14 of the World’s Most Famous Narcissists
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder often have an inflated sense of superiority, an inability to empathize with others, and a constant need for admiration. They lack empathy and crave being the center of attention. Narcissists are also manipulative and take advantage of others to achieve their goals of attaining boundless beauty, power, and knowledge. They view themselves as unique and “one-of-a-kind” individuals who expect preferential treatment.
History has shown us the world is full of narcissists. Famous celebrities sometimes show signs of NPD, with many actors and singers having narcissistic traits they display on stage or in public. Sometimes they demand the spotlight at any event they attend or spend all day trolling on social media just to get a reaction. Throughout history, leaders, kings, and dictators have shown narcissistic personality disorder traits. These tyrants were often successful due to their manipulative behavior and grandiose sense of self-importance. Let’s take a closer look at the most famous narcissists.
14 of the World’s Most Famous Narcissists
1. King Henry VIII
During the reign of King Henry VIII, the terms “narcissist” and “narcissistic personality disorder” didn’t exist. Otherwise, he’d be known as “King Narcissist.” Henry was the King of England from 1509 to 1547. At the start of his reign, his loyal subjects and followers referred to him as “handsome” and “charismatic.” Later in life, he became known for his enormous ego and vanity, despite being overweight.
He’s best known for having six wives and wanting to have a son. In fact, he did whatever it took to accomplish that goal, such as separating from the Church to divorce his first wife. He also famously beheaded two of his six wives when one failed to produce an heir and the other committed adultery before marriage. A common narcissistic characteristic of tyrants like King Henry is their lack of empathy for the pain inflicted on innocent people.
2. Adolf Hitler
Notorious dictator Adolf Hitler is undoubtedly one of history’s most infamous narcissists. Hitler was responsible for murdering millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust, starting World War II, and killing millions more. Known as a cruel and violent leader, Hitler believed he and white Germans were the superior race and that everyone else was beneath them and needed to comply with his demands, a typical narcissist trait.
He used propaganda to manipulate his followers into getting his way. Hitler showed no empathy for the pain, suffering, and death he caused. Hitler’s actions and motivation are characteristics of a self-obsessed narcissist.
History remembers Napoleon Bonaparte as a great military leader who became the Emperor of the French and one of the most dominant commanders. He’s also one of history’s most famous narcissists. Napoleon had a reputation for being excessively aggressive and grandiose to compensate for his low self-esteem and inferiority complex.
Standing at just 5’6″, Bonaparte definitely had “little man syndrome,” which is commonly known as “Napoleon complex.” This term is used to describe anyone that overcompensated by being aggressive. Napoleon was known for believing he was special and looked down on those he felt didn’t equal him, another common narcissistic trait.
4. Steve Jobs
The co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs, is one of the most influential inventors in history. He clearly showed signs of narcissistic personality disorder during his time on the planet. Jobs often exploited and bullied those that worked for him. He had a manipulative personality and would use it to achieve his goals regardless of the cost. Jobs was more concerned with his inflated sense of importance and required constant admiration for his genius.
The Apple founder was famous for wearing a simple outfit with sneakers as he’d unveil his newest product alone, making himself the center of attention. Like other successful business magnates, Jobs likely had a narcissistic personality disorder, which helped him succeed in the business world but negatively impacted his personal life.
5. Elon Musk
The founder of Tesla and owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, fits into the category of a narcissist. Like many people called a “visionary,” Musk has a grandiose sense of self-importance. Often referred to as a “genius,” Musk displays many signs of narcissism, such as his dislike of being criticized or his unlimited confidence. He also tends to make promises he won’t be able to keep, like deadlines, and his recent purchase of the social media platform Twitter has seen him spending much of his time craving attention and admiration via his ridiculous tweets.
On the positive side, his narcissism is closely related to his unrelenting drive for success. Musk has mentioned struggling with depression and anxiety in the past, which can be linked to people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder.
6. Donald Trump
The former President of the United States, Donald Trump, has a long-term pattern of displaying narcissistic traits throughout his life. Trump has a history of making grandiose claims and promises with little or no evidence, such as the giant border wall. This has led the media to describe him as a “malignant narcissist.”
Trump strongly needed constant admiration from his staff and other politicians while in office. He rarely showed loyalty to his staff and used them to achieve his goals. When they no longer suited his needs, he would feud with them. Trump is also arrogant, pompous, and shows a lack of empathy. Although a horrible person, Trump’s narcissistic personality helped him build a loyal fan base, leading to The Apprentice host winning the 2016 Presidential election.
Narcissistic personality disorder has a positive side to it as well. Narcissists have an intense drive, are workaholics, and will do whatever it takes to succeed. The iconic singer Madonna checks off all those boxes.
In the 1980s, Madonna was easily the most famous superstar on the planet. She influenced fashion, music, and Hollywood. It’s no surprise she shows narcissistic traits. Madonna even admits that she craves being the center of attention. She often displays narcissistic attributes with her wild stage persona and shocking outfits. Madonna’s need to be in the spotlight has helped keep her relevant all these years.
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8. Alexander the Great
In 336 BC, Alexander the Great ascended to the throne, becoming King of Macedon. Under the leadership of Alexander, the ancient Greek kingdom stretched from Greece to India. Historians regard him as one of the greatest military strategists. He’s also one of the most well-known narcissists.
Alexander strongly desired to conquer other locations, leading him to create one of history’s most impressive armies. He pushed his troops into constant wars to achieve his own goals and dreams, no matter the cost. Alexander was obsessed with his image and appearance, a common narcissistic characteristic. He also tended to be cruel, overly competitive, and lacked empathy for the death and destruction he caused during his reign.
9. Kanye West
Kanye West is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. Just ask him: he’ll tell you. West has a grandiose sense of self-importance. West shows multiple signs of narcissistic personality disorder and other mental illnesses.
For example, he once told the New York Times, “I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.” In addition to craving admiration, he constantly needs the spotlight, like when he famously interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV Awards. In the last few years, his erratic behavior and anti-Semitic remarks have stirred up even more controversy. West’s narcissistic personality disorder is likely related to more significant mental health issues that he will hopefully get treatment for.
10. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson became one of the most famous and controversial celebrities in history during his time in the spotlight. The “King of Pop” released a series of groundbreaking albums throughout the 80s. In the 90s, he faced accusations of sexually assaulting underage boys. Despite his public persona Jackson frequently displayed narcissistic attributes. He manipulated individuals to get his own way and had a history of being a control freak.
Jackson also appeared to be obsessed with himself and required constant attention. The “Thriller” singer was said to be vain and put importance on his looks, causing him to change his appearance drastically through numerous plastic surgeries. Jackson loved nothing more than being in the spotlight and would do anything to get it.
11. Kim Kardashian
Reality star and socialite Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous people on Earth. Fans and critics have been accusing Kardashian of being a narcissist since she became a household name in the early 00s. Those opinions intensified when she released a book of selfies.
Kardashian doesn’t fit into each category perfectly but displays certain narcissistic traits. She openly admits that her appearance is important and vital to her life. Kardashian also enjoys being the center of attention and craves endless admiration. In contrast, she does show empathy for family, friends, and others. Kardashian also struggles with low self-esteem and other insecurities, showing she suffers from the same fears as many others.
12. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is famous for her iconic voice, chart-topping albums, and inflated sense of self-importance. Carey is one of those artists that shows a few signs of narcissism but doesn’t tick every box.
She’s known for needing constant attention and always needs to be in the spotlight. Carey appears to have an excessive sense of self-importance and requires admiration. Carey is known for getting easily angry and insulted when she doesn’t get the attention she craves.
13. Paris Hilton
Socialite and TV personality Paris Hilton rose to fame partly because of her self-absorbed persona. In the early 2000s, the media often labeled Hilton as a narcissist. She shows traits of narcissistic personality disorder, such as craving attention from photographers, a sense of entitlement, and focusing on her appearance. Hilton disagrees with the assertion, claiming to have changed her ways.
14. Miley Cyrus
In the early 2010s, Miley Cyrus shed the innocent Disney Channel star image and embraced a sultry and risque persona. Cyrus made headlines with provocative and sexual performances to further move away from her Hannah Montana image. Cyrus’s racy and wild behavior is a common trait among narcissists.
At the time, she did whatever it took to be the center of attention, like dancing with Robin Thicke during the controversial MTV Awards performance. Her shocking behavior had everyone talking about her. Cyrus reinvented herself again with a more mature image, although she still loves to be the center of attention.
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