How Steve Harvey Overcame A Childhood Stutter

It didn't take long for actor and TV host Steve Harvey became a household name, thanks to his comedic timing and powerful stage presence. Per IMDb, he has starred in dozens of movies and TV shows since making his start in 1997, including "Family Feud," "Showtime at the Apollo," and "The Steve Harvey Show." In 2013, he received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but success didn't come easy. "I won't lie to you, I don't know anything that's successful that's easy — it's a bit much," he told Variety. "But at the same time, it's such an honor to do what you want to do for a living."

The TV personality ended up on the streets soon after starting his career, according to The Stuttering Foundation. He also had to overcome stuttering as a child, which affected his confidence. One of his teachers even ridiculed him in front of the class when he shared his dream of becoming a TV star. Years later, Harvey made a habit of sending her a television every Christmas so she could see "that little boy with the stuttering problem on TV,  seven days a week." Currently, there is no cure for stuttering, per the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and available treatment options focus on improving a person's confidence and self-esteem. Children who develop this speech disorder at an early age may grow out of it, but that's not always the case. So, how did Harvey manage to conquer stuttering and achieve success? 

Steve Harvey got some unexpected help with his stutter

Steve Harvey isn't the only celebrity to have dealt with a stutter problem. People reports that Emily Blunt, Samuel L. Jackson, and singer Kendrick Lamar have also grappled with the speech impediment and found ways to build successful careers. But when it came time to overcome his stuttering, Harvey got help from an unlikely source close to home: the counterman at a local deli. "He taught me before you say anything, say it to yourself three times, take your time, and speak on the exhale," Harvey told The Stuttering Foundation. The deli man rewarded him with candy whenever he managed to express himself clearly. 

Based on his own experiences, Harvey shared some advice with a guest on his show who was also struggling with a stutter. "What makes you stutter is the anticipation that you're going to stutter... That's the one thing therapists don't know," Harvey explained (via Cheat Sheet). The TV presenter went on to offer more simple self-help techniques, such as repeating the answer to any given question in your head three times before speaking aloud. Another one of his favorite techniques? "Stand in front of the mirror and talk out loud, all the time," he said, via Cheat Sheet. However, the American Institute for Stuttering (AIS) doesn't agree with his comments. The company was quick to point out that this disorder may have genetic and neurological causes, and it's not always due to anxiety or other psychological factors.