Here’s What Famous People Have Said About Stuttering

7 min readSep 7, 2020

Here are some quotes from famous personalities who stutter. These 8 success stories will inspire you to try all the new things in life you thought you couldn’t.

“A stammering man is never a worthless one. Physiology can tell you why. It is an excess of delicacy, excess of sensibility to the presence of his fellow-creature that makes him stammer.” — Thomas Carlyle.

Nearly two centuries after Thomas Carlyle penned these lines; a lot of us still harbor the feeling of being the “worthless one.”

Human psychology tricks many into believing that they are alone in their fight.

In reality, millions are fighting the same battle. More than 70 million people across the world stutter . That means one in every hundred you come across is likely to have this speech disorder.

This number only makes up 25% of people who used to stutter as a kid. Studies show that approximately 5% of all children stutter, but three-fourths of them recover at a later stage.

Author Amy Harmon once stated,

“There is comfort in the knowledge that you don’t suffer alone.”

In this article, we have curated quotes from famous people on their experience with stuttering:

Emily Blunt and Stuttering

From the enigmatic Queen Victoria to the mystical Mary Poppins, actor Emily Blunt has been phenomenal in almost every character she has portrayed on screen. However, before the praises, came the ridicules.

Emily Blunt and Stuttering

She used to stutter as a child. The actress once said

“I was a smart kid and had a lot to say, but I just couldn’t say it. It would just haunt me. I never thought I’d be able to sit and talk to someone like I’m talking to you right now.”

Acting proved to be the antidote to her speech impediment. While speaking with an accent in a school play, she discovered that her stuttering had stopped.

For everyone battling with the same demons she faced years ago, Blunt said

It’s nothing to be ashamed of to have a stutter. There is absolutely, 100 percent, a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone who stutters.”

Kendrick Lamar on Stuttering

Like Blunt, many discover their talents in an attempt to tackle stuttering. One such story is of rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Lamar has won a Grammy a staggering 13 times. Before that, his inability to voice his opinions staggered him.

Kendrick Lamar on Stuttering

In eighth grade, his teacher introduced him to the fascinating universe of poetry. Lamar sought refuge in them and soon started playing with words.

“As a kid, I used to stutter. I think that’s why I put my energy into making music. That’s how I got my thoughts out, instead of being crazy all time,” Lamar said about his stuttering.

That’s how a young mind escaped the clutches of shame, and a star was born.

John Updike and His Trysts with Stuttering

John Updike is another inspiration who played with words, in the written form. Born in a family of great orators, Updike’s speech disfluency made him stick out like a sore thumb.

John Updike and His Trysts with Stuttering

He described his stuttering as a

“kind of windowpane suddenly inserted in front of my face while I was talking.”

He resorted to writing. On being asked about how stuttering stimulated his writing career, Updike said:

“You write because you don’t talk very well, and maybe one of the reasons that I was determined to write was that I wasn’t an orator.”

The two-time Pulitzer winning author’s take on stuttering acts a great source of motivation for all –

“Those who stutter win, in the painful pauses of their demonstration that speech isn’t entirely natural; a respectful attention, a tender alertness. Words are, we are reassured, precious.”

Joe Biden’s journey from disfluency to Democratic Party

Being a presidential candidate, Joe Biden is expected to be a master of public speaking.

His precise and articulate arguments have made him a revered politician.

However, he is currently the center of controversy due to his alleged disfluencies.

Decades before he was nominated to fight for presidency of the world’s oldest democracy, Biden was called “Joe Impedimenta” in his high school Latin class.

Joe Biden’s journey from disfluency to Democratic Party

He used to stutter as a kid. The former vice president of the USA found relief in the poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Keats.

Describing how he got rid of his disfluency, Biden said –

“I never had professional therapy, but a couple of nuns taught me to put a cadence to my speaking, and that’s why I spent so much time reading poetry — Emerson and Yeats.”

Even in this day and age, Biden and millions of others have to deal with derogatory comments. On the public perception of stuttering, he said –

“You know, stuttering, when you think about it, is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That they still humiliate people about. And they don’t even mean to.”

Darren Sproles on Not Giving Up

Former American gridiron footballer Darren Sproles was only 6 when he discovered his stuttering.

From then till his university years, the majority of his responses were short.

Things might have continued to be like that for the rest of Sproles’ life, had it not been for a piece of advice he received from his grandfather.

Darren Sproles on Not Giving Up

His grandfather told him “Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t do anything because you stutter.”

The running back (RB) eventually tackled his problem but didn’t stop at that.

He majored in speech pathology to help others going through the same issue.

An inspiration for many, Sproles has advised –

“Just work on it. Take classes and learn more about where stuttering comes from. I always remembered that (my grandfather’s advice) and worked hard at improving my speech.”

Ed Sheeran on embracing one’s eccentricities

Before he topped the Billboards and won four Grammy Awards, Ed Sheeran was a shy kid who used to stutter.

Ed Sheeran on embracing one’s eccentricities

Partly owing to his appearance and partly for his disfluency, his peers shunned him as the “weird” kid. His path towards fluency was similar to Kendrick Lamar’s.

Sheeran’s father gave him a LP record of Eminem when he was nine years old. He found Slim Shady’s fast and melodious raps entrancing.

In a year, Sheeran could sing every song on the record without stuttering.

For the kids who are self-critical because of their disfluency, Sheeran advised –

Everything you think is wrong with you is actually right because that makes you an individual, and that makes you an even more interesting human. That makes you, you.”

Stuttering Quote by David Seidler

In 2011, David Seidler won the Oscar, BAFTA and a plethora of other awards for best screenplay in “The King’s Speech”. But the idea came to him more than six decades ago.

Stuttering Quote by David Seidler

Seidler struggled with stuttering since he was 3. As a child, he naturally thought the problem to be exclusively his.

One day he heard King George VI’s address on the radio and his idea about stuttering changed overnight. Despite the King’s efforts, it was evident that he struggled with his oration.

What Seidler wrote was not only the mere screenplay of a film. As director Tom Hooper stated, it was “his (Seidler’s) own childhood experiences through the guise of these two characters.”

Through acting and psychological methods, Seidler got rid of his speech disfluency at the age of 16.

For those who used to, and those who still stutter, Seidler said –

“If you can live through a childhood of stuttering, you can live through anything. And if you go into adulthood still stuttering, you can handle anything. You have been tempered by the fire.”

John Stossel On Stuttering

We are the products of the limits we set for ourselves. John Stossel is a living testament to the fact. Once a person with a stutter, he is now one of the most celebrated reporters of his era.

At the brink of renouncing his dreams of becoming a reporter, he decided to try speech therapy. In his words,

Once I began to see the results of treatment, I was like a cork out of a bottle. I started talking all the time, celebrating and testing my newly found fluency.

He later served as a spokesperson of the Stuttering Foundation of America (SFA).

Stossel once stated, he had understood that stuttering in public is never as bad as he feared. The 19-time recipient of the Emmy Award said:

“The happiest stutterers, I learned, are those who are willing to stutter in front of others.”

Is There Hope for Everyone who Stutters?

Speech therapy has helped millions of people who used to stutter, in their quest for fluency.

Amongst those millions are some very prominent names.

When celebrities open up about their problems, their words resonate with the emotions of the millions facing similar challenges.

We identify with their struggles. In a way, their stories of success galvanize our fight against stuttering.