Howie Mandel Opens Up About Living With Anxiety and OCD: ‘My Life’s Mission is To Remove the Stigma’

Actor and comedian Howie Mandel opened up about living with anxiety and OCD in PEOPLE’s newest cover story.

The ‘America’s Got Talent’ host first revealed his diagnosis in 2016 and in the new interview he talked about why he waited. “My first thought was that I’ve embarrassed my family,” he said. “Then I thought, ‘Nobody is going to hire somebody who isn’t stable.’ Those were my fears.”

He said that “comedy saved me in a way.” but he still deals with bouts of extreme depression, which viewers may not understand.

“People see inconsistencies, especially in the media. ‘Oh he hugged someone’ or ‘he shook someone’s hand.’ I can shake your hand. But then I’d think I didn’t wash it well enough. And I’d go back and forth in a loop washing my hands for hours. I understand the funny in that. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly painful. And I don’t want to defend my mental health. I just want to maintain it.”

Like many, he struggled during the pandemic. “There isn’t a waking moment of my life when ‘we could die’ doesn’t come into my psyche,” he says. “But the solace I would get would be the fact that everybody around me was okay. It’s good to latch onto okay. But [during the pandemic] the whole world was not okay. And it was absolute hell.”

Mandel said it’s important for him to speak out because his “life’s mission is to remove the stigma. I’m broken. But this is my reality. I know there’s going to be darkness again – and I cherish every moment of light.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Kathy Hutchins /