Sam Thompson would cry trying to revise for exams due to his ADHD

Sam Thompson
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Jeff Spicer/Getty)


Sam Thompson, famed for his role in Made in Chelsea, has candidly opened up about his struggles with anxiety and ADHD during his academic years. The reality star admits that the pressure of exams once led to an emotional breakdown.

The 31 year old confided his fears of disappointing his family if he didn't secure a university placement. Whilst attending a promotional event for the upcoming Disney and Pixar film, Inside Out 2, in which he features, Sam shared: "I was anxious about my grades all the time.

"My grades sucked, I failed all of my A-Levels. I felt like I had to apologise to my parents that I wasn't going to go to university and I had so much anxiety about that."

Attributing some of his academic challenges to ADHD, he revealed: "I think a lot of that was ADHD. I really struggled to revise and concentrate on a lot of things."

He pointed to the harmful impact of conditions like ADHD and anxiety, stating: "With things like ADHD and anxiety, you overanalyse and over plan, and think about things which haven't even happened. You're always thinking five steps ahead, which can be quite detrimental."

Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson, was recently announced as a UK voice cameo for Security Man Sam in the upcoming film -Credit:Getty

Sam, who earned the crown in last December's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, stars alongside celebrated actress Amy Poehler, who voices the character got Joy. The latest chapter of Inside Out brings new emotions Envy, Ennui, Embarrassment and Anxiety into the fold alongside Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.

Recalling his study struggles, the TV personality said: "I remember looking down at my textbook once and I cried into my textbook because the words won't go in. The words aren't going into my head and I couldn't understand why."

Despite various revision techniques, nothing seemed to work. He admitted: "I tried using coloured pens and post it notes, colour code everything, and nothing would go in.

"Now, I understand that I had ADHD and really struggled to focus. But back then, it came with so much anxiety."

Sam, who is known as the voice behind Security Man Sam, reflected on his school days, noting that while his teachers were "lovely", they lacked the understanding needed to aid his learning. "I was slamming my hand down and couldn't understand why.

"The teachers were lovely, but I was from an era where it was just before people started understanding neurodiversity. We looked at years of my report cards as part of my diagnosis for ADHD and they all said the same thing. 'Nice guy, really likeable person, needs to apply himself more'."

"But they never knew why that was the case. I used to get very frustrated."

Sam won I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and first found fame on Channel 4's Made In Chelsea
Sam won I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and first found fame on Channel 4's Made In Chelsea -Credit:Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

During a talk at TikTok's London headquarters, Sam reminisced about one English teacher, Mr Balfour, who was quite strict but acknowledged good work. "He would really push me and tell me when I was doing well" Sam said.

He added: "English literature was the only subject which I got an A in, and he wrote to me during the summer holidays to tell me how proud he was."

Regarding another memorable teacher from 22 years ago, Mr Foster, Sam said: "There was a stricter teacher during prep school. He knew I loved football so much, and I wasn't the best, but he always tried to put me in a good team to help with my mental psyche.

"I didn't realise at the time, but now I look back, that guy clearly understood me and saw how much sport meant to me." Sam cites age and time as his healers, claiming he has finally discovered ways to manage his emotions effectively.

He professed: "I think a lot of it is realising we are all the same. No one is better than anyone else. I know this sounds so cliché, but the moment I turned 30, I stopped caring about what people thought."

Reflecting on his school years, Sam's advice to today's youth is simple: stop being concerned about how others perceive you. "Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. I still have that problem now, but if you're having a bad day, you feel the world is over.

"But two weeks later, no-one even remembers. That is something I'd tell myself. As someone who has been very open in the past about my own feelings, I've loved being part of a film that not only showcases all our thoughts and feelings, but celebrates them as well."

Inside Out 2 sees Sam sharing the stage with Amy Poehler who voices Joy, Pete Docter, Pixar's chief creative officer, and director Kelsey Mann. Inside Out 2 will hit cinemas exclusively from Friday 14 June.