Looking at the story of Alex O’Loughlin – Through the eyes of a fangirl (Part 3)

“What is in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet; so Romeo would, were he not Romeo called retain such dear perfection to which he owes without that title. Romeo, doth thy name; and for that name, which is no part of thee, take all thyself.”
― William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)

If you have not read the first two installments of the story yet, please find

Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

The early years

The actor Alex O’Loughlin, presently starring as Steve McGarrett in the CBS Television show Hawaii Five-0, was born on 24 August 1976 in Australia. He is the son of a nurse and a teacher. He has got at least one sibling, his sister Jackie, who is about two years younger than him. His parents split up when he was two and he grew up for the most part in Canberra, while his dad lived in Sydney. It seems as if his grandparents played a big part in his life, as he often refers to them.

This is how my biography of the actor  Alex O’Loughlin would start. I place the emphasis on ACTOR, because that is what he is to us as fans. We do not even know for sure if the name on his passport is Alex O’Loughlin, or whether he just uses it as an actor and public figure.

One thing we know for sure is that he was born on 24 August 1976 in Australia. He himself has stated that fact many times. Notice, I just said Australia, because although most sites names Canberra as his place of birth, I have not found positive confirmation that he was indeed born there. Several of the older sites on the internet, list Sydney as his place of birth. (Maybe they think Sydney is the only city in Australia, who knows?)

Another “fact” I would not likely bet my life on, is that he was born as Alexander O’Lachlan. It could just as easily be Alexander Keays, Alexander Smith, or Alexander Scott. It is an all-around excepted fact and stated by almost every site as his name at birth. For me, the only evidence available, suggests it is most likely incorrect (Unfortunately that evidence in itself is not substantial enough for me to use). Again that does not really matter; because it does not change the fact that he is who he is NOW, the actor we know and love as Alex O’Loughlin.

I do not know if it is mandatory for sites to list a birth name and I am not sure why they do it without positive confirmation. There will be many that say he said he changed his name from O’Lachlan to O’Loughlin to honour his grandfather after making his first movie and therefore it must be his birth name. It can just as well be his maternal Grandfather’s name, that he took later on in life and that he refers to……

There are often references to the fact that his mother is a nurse and his father a teacher and that they went their separate ways when he was around two years old. He does mention his Canadian stepfather, so we presume his mother got re-married.  We know about his sister Jackie, because he mentions her a lot, but we have no knowledge of any other step or half-siblings that he might have.

As a young ‘un, I just wanted to run to the world.

—  Alex O’Loughlin, The Canberra Times, 28  June 2005

Canberra was a strange experience for me. I never felt at home in Canberra.

—  Alex O’Loughlin, The Canberra Times, 28 June 2005

It also seems like his childhood in Canberra did not suit him well. He talks about feeling out-of-place there often in interviews. According to him, he believed he suffered from ADHD (or ADD) and he said he was a little OCD. Both conditions went undiagnosed in childhood and he was never treated for it.

Please be aware that this has never actually been diagnosed by a doctor and it can hardly be described as afflictions that he suffers from at present. A person might have a perception of what those diseases mean, that can be far apart from what the symptoms for the actual condition really are. Even doctors can’t always agree on how ADD or ADHD should be diagnosed.

[The ADHD] went undiagnosed and I managed to keep it hidden, but it caused me a lot of frustration.

Alex O’Loughlin, Men’s Fitness, August 2011

When I was a young boy in elementary school I was quite a blatant example of a child with OCD, and I remember how it used to make me feel and how difficult it was.

— Alex O’Loughlin,TV Squad, 29 April 2009

We all carry the potential for certain diseases in our bodies and minds. It does not mean we suffer from it. When you study the symptoms of how psychological disorders are diagnosed, you sometimes get the feeling that you yourself suffer from them as well. We all have certain “symptoms” but only when it gets triggered and impairs our ability to function normally, can we call it as suffering from it.

For me, natural treatment for ADHD should always be the first choice. Medicating children should only happen after all other options have been explored. My perception of what people see when they suspect a child suffering from this disease means a sensitive, intelligent, creative, and highly physical person. The hyperactivity most of the time is triggered by a form of malnutrition, caused by the over-use of refined sugars and the lack of certain nutrients we experience from our modern Western diets.

Channeling all that physical and creative energy and supplementing the diet deficiencies often lead to successful treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are cases that need medical treatment, but a natural approach might also do the trick. Taking all this into account, if Alex did suffer from it he was maybe better off not being medicated for it but becoming active with certain sports. Another fact of this condition, that it must be extremely difficult for both child and parent, especially a working parent.

People ask what kind of kid I was—I used to steal bricks from construction sites, build walls from them, then ride my trike down through them.

—  Alex O’Loughlin, Time Out New York, October 2009

The reason why I mention these details about the condition and my thought on the “talents” ( intelligence, creativeness and physical activeness) of such a person, is that it all falls into good traits for someone being an actor. This makes Alex’s career choice fit right into his specific abilities.

People that suffer from OCD, experience anxiety, and need to somehow calm themselves by rituals. This can take hours out of a person’s day, performing these actions over and over again. With children, it can most commonly occur when they feel like they do not have control over their environment. Organizing their activities to the extreme provides them with some sort of control. I think this is not uncommon in children of divorce, especially when one parent moves away. However, a person saying that they are a little OCD is far removed from actually suffering from the condition.

I am amazed at how freely the term OCD is thrown around. Up until I joined the online community it was just a very real disease to me and not something every other perfectionist throws around as something they suffer from. (I might add here that my home language is not English and also that  for me mental diseases are very real ) What I want to say is that a person that wants to have order and things done in a certain manner, does not constitute a disease and something you need treatment for. People have taken some symptoms of OCD, namely order and working with method, and made the disorder all about it.

I am not saying Alex suffers or does not suffer in some way from these ailments at all. What I want to emphasize is that terms get thrown around easily and should not be converted into facts, if they were not confirmed by a professional.

From what I gather, Alex did not have an easy childhood and he maybe needed some sort of explanation for it all. Using these terms maybe makes it easier for him to describe his frustrations as a child.

You might ask the question of why I have devoted so much time on all this. Some of you might not even have seen it mentioned before. If you read more about him, you will find that it is so often referred to and I believe misunderstood. I have seen long threads on boards being devoted to it and people calling it afflictions that he suffers from.

For me, what I get out of it, is that he did not have an easy childhood and that finding his place in life did not come easy to him. That in itself makes me respect and admire him so much more for what he actually achieved in life. Working through his problems, finding a place for himself in life. That together with hard work and a lot of dedication brought him here, to where we are today…..

……….to be continued here


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, HiStory

22 responses to “Looking at the story of Alex O’Loughlin – Through the eyes of a fangirl (Part 3)

  1. Jill VanDuyn

    You’ve done a fabulous job with this!! Thanks so much.


  2. karin@notmcnerd

    FOYeur, I never realized the picture of the young boy (was that Episode 1.1?) was actually Alex. How cool! Nice commentary btw.


    • FOYeur

      It is from the screencaps of 1:02, if I remember correctly. While he was listening to the tape his father recorded.
      It was part of the trivia given about the episode, that they used real photo’s of him and Taryn (Mary) for those shