Denise Richards Battles Throw-Up Phobia

October 6th, 2005 // 61 Comments

She says, “I have a throw-up phobia. I’m terrified of throwing up. I don’t know why. It’s beyond not enjoying it, (I have) a fear of it. Terrified, ever since I was little.

“If someone’s around me throwing up or sick, I find out if it’s the stomach flu or food poisoning. Like, at work a girl was sick and I asked her… Food poisoning, I’m okay, because I won’t catch it. Isn’t that terrible?

“I asked my parents (what caused my phobia). I think something happened in my childhood. I don’t know. I’m terrified of it.”

And Richards, who admits she religiously burns her chicken to avoid salmonella poisoning, is prepared for the first time she has to experience her two young daughters vomiting: “I guess I’m gonna have to get out the rubber gloves and a mask, or something, and then pay for their therapy later.”

Thanks to Denise, this phobia has been brought into the open. Discuss.

Richards Has Throw-Up-Phobia [contactmusic]

By Miu von Furstenberg

  1. pretty scary

    Guess it’s safe to say she doesn’t stay so think by being a bulimic

  2. Verity

    I’m the same – I have a serious phobia of throwing up. There is an actual term for it but I forget what it is…

    I’ll do anything to stop myself being sick – and if I feel like I am going to be, I start to panic and hyperventilate and stuff.

    What an enjoyable topic for conversation, just as I’m about to eat.. :)

  3. Rusty

    I’ve pictured her vomiting up my sperm a few times.

  4. Verity

    Emetophobia… thats the one.

  5. vomity

    I have the same thing. terrified of vomitting. think it has to do with fear of losing control and what others will think of you when they see you doing soemthing as disgusting as that. at oen point i didn’t even leave the house cause i got sick everywhere and was afraid of throwing up. it actually is quite common. know at least 4 or 5 friends who have it too.

  6. Andy W

    Rusty – that is beyond perversity. I love it.

  7. Laura Lord Belle

    Um! what did she do when she became pregnant …twice?

    Most pregant women throw up regularly !!

  8. Mel

    I too am emetophobic. It sounds really stupid to anyone who doesn’t feel the same way, but it’s really kind of debilitating. I’ve heard of people who are much worse off than I am, but here’s a good example to explain…

    If you have a fear of spiders, and you see a spider on TV, it might creep you out a little, but you still know that you aren’t going to have to suffer from actually being near the spider. The fear is pretty singular. But for many emetophobics, the fear is two-fold: they fear vomiting, and they fear hearing/seeing/smelling/sensing vomit, as well. So if I were to see vomit on TV, I too would feel very sick to my stomach, which would then lead me to be even more fearful since I’m also afraid of vomiting myself.

  9. wack

    i think you’re all a bunch of freaks. vomiting is a normal human function, just like shitting. it happens, what’s the big fear?

  10. Brandy

    Well said Wack. Is it a fear of seeing/hearing/smelling someone vomit or just that it’s disgusting and turns your stomach? I mean seriously, are there people out there that say “Hey, mind if I watch you puke? It’s fascinating”

  11. Nikki

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone speak out about this. I’m right there, I’ve had the same phobia since I was little. It is debilitating and makes it hard to live life completely normally but who can do that anyway? I think I have to write her a letter now!

  12. Erica

    I get the feeling this subject backfired on Miu.

  13. mam

    you know what wack, there are people who are deathly afraid of cotton balls, yes cotton balls. They actually cry and sweat and freak out like someone is going to murder them. It makes a phobia of vomiting seem to be pretty normal.

  14. Rusty

    I’m afraid of people who post comments in gossip blogs. It’s called Nothingbettertodoitis.

  15. wack

    I think Rusty and I are suffering from the same condition. I’m also suffering from
    INeedANewJob-o-phobia and ICouldUseSomeActionitis

  16. Rusty

    I think I suffer from Whatwacksaiditis.

  17. Mel

    You can make fun of it all you want, but it’s real, and there are more unbelievable phobias, for sure.

    This, like most other fears, stems from a traumatic event in early childhood. Most people don’t know what the event was, but I have a feeling mine had to do with thinking my baby brother was choking or dying when he was throwing up.

  18. Rusty

    Maybe it had to do with your stupid.

  19. Crystal


    Oh, god.

    I’m really sick.

    *dry heaves*



    So I take it none of you throwupphobics drink until you puke, huh? That must be horrible.

