Olivia Munn suffers from Trichotillomania (compulsive eyelash-pulling)

I’ve actually been trying to lay off of Olivia Munn lately. She still annoys me, and I still think she’s dreadfully unfunny, but I have to give her some credit – she has really great management. She’s hustled her way from failed TV show to box office bomb to relatively successful (or at least, much discussed) TV show (The Newsroom) to a small part in a box office success (Magic Mike). So… I have to actually give her some credit for staying power, and for not falling into the “I’m going to just be known for taking off my clothes” route, and for actually… I don’t know, TRYING to be a legit actress. Still unfunny, still not very talented or anything. But she’s a hustler.

She’s also a plucker. But in the grossest, most neurotic way ever. Olivia has just admitted that she suffers from Trichotillomania – compulsive eyelash-pulling. You know who else has that? Paula Deen.

Olivia Munn is known for being a smart and sexy beauty. Now the Magic Mike star has revealed she suffers from a bizarre anxiety disorder that causes her to pull out her eyelashes!

“I don’t bite my nails, but I rip out my eyelashes,” the actress who also stars in the new HBO hit, Newsroom, told The New York Daily News.

“It doesn’t hurt, but it’s really annoying. Every time I run out of the house, I have to stop and pick up a whole set of fake eyelashes.”

The condition, Trichotillomania, is classified as an impulse control disorder, and can cause those afflicted to pull out hair from any part of their body; eyebrows and eyelashes are the most common.

Her anxiety, Munn admitted, also impacts how she relates to people socially.

“I don’t want people to be mean to me,” she said. “As an Air Force kid, I moved around a lot when I was younger and no one was nice to the new kid. So there is always this feeling that someone will make fun of me.”

[From Radar]

I’m a bit of a compulsive eyebrow-plucker, but I attribute that to the fact that if I leave my eyebrows unattended, they will be ALL OVER my face. It’s beyond a unibrow. The eyelash thing is just… I feel bad for her. It seems like it’s a neurotic self-soothing thing, right? You feel a small little release when you yank out one of your eyelashes? Ugh. That must suck!

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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81 Responses to “Olivia Munn suffers from Trichotillomania (compulsive eyelash-pulling)”

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  1. normades says:

    Wow. That was like the most boring story ever.

  2. Rhea says:

    Must be hurt and comforting at the same time for her…Well, everyone has quirky little habits… *shrugs*

  3. DeltaJuliet says:

    “I don’t want people to be mean to me”

    Honey, no one wants that.

  4. Danziger says:

    I pull both my eyelashes and eyebrows, so often times there are visible gaps in my eyebrows and lashes. Always happens when I’m experiencing strong negative feelings (which is often). I also rub my eyes compulsively, so I’m kind of counting days when I get my first nasty eye infection from fiddling around my eyes with my filthy fingers.
    Munn has many faults, one of them being a surname that actually is a derogatory slang word for ‘cock’ in my native language (and since my humour blows, I laugh every time. Totally not her fault but hey), but this compulsive eyelash pulling? My sincere condolences.

  5. Lena says:

    Well, just plucking your eyelashes is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this compulsive disorder. Some people can’t let hair grow anywhere on their bodies including the hair on their heads, brows and arms. *shudder* I’m actually relieved to hear plucking her eyelashes is the extent of her compulsion. And I’m somewhat surprised to hear that she’s willing to talk about it, being that many sufferers have a hard time addressing their problem.

  6. keats says:

    True life: olivia munn and I have basically the same body. I wish I was body twins with someone cooler :(

  7. Minime says:

    I know that this is picky, and that it wasn’t Kaiser anyway who wrote it, but just for the record: the most common part of the body to pull the hair in Trichotillomania is by far the scalp.

    Not wanting to be mean, but I even wonder if it’s really true or she just thought it would be an interesting story and help people to have a different image of her (like that she is so vulnerable). I have to say that I don’t even know who she actually is apart from what I read here.

    Oh well, at least she can certainly pay for a therapist if she wants.

  8. sanna says:

    I have that. I went a few years when I was younger with no eyebrows or eyelashes. You just have to learn to control it eventually.

    She still sucks though.

  9. Nanea says:

    Trichotillomania is not only compulsive eyelash pulling, but also hair pulling, people do it for the same reasons as others who cut themselves.

    And it’s hard to get help for because it takes a long time for a diagnosis, usually only when other people notice, and by then it’s usually too late for a quick fix with a psychologist.

    Making fun of someone makes it worse.

    • Book lover says:

      Umm really? No. I have trich and there are absolutely NO similarities between why I pull my hair our and why people cut themselves. I have no control over my pulling and it’s not a conscious decision intended to “ease the pain” or “feel something”. Get your fact right before talking about things you have no experience with

      • Freckles says:

        I agree. I have the same problem and am constantly having to stop myself pulling at my eyelashes, eyebrows and occasionally my hair. For me it is nothing to do with easing the pain, it’s a habit. It seems to be worse when I’m bored. I only have a mild version though so still have eyebrows and eyelashes, but they are patchy!

      • atlantapug says:

        Book Lover,
        I pull my hair too, I actually have a small bald spot behind my right ear. I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time.
        I went so far as to get extentions put in to hide the destruction, but i end up pulling those out too. :(
        It sucks, and I like her a lot more knowing she will admit to her issue.
        I always make myself feel better by saying “hey, it’s healthier than smoking”.

      • Minime says:

        Hi girls (I suppose),
        Trichotillomania it’s usually characterized in the spectrum of obsessive compulsive disorders (when it becomes clinical). It is also commonly associated with stress. Anyway, if it doesn’t affect your life in any way, it is just like biting your nails. And well, most of the population, specially women, is a little bit high in the obsessive compulsive spectrum, it doesn’t have to be clinical.

        Anyway, if you feel that it is too much you can always try to check a behavior training program with a therapist (it’s only a set of techniques that might help with changing some habits).

      • Happy21 says:

        I have trich too and I don’t do it to feel anything. I do it without even thinking. I am constantly pulling at my hair. When I am home I always have to put my hair in a pony or I would be bald by now. I read, I pull, I sit, I pull. I’ve been doing it for 20 years.

        Geez, its nothing like cutting and is not the same thing at all!

  10. gee says:

    I never really liked her, but she is killing it on The Newsroom. She’s really, very good on that show.

    • Nan209 says:

      I have to agree. I never had anything for or against her in the first place but I’m surprised at how much I enjoy her character on the show. I also liked her in Magic Mike. I hope she stays away from shock value and keeps aiming for talent value…you get to stick around a lot longer.

    • ZigZagZoey says:

      Totally agree ~ I had never seen her in anything, but I never liked her at all. I do like her in Newsroom, and it shocked me!

    • DreamyK says:

      I was sure Olivia was suffering from something more like sexting diarrhea.

      Someone allegedly hacked her phone and printed the sexts she sent to Chris Pine and..um..yeah. We’re all grown ups here, but, uh, yeah. She sounds like she’s pretty comfortable talking dirty to a guy she was over and done with in 5 months. And by dirty I mean porny. And not like, super good porn either. Sort of run of the mill porn. And, you know, maybe some daddy issues, which creeped me out a bit.

  11. Riana says:

    For anyone who is curious, you should YouTube the disorder to see the often heartbreaking effects.

    It can really consume and damage a person’s life.

    As for Munn I’m indifferent to her. She seems to be the more obvious example in a crowd who are all the same as her. There are vey few actors and actresses left who are about their craft and not simply the money and attention.

  12. C says:

    Ive had trich since I was 12, over half my life. I only pull from my scalp though. it’s very frustrating disease, I want to be normal. it sucks to always have to worry where you part your hair.

  13. ShanKat says:

    If i had to fellate Harvey Weinstein (allegedly!), I’d pull my soul out. Maybe she just isn’t trying hard enough.

  14. The Original Mia says:

    Is this supposed to make her more interesting? Like Kim K’s psoriasis?

    • Macey says:

      Im pretty sure thats the goal. She would pretty much say anything to get a headline. Im surprised she didnt go the ED route just for more sympathy/attention.
      Dont get me wrong, I have a lot of empathy for anyone struggling with either of those disorders, its just this chick will pretty much say or do anything to stay in the news. funny she never brought this up before in any of her other interviews.

  15. Isabel says:

    I believe the term is confused with compulsive dick-pulling, seeing her trackrecord on the castingcouch.

  16. cupidityrox! says:

    My brother has the same condition. He pulls from his scalp & eyebrows. He even pulls hair from other people’s scalp! It’s frustrating & he wants to stop but it seems very difficult. I on the other hand chew my nails relentlessly..ugh!

  17. ama says:

    Enough with this useless twat. She’s not talented and not interesting, even with her hair pulling.

    I wouldn’t pee on her if she was on fire.

  18. Carly says:

    Trichotillomania isn’t just eyelash-hair-pulling. It’s any body hair-pulling. I have it, and I only pull the hair on the top of my head. It’s…not fun.

  19. Aquarius says:

    As others have said, my first thought when I read the headline was, “‘just’ eyelash-pulling? Wow.” I have a relative with trichotillomania who has pulled out so much of their hair that it won’t grow back in places, and what does grow back is very thin and brittle. They’ve been wearing wigs for years (and they are in their late thirties now). It’s very sad. I hope that eyelash-pulling is the extent of it for Munn.

  20. radishred says:

    I have trichotillomania. I used to pull out my eyelashes when I was a little kid. Now I pull out my hair. I take medication for it and it’s gotten much better. I used to pull out hundreds or thousands of hairs a day. Now I pull out only a few, or some days none at all. The meds have been a miracle. I don’t have bald spots anymore. It’s amazing.

    • C says:

      Wow awesome! do you mind sharing the name of your medication?

      • radishred says:

        The medication that has worked best for me is called Abilify (aripiprazole). I take 4 mg a day, and that dose took me from pulling thousands of hairs a day to around 0-20 hairs a day. I still pick at my scalp though, but not as much as before.

        I also tried Risperdal (risperidone) and Zeldox (ziprasidone) which sort of worked, but not as well. Those two drugs are in the same class as Abilify (atypical antipsychotics), but for some reason they didn’t work as well. So if you try one antipsychotic and it doesn’t work, I would just keep trying other ones.

        I just now started supplementing the Abilify with Topamax (topiramate) which is also supposed to help with the trichotillomania. Topamax is also supposed to help me lose weight. I have noticed a reduction in my appetite and I think it’s helping with the hair-pulling/scalp-picking but it’s too soon to really know. The hope is that with the Abilify + Topamax combined, I won’t pull any hair at all, I’ll stop picking my scalp, and I’ll also lose weight.

        I recommend that anyone who suffers from trichotillomania give Abilify a try. The studies on it are promising and it has been an absolute wonder drug for me. Also, it has minimal side effects. In fact, I didn’t have any side effects at all at 4 mg/day.

      • Minime says:

        @ radishred: I’m happy that you managed to achieve some success with that medication, but why not giving it a try with behavior training? It is suppose to be the most effective (specially if you have trichotillomania isolated from other disorders) and it’s medication free. I don’t want to sound sanctimoniously about it, maybe you already tried it and it didn’t work for you. The thing is that what medication does, most of the times, is just to trick your brain. If you have any condition that might be provoking this behavior it won’t actually help with it but just hide it. And all this medication has great neurological side effects when used in long term (and usually they also provoke dependence). But well, I understand that when nothing else works medication might be the best but I would say that as a first approach behavior training and therapy are the best option.

      • radishred says:


        sorry, can’t reply directly to you for some reason.

        I actually did try cognitive behavioural therapy first. I did CBT one-on-one with a psychologist. Then I did CBT in a trichotillomania group (10 group sessions, 2 hours each). Then I even did a bunch of sessions with a hypnotherapist. None of it worked.

        The CBT for trichotillomania is a group of techniques aimed at ‘habit-reversal-training’. Which I think is great if one’s hair-pulling is essentially a bad habit/maladaptive means of coping with stress, without an underlying chemical imbalance. However, I have several other psychiatric conditions (tourrette’s, OCD, ADHD, anxiety, and bipolar), so I’m certain that I have a neurochemical imbalance underlying my trichotillomania. I think this is why CBT alone never worked on my hair-pulling. There is a chemical imbalance in my brain driving my hair-pulling, and no amount of behaviour techniques was fixing that underlying problem. I needed medication to fix that chemical problem. Without fixing that imbalance, I couldn’t resist pulling out my hair, even with all the behavioural training, relaxation therapy, and hypnotherapy in the world.

        Does that make sense?

      • Minimi says:

        @ radishred

        That makes a lot of sense! Sorry to “hear” that. It’s great that finally you found something that works for you. Every case is different and our brain is such a complicated machine…

  21. annerox says:

    I had a friend in elementry school that did that. She would pull out every hair on her face and even started on her hair line to make it even.

  22. ZigZagZoey says:

    Well, I don’t pull it out, but I PLAY with my hair constantly. So much so that if someone shaved my head I think I would go insane!
    I have long hair, and I am always braiding it and twisting it. I thank God that it doesn’t drive my husband nuts!

  23. serena says:

    Unibrow? LOL Kaiser you made me laugh xD

  24. Luls says:

    And yet she manages to find natural-looking eyelashes in Hollywood. Olivia should give Kim K her number.

  25. Brittany says:

    I met an older woman who had plucked all her eyelashes out and it was weird looking…

    Side note: I go to school with Olivia’s cousin and I asked if she was a bitch and he said something like, “Well, I’m related to her, but outside of the family, she would probably be considered one.” Hahahaha

  26. irishserra says:

    Huh, this is so interesting! I have it too. It’s something we never talked about in my family. My parents noticed when I was 11 that I had bald patches on my scalp and no eyelashes and they were horrified. My grandmother made an appointment with a therapist for me and when he told her the diagnosis she almost fell off of her chair laughing. I quit doing it somewhere around middle school for the most part, but I still catch myself now and again and I have to make a conscious effort to stop.

  27. Rachel says:

    I have this. It’s gotten a lot better than when I first started doing it, when I was around 10. For me it was mostly eyelashes, though I will pull other hairs, too. I didn’t even notice I was doing it until my parents noticed that my eyelashes were disappearing… yeah, it sucks. I feel for her.

  28. alison8701 says:

    I have it as well (there’s a lot of us here!) and I’m glad she’s talking about it. It took me forever to realize what I was doing, I never really thought about it. The patches of missing eyelashes were abnormal I guess so I finally looked it up, and was comforted to see it was a real thing. It’s kind of a strange disorder in that it’s not really self-harm, and it’s about impulse control, so you really don’t attribute it to anything, though I feel for me it is stress internalized.

    Knowing how common it trich is can be very comforting. I read that Colin Farrel and Paula Abdul also have it.

    • Meg says:

      I’ve had trich since I was 7. Eyelashes and eyebrows. Mostly the latter now. It sort of comes and goes. I’m in my mid-30s.

      I don’t know who Olivia is. But if she suffers from trich, then I feel bad for her. I’m glad that many others here know how it feels. It’s an embarrassing problem to discuss with anyone.

  29. Tansey says:

    I used to do the same thing when I was a kid. My parents went through an awful, years long custody battle over me (I think I’ve mentioned that on here before) from the time I was 2 until I was about 7 years old. Due to all the stress and anxiety in my home that I picked up on, I started having nervous ticks and habits. I was losing my hair, had facial twitches, started stuttering, and pulling out my eyelashes. I was a pretty messed up kid. My dad even pulled me out of my karate and piano classes because he was afraid the other kids would start making fun of me. My dad and grandparents ended up having me see a child psychologist for a while and it really helped a lot. I no longer suffer from any kinds of nervous habits or ticks, but it took until I was a teenager to completely go away.

  30. alison8701 says:

    I also wonder if she has any other impulse control related things. Dermotillomania (skin-picking) is related, but also when I was a kid I had a really hard time controlling my emotions and just hitting my sister. Sounds normal, but the urge to smack or yell still stays with me.

  31. Viv says:

    Is it me or does Olivia Munn come out with weird stuff out off the blue every once in a while? Trich is a serious condition and I hope she did not make this up. I am all for celebrities lending their face to show support but I would have thought Munn would be keeping quiet on something that concerns her looks in the superficial world of Hollywood.

  32. Smarty2 says:

    My daughter has trich that stops at her eyelashes. It is heartbreaking because she has long, double row eyelashes and HUGE blue eyes. She can’t stop pulling them out and CBT has not worked. She gets teased all the time :( Kids are so cruel.

  33. GrandPoobah says:

    I have it and it sucks. I too, like most other people, didn’t realize it was a problem until I had patches missing from my eyebrows and eyelashes.

    I’ve never pulled hair from my scalp but trich includes ALL compulsive hair-pulling, not just eyelashes. Some people even pull their pubic hair to keep people from noticing their problem.

    I did it most when i was depressed; now I do it when I’m bored or my hands aren’t occupied. I don’t feel any kind of “release” from it. I feel for her if she really has this. It’s no fun at all.

  34. Carly says:

    It’s NOT just eyelash/eyebrow, it can be ANYWHERE with hair. You might have wanted to actually look up the disorder before posting.

  35. normades says:

    I started by saying this was the most boring post ever, but the comments have made this great. Pure gold y’all. Sorry to all who actually suffer this.

  36. Amy says:

    I didn’t even realize this had a name until a few years ago. I’m an anxious person and I have dealt with anxiety all my life. I may or may not have a disorder, never been diagnosed, but I come from a family of anxious people.

    Anyways I started picking my eyebrows when I was in late elementary/middle school. I’m not sure why, I had a stable childhood so it had nothing to with some traumatic event. For years, my family tried to get me to stop. Finally my mother found a book a few years ago and we found out it was trichitillomania. I have gone through periods where I had huge holes in my eyebrows because I was picking so much–it really sucks! I finally filled it in with eyebrow pencil and I actually was able to leave my brows alone while the hair grew back. But as soon as I stopped with the eyebrow pencil, I started picking at it again. It’s a tough “bad habit” to control and most likely those who have it will deal with it for the rest of our lives.

  37. Janet says:

    I had a co-worker who used to pull her hair out. She had two big bald spots on her head. At times it got so bad she had to wear a hat. I never could figure out what pleasure she derived from doing that.

  38. shorty jay says:

    I know people don’t think this is an exciting story, but as someone with TTM, I’m rather proud of her for “coming out,” so to speak. I’m a hair-puller, myself, and it’s fucking embarrassing – I have patches of scar tissue on my scalp and people say the rudest things about it. Which is darkly hilarious, since it’s something that’s usually associated with OCD (which I have) and other anxiety disorders and the negative attention can surely be a trigger for the behavior! It’s not an easy thing to live with, for sure; it makes you incredibly self-conscious.

  39. She has been quoted in several articles going back to 2010 about having trichotillomania. It’s generally not a disorder someone pretends to have, it’s pretty devastating for most. Just the fact that she mentioned the word “trichotillomania” has educated the millions of people who didn’t know it had a name, suffering in silence and shame. So, character assessments aside, she made a big difference for lots of girls today. If you have trich, visit trich.org to find an in-person or online support group, a therapist, or at the very least, learn about what treatments DO work and which ones don’t….You are not alone!

  40. Laura says:

    For more information about trichotillomania, check out trich.org To help spread awareness, support the documentary Trichster at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1024153773/trichster.