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What do the stars fear?
( 2003-12-18 09:38) (abcnews.com)

The rich and famous have nothing to fear but ´ their own phobias

We've all got irrational fears. Most of us just don't have the money to afford 12 boxes of Kleenex like germ-phobic billionaire Howard Hughes.

But in a time when celebrity obsession is running at an all-time high, it's interesting to note that some stars have obsessions even more bizarre than our own.

You'd think Bill Bob Thornton's only fear might be ex-wife Angelina Jolie. But Thornton's got so many phobias, he makes Woody Allen look like Russell Crowe.

Like a lot of people, Thornton struggles with aviophobia (fear of flying) and chromophobia (fear of bright colors). But what do you call the fear of antiques? The Bad Santa star refuses to stay in a room with furniture built before 1950.

Fear of Fears

Phobias ! persistent fears that interfere with our lives ! affect the lives some 14.8 million Americans to varying degrees.

If you're deathly afraid of getting married, you might suffer from gamophobia (fear of weddings), genophobia (fear of sex) or even pentheraphobia (fear of mothers-in-law).

But before you develop phobophobia (fear of fears), rest assured that most of us learn to cope with our phobias and lead relatively normal lives.

But what if you had the money to indulge your fears and idiosyncrasies? In what sort of Neverland would you live?

Would you sort clothing according to color, like European soccer star David Beckham? Click through the following pages for a look at the phobias of the rich and famous, including John Madden, Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

1.David Beckham: Ataxophobia

Talk about perfectionism: In David Beckham's closet, each shirt is filed according to its color. Each can of soda is lined up in his refrigerator like soldiers at attention. Beckham is sometimes described as an ataxophobic ! a person who fears disorder.

"Everything has to match in the house," his wife, Victoria, formerly known as Posh Spice, told People magazine two years ago. "If there are three cans of diet Coke he'd throw one away rather than having three because it's uneven."

Beckham is a god on the football field. And in this case, cleanliness really is next to godliness.

At times, he's been known to pick out clothing that matches his furniture.

"He makes perfect arrangements out of things," said Ian Denyar, who directed a 2002 TV documentary on the football star. "The DVD player has to be parallel to the edge of the table."

2. Christina Ricci: Botanophobia

Here's something to put in Christina Ricci's Christmas stocking ! a Weed Whacker. The 23-year-old actress admitted to British Esquire this summer that she suffers from a form of botanophobia ! and we're not exactly talking about Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

Ricci swears she's afraid of houseplants. "They are dirty," she said. "If I have to touch one, after already being repulsed by the fact that there is a plant indoors, then it just freaks me out."

Ricci's also not so keen on swimming pools: "I won't swim in a pool by myself because I think that somehow a little magic door is going to open up and let the shark out."

3. Roger Moore: Hoblophobia

Being The Man With The Golden Gun gave Roger Moore a nervous tic. The star of seven James Bond films was decidedly more shaken than stirred by his License to Kill firearms.

"The only acting I ever did was trying not to blink because as soon as I pick up a gun I start blinking," said Moore at a 1993 UNICEF fund-raiser.

In espionage, however, a nervous secret agent can hide under his bed and still tell his boss he's deep undercover.

4. Woody Allen: Anhedonia

Woody Allen turned his neurosis into a career. "I've been killing spiders since I was 30,'' he boasts to Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.

In addition to various insects, Allen also claims to have morbid fears of sunshine, dogs, children, heights, small rooms, crowds, cancer and various illnesses, and any place on earth outside Manhattan.

Is he really such an emotional wreck? Or is it just well-worn shtick that pays for the therapy bills? It's hard to say.

There might be a clue in the original title of Annie Hall. Allen wanted to call it Anhedonia ! the inability to feel pleasure.

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