  20. D

    I’m glad I read this because I have the EXACT same thing as what Mel described. I for sure have the “2-fold” fear of vomiting/being near vomiting. It would totally ruin any experience/location for me. It’s kind of paralyzing, I think about it enough to sometimes have nightmares about someone about to throw up in front of me and I can’t run away, my legs are jelly. My stomach lurges, sweaty palms, panic, the whole bit. I haven’t personally thrown up in 16 years and really don’t know what I would do if I had to ever again (I’m sure one day I will). BTW, I had a few ‘traumatic’ experiences growing up with it – so I guess I am a emeto…blah blah.

  21. blowingchunks

    Okay..I might buy Mel’s reason for being scared of throwing-up, but what are y’all’s other excuses? (Yes, I said y’all’s) Did your parents feed you puke when you were little or what????

  22. Tajue

    “I have a throw-up phobia”?? Grow the fuck up, Denise. Your phobia is called emetophobia. You have a ‘vomit’ phobia. Your 3rd grade vocabulary stopped being cute after you birthed two children. Seriously, your whole stupidity thing has lost it’s charm.

  23. twinklebird

    My hubby’s evil stepdad made his lil bro eat what he puked up, that’s just nasty! hope he’s rotting in hell right now

  24. D

    My experiences were both around age 5-6 and involved witnessing another child vomit violently (like, a lot and dramatically) and not being able to get away from the situation, partially because 1) all my reflexes froze and I compulsively stared in horror and 2) I was in a confined space with them. One of them threw up directly ON ME. Guess that explains the nighmares.

  25. Testify

    Two things: Brandy, I worked with a guy whose boyfriend thought watching someone throw up was hot! Something about the straining muscles and the loss of control. So often what causes fear for one person causes fetish for another…

    Also, what Mam says is true, I *hate* cottonballs. I don’t fear them, but the sound of them dryly rubbing together makes my skin CRAWL. What nails on chalkboards do for others, cottonballs do to me. (shudder)

  26. Ren

    I, as well, have emetephobia, first time I’ve ever heard people reference it. It’s kinda nice knowing I’m not the only freak. It’s horrible because I assess certain situations to make sure vomit won’t be involved. Airplanes, the subway, amusement park rides – it’s pretty horrible to live with and not many people realize how bad it is.

  27. Rumplestiltskin

    This article is the #2 Celebrity Gossip blog post right now on Blogniscient ( ). You guys rock!

    Personally, I really don’t like throwing up. Where is the line between “not liking something” and a phobia. It is an involuntary response…its not like there’s anything you can do about it when it happens.

  28. Mel

    That’s part of it too though…I know it’s not rational (that’s what makes it a phobia), but I haven’t actually thrown up in 11 years. I’ll do everything in my power to NOT, even though I logically know that it is what I need to do.

    And what is it really that makes anyone a freak? Opinions, that’s what. “your stupid” Ha!

  29. R

    Methinks the bulemic protests too much.

  30. Silasdog

    Throw-Up-A-Phobia?! This one has me rolling. By the way Rusty, you’re right, but I do think she has no problem swallowing a great number of “things”. Tajue is right on the money too. Someone let me know when she’s accepted into Mensa.

  31. mookle

    all right miss crystal,
    I am totally and irrationally afraid of puke because of drinking too much and waking up in it more than once. Now if anyone even makes vomity noises I get sweaty and hungover-feeling.

  32. guest-m

    THANK YOU!!! there are other strange people like me out there… i hate cotton balls, the sensation of them touching my skin and rubbing togeher makes my skin crawl as does when two materials rub together and tissues… this stemed from dry mud on my hands as a kid and mum giving me a tissue to wipe it off. The sensation it caused has scarred me… typing it now is making my skin crawl. i almost cant explain it.

    Yes i admit im weird!

  33. Tajue

    Cottonballs?! Even Billy Bob Thorton would be surprised by that one!

  34. Lynn Z.

    This is an hilarious thread! I had no idea there was a phobia for not wanting to vomit and I’ve got it to a small degree. I think it has to do with that feeling your throat has after you vomit, the taste it leaves in your mouth and having to hang your head over the same place you crap. Ugh! I’ll do anything to avoid it!

  35. mint

    It’s that Seinfeld episode.

  36. Exactly

    I just wanted to add that my daughter and I are both emetophobic. It is not something that is easily controlled, and calling someone stupid or saying that they need to grow up just shows ignorance. I think it is wonderful that Denise Richards has managed to form the career she has, as well as give birth to two children despite this debilitating phobia. As for how we have children, we do not throw up as easily as other people. Over time, we have learned to control it and will often fight it when a non-emetophobic could not. Also, for a lot of us the desire to have children is stronger than the phobia. We know that we will have to deal with it.

  37. Tajue

    Thank you, mint! The BLACK AND WHITE COOKIE!

  38. anne

    It’s crazy, I can’t barf either! I used to when I was little but it was so painful and exhausting and I haven’t since. I’m barf-free for almost a decade.

  39. phobichick

    Wow, I’m glad I read this. I have a totally unrelated phobia… but probably just as bad. I can’t even bring myself to even say what it is. But I’m glad Im not alone in this. Phobias are terribly dibilitating. It causes me all this horrible anxiety. Constant intrusive and irrational thoughts that won’t go away. Just think what it’s like to walk around with a constant knot in your stomach, constantly freaked out and nothing you can do about it.
    Some days are better than others, but when someone brings the subject up, it just floods right back in and I’m stuck thinking and mulling and rationalizing it until it goes away again, w hich can last days! (you can pretty much compare the thought process as getting a car wheel stuck in the mud) I feel it right now.

    So I totally understand. For those of you that don’t… count yourselves lucky, but don’t point the finger.

  40. Willy Wanker

    Some people have suggested that Jen should have fought harder to save her marriage. How dumb. How can you “fight” for a marriage if the other person just wants out so they can go and screw a nice piece of ass?

    I think Brad was terrified about what a split would do to his public image. That explains why initially, he was so greasy to Jen and he still went through with a party for her and they attended that big Hollywood event together. Even I never thought he’d get out of that marriage without paying a heavy price in terms of his public image. But even I didn’t imagine, in all my wildest dreams, that Brad would dream up all that African bullsh*t to try and get himself some good PR. You’ve got to hand it to him. I thought his mind was numb after all those years of smoking dope but when he started parading in front of the cameras holding up those starving African kids for a bit of good PR he showed himself to be shrewder than a lot of people thought. Then after lying bare-faced to the American public that he WASN’T seeing Whorelina he got busted with her in Africa. And still, thanks to Angelina paying off someone at People magazine, there is still a magazine in the US still prepared to say nice things about this pair of cheaters. Amazing. But then. This is the country that elected Bush for a second term? What do you expect?


    1) Dumped his wife like trash to go and screw his last co-star
    2) Lied to the American public that he wasn’t seeing said co-star then got caught with her in Africa
    3) Openly dates said co-star while still married
    4) Callously goes with said co-star to ADOPT ANOTHER KID within a few months of leaving his WIFE
    5) Openly starts living with said co-star while still married
    6) Has a “sudden conversion” to African charity work at the age of 41 for PR reasons and the media are such star-f*ckers they actually don’t call him on an obvious PR stunt


  41. chill

    willy wanker, why you are posting this in this thread is really beyond me. not to mention that you’re clearly upset by the whole situation. My advice to you would be to steer clear of the gossip rags and eat some fruit/meditate or something

  42. pooper

    I am terrified of air. I live every second of my life in constant horror of *gasp* AIR. Yet I cannot avoid it! I am so glad I could finally come out and share this w/ other people who would understand.

  43. mam

    RUsty…it seems funny that youre calling people “havenothingbettertodoitis” or whatever meanwhile I think you have posted here more than anyone else.

    Phobias are real..they may seem strange but its not always a “oh..just get over it..” type of thing.

    Oh and I love the who “your stupid” thing. How ironic..(what is the definition of irony?)

    I may have a small phobia of cottonballs myself. I think it comes from my hatred of dentists and when they would stick them between your teeth and you have to bite down on them. now whenever i so much as look at a cotton ball, i imagine biting down on it and it gives me the chills. I cant touch them but it doesnt really “debilitate me”.

  44. Haha, I hate throwing up and haven’t done it in 15 years, how’s that? My mom had 4 kids and didn’t throw up once during any of her pregnancies. Yeah, there are pukers and there are non pukers. I’m married to a puker, but myself? Not since I was 8!

  45. Tajue

    phobichick, is it CLOWNS you’re afraid of? It is, isn’t it! The big shoes! The red nose! Holy Fuck! Is that water squirting out of a boutonniere!?!

  46. DAMN!!!! Nice picture of her!!!!!!
    Most people have fears of things they can’t explain. Big whoop

  47. CB

    i too have the same phobia…i will do anything not to throw up…and if i feel it coming, i get a panic attack and start to shake (which doesn’t help). i haven’t thrown up in 15 years b/c of it. glad to see i’m not the only one!

  48. phobichick

    Har Har Tajue, very funny. And no, I am not affraid of clowns.

  49. sad

    Im afraid of not being liked because I hate myself.

  50. Implant Inspector

    I dated a girl who was terrified of puking. In all other respects she was completely nermal. She had been seeing a Therapist for 17 years because the puke thing dominoed into various other neuroses like ana. and substance abuse. It all started when she would get sick as an itty bitty child and her mother punished her by making her sit in her puke. I always fantasized about slitting her mothers’ throat. Maybe I’m the sick one,huh?

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