Celebs who are huge germophobes

"I'm not scared of germs. I'm just aware of them. I'm not into other people's fluids unless I know them really well!" actress Cameron Diaz once said in 2009. We have to admit, that's pretty solid advice. However, some celebrities are not only aware of germs but have a legitimate fear of any bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoa.

Billionaire Howard Hughes reportedly covered his bare feet with "tissue boxes" in order "to protect them," per the American Psychological Association. And according to Mirror, pop queen Madonna requires a new toilet seat at every venue she visits, and hires a DNA team to remove every trace of her once she leaves. In other words, if you're a germophobe, it pays to be rich and famous.

From an aversion to love scenes for fear of parasites, to a horrific repulsion at the thought of shaking hands with a stranger, here are a few celebs who are huge germophobes. No hand sanitizer is needed to read this article.

Howie Mandel

Comedian and former Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel suffers from debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe germophobia. He even published a 2009 memoir titled Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me, which detailed his lifelong struggle with OCD and fear of germs.

Mandel won't touch handrails — he calls them his "enemy" — and refuses to shake hands, even with friends or family. "In my mind [my hand] is like a petri dish. … Otherwise, I would spend the day, as I have in the past in my life in the men's room rubbing and scrubbing and scalding," he said (via ABC News). He also said that his germophobia lead him to be bald by choice "This feels so streamlined and so clean," he explained.

The Bobby's World creator revealed that he didn't tie shoes as a child due to his crippling fear of disease. "Well, I could, but I didn't want to touch it. But I don't want to say I'm afraid to touch it because it's dirty, so I didn't," he recalled. "I would try to keep my shoe on so I would drag one foot behind me, because if I lifted my foot the shoe would come off." 

Megan Fox

In a 2010 interview with Allure (via HuffPost) Megan Fox admitted that she has OCD, but only when it comes to toilets without seat covers and restaurant silverware. "This is a sickness, I have an illness," the Jennifer's Body star explained. "I'm never doing that again. Every time someone uses a bathroom and they flush, all the bacteria is shot into the air." Thanks for that visual, Megan. 

And if you ever get the chance to take her out to dinner, make sure the place has plastic utensils. "Putting my mouth where a million other mouths have been, just knowing all the bacteria that you carry in your mouth? Ucch!" she said. Her fear of used silverware could be easily solved by cooking at home, but that's off the menu as well. "I'll starve to death before I'll cook for myself. I think I could survive a week without eating," she continued. 

Thankfully, Fox got some relief from her germ-related anxieties when she became a mom. Speaking with Marie Claire in 2013 (via Female First), the Transformers star still described herself as a "germophobe," but said that since being forced to deal with the — ahem — messiness that comes along with caring for an infant, she feels "80 percent better, which is nice."

Donald Trump

Donald Trump's well-documented aversion to germs became political during the 2015 Republican primaries when Jeb Bush responded to Trump's attacks by asking voters (via New York Post) do they want "a candidate who strives to shake every hand everywhere" or "a germophobe when it comes to shaking hands?"

Bush apparently pulled that attack from a deep cut — Trump's 1997 book The Art of the Comeback. "One of the curses of American society is the simple act of shaking hands, and the more successful and famous one becomes the worse this terrible custom seems to get," the real-estate mogul wrote (via New York Post). "I happen to be a clean hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible."

During a 1993 interview with Howard Stern (via Newsweek), Trump admitted that he prefers "drinking through a straw" to avoid germs and washes his hands as many times "as possible" throughout the day. And don't ask him to shake your hand in a public bathroom, which fans have apparently done to the mogul-turned-POTUS after they just finished "standing there grabbing the urinal for balance. "They go up and they, they want to shake your hand," Trump told the shock jock, adding, "They're not doing it to be bad people." Okay, that one we completely understand avoiding. 

Robbie Williams

During the BBC's 2017 New Year's Eve concert (via The Sun), singer Robbie Williams "grimaced and used anti-bacterial gel after shaking the audiences' hands." The majority of the crowd thought it was hilarious, but in an interview with the publication, the former Take That member said that moving to Los Angeles made him afraid of germs. 

"Around the house I have mouthwash and hand sanitizer everywhere," he explained. "I have caught that in LA. I'm a bit of a germophobe. I find it difficult shaking people's hands now." Having that much mouthwash and hand sanitizer around could lead to unforeseen problems if you aren't careful, and Williams learned the hard way when he attempted to hide his new smoking habit from his wife. "When you're new to smoking you get a heavy buzz, so during this heavy buzz my legs wouldn't work, and I couldn't get back into the house, and I started to panic," he said. "Instead of using mouthwash, I gargled hand sanitizer. I was desperate." 

Charlie Hunnam

Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam was all set to portray Christian Grey in the erotic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, but he abruptly exited the project before filming began. In a 2015 interview with VMan, Hunnam cited scheduling issues as his reason for leaving, but there might be another reason — he loves his girlfriend and hates germs.

"Because I'm in a very committed relationship, and I'm also cognizant that it's not my girlfriend's favorite part of my job," he told Elle in 2017. "It's a delicate balance to strike — to be emotionally open enough to have an experience that feels honest between two people but also maintain that it's just for the film. It's not my favorite thing to do. I'm also a germophobe." 

He added that he's been afraid of germs since he was a "young child" after hearing about "a parasite from dogs in the north of England" that could turn anyone who digests it blind. "That horrified me," he explained. "The point is, everyone thinks it's great to be an actor and get to kiss a bunch of beautiful actresses in films, but I actually hate it."

Elvis

Legendary singer Elvis had millions of adoring fans who would want to touch him at all times, and we expect that's not an ideal situation if you're afraid of germs. During a 2015 interview with HuffPo UK, his widow Priscilla Presley detailed her late husband's aversion to touching things. 

"One of the things that Elvis did — first of all when he was young — he never liked to go to people's homes to eat because didn't like eating with other people's silverware," she revealed. "So he would take his own silverware and he didn't like drinking out of cups that other people had drunk out of, even restaurants or other people's homes so when he drank, he would drink where the handle was knowing that no one would ever drink at that side."

Calling him "a bit" germophobic, Priscilla claimed Elvis' fear was orally ingested bacteria. "He just didn't like being around other things that people handled a lot," she explained. "He was that way when he was young, very young, a young boy … I think he just didn't like to put his mouth where other people put their mouth, with silverware, things that you put in your mouth."

Gwyneth Paltrow

You can read Gwyneth Paltrow singing the praises of probiotics on her lifestyle brand Goop, but in a 2011 interview to promote Contagion, the Oscar-winner revealed that when it comes to other kinds of bacteria, she'd rather stay far away. 

During an appearance on the UK television show Lorraine (via Yahoo!), Paltrow called herself "a little bit borderline" when comes to germs. "There was actually a New York Observer article — they sent a microbiologist out in New York City to swab surfaces, like a clean glass in a five star restaurant, the subway, handles, and it was so disturbing what they found, and since that article I've been a hand washer," she said.

In a 2016 interview with The Independent, the Shakespeare In Love actress shared her routine of dealing with germs after air travel. "When I land, I try to find a sauna to sit in for 20 minutes to help me sweat out all the germs from the plane." Paltrow is definitely a regular, down-to-earth person.

Jennifer Lawrence

You can always count on Jennifer Lawrence for some TMI on almost every topic, so she took the opportunity in a 2018 interview with Howard Stern to talk about her sex life as it relates to her fear of germs. 

"I am all bark and no bite," she said of her tendency to portray herself as promiscuous. "But the truth is when I look back at my sexual past it was always with boyfriends," she said (via Daily Mail). "I talk like I like it, but I don't really do it. I am mostly also a germophobe. I have made it this far without an STI, she continued, adding, "D**k is dangerous." Maybe they should teach that in high school sex education classes. She delved even further into her fears by saying, "If I was at the point where I could get an STI, doctors have already been involved. That is how much of a germophobe I am."

Lawrence was single at the time of the interview but admitted she'd work through her fears for the right dude. "I am making it clear that I have not had sex in a very long time," she quipped. "I would like to have a relationship, you know. It is hard out there."

Lisa Rinna

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna is such a germophobe she wrote a blog on Bravo about "gross" hotel rooms. "I'm sorry, but if you think of the who, what and where that TV changer has been, you would wipe that whole f***ing place down just like I do with my alcohol wipes," she wrote. Can't say we blame her. But it's not just hotel rooms.

Page Six reported that "the moment after boarding an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to LAX" in 2016, Rinna waged war on germs. "She is a well-known germaphobe, and once she got on the plane, whipped out a canister of sanitary wipes and cleaned down her seat, tray, everything," a source said. "Then she announced if anyone else wanted their seat wiped . . . and went ahead and started cleaning the seat in front of her, screaming it was 'disgusting!'" She even left her fellow travelers a gift in the airplane bathroom. "When she went to the bathroom, she covered every surface with toilet paper and basically left it that way, so the next passenger had to figure out what to do with all the paper," the source continued.

And if you think Rinna was embarrassed by these so-called eyewitness accounts, think again. Here's how she summed up her personal motto in regards to germs (via Bravo): "You betcha OCD baby, but if that keeps the bodily fluids/germs off of me, then it's so well worth it folks!"