared that he developed aquaphobia after a traumatizing experience as a child. When he was only 5 years old, Matthew was held down repeatedly in a swimming pool by an adult and nearly drowned. Understandably, this ordeal left him terrified of water.

Throughout his adolescence and young adulthood, Matthew avoided water activities. He would not swim in pools, lakes, or the ocean. He stuck to showers only. His avoidance behavior became so extreme that he even skipped bathing for long stretches of time as a teen. Matthew’s aquaphobia persisted into adulthood, forcing him to turn down movie roles requiring water scenes.

It was not until his late 30s, after meeting his now-wife Camila Alves, that Matthew finally confronted his phobia. With Camila’s encouragement, he began seeking professional help and slowly exposing himself to pools and other bodies of water. Although he still feels lingering anxiety, the actor can now enjoy swimming and beach vacations with his family. Matthew’s story is yet another example of how deep-seated phobias can be overcome, no matter how long someone has suffered from them.

Billy Bob Thornton

Joining the list of celebrities openly discussing their water phobias is actor and director Billy Bob Thornton. In interviews over the years, Billy Bob has explained that he developed a severe lifelong fear of water after contracting a giardia infection as a child. Giardia is a parasitic illness that is contracted through contaminated water sources.

After experiencing giardia at a young age, Billy Bob associated water with extreme illness. This led to anxiety and avoidance behavior that evolved into a phobia over time. Billy Bob has described aquaphobia symptoms like panic attacks when submerged in water over his head. To manage his phobia, he avoids deep water activities. However, he has found ways to cope with scenes involving water in his acting career.

Unlike Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson, Billy Bob Thornton has not actively sought therapy for his phobia. He has found ways to work around it throughout his film work. However, his aversion to water activities remains firmly in place. Billy Bob exemplifies how even less severe cases of aquaphobia can limit enjoyment of certain activities. With treatment, he too may be able to overcome his water fear.

David Beckham

Retired soccer superstar David Beckham has also spoken out about his lifelong fear of water. David’s aquaphobia traces back to a frightening childhood incident. When he was just 7 years old, David nearly drowned after jumping into a murky lake. After that experience, he developed an aversion to bodies of water.

Throughout his illustrious athletic career, David’s phobia presented some challenges. As a top soccer player, he often had to endure icy baths and other water therapies to aid recovery. These experiences reportedly caused panic attacks for David. He also avoids beach vacations and water recreational activities.

David has not undergone therapy for his phobia, but he has learned to cope with it. He endures water exposures when necessary, like ice baths. He also avoids triggers like beach holidays. David Beckham’s water fear is an example of how phobias can develop from a single traumatic event, even if they are not completely debilitating. With treatment, he could overcome his lingering anxiety.


In summary, aquaphobia is a common phobia among celebrities, often stemming from childhood trauma. Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson, Matthew McConaughey, Billy Bob Thornton, and David Beckham have all openly discussed their fears of water that trace back to terrifying childhood experiences.

While the phobia manifests differently for each celebrity, from avoidance behaviors to full-blown panic attacks, the underlying anxiety around water is debilitating without treatment. Thankfully, stars like Carmen and Pamela have demonstrated that aquaphobia can be overcome through professional help and gradual exposure therapy. Their stories serve as inspiring examples for others managing fears of water.

With compassion, understanding, and access to evidence-based treatment, even lifelong phobias can be alleviated. The celebrities who have shared their struggles with aquaphobia exemplify strength and resilience through their efforts to manage and overcome this challenging phobia.

Celebrity How Aquaphobia Developed Impact on Life Steps Taken
Carmen Electra Mother drowned when Carmen was a child Avoided water-related activities and travel Underwent therapy and desensitization
Pamela Anderson Nearly drowned as a child Used body double in water scenes Supported by husband to face fear
Matthew McConaughey Nearly drowned by adult as a child Turned down movie roles with water Received professional help
Billy Bob Thornton Developed giardia infection from water as a child Avoids deep water activities No therapy, works around phobia
David Beckham Nearly drowned as a child Panics in ice baths No therapy, copes by avoidance

Key Takeaways

  • Aquaphobia, a fear of water, is a common phobia among celebrities.
  • Traumatic childhood events often trigger lifelong aquaphobia.
  • Symptoms range from hesitation around water to full panic attacks.
  • Avoidance behavior is common but reinforces the phobia.
  • Therapy and gradual exposure can help overcome aquaphobia.

Even lifelong phobias like aquaphobia can be managed and conquered with professional treatment. The celebrities who have openly discussed their water fears set an important example of resilience and growth for anyone struggling with similar anxiety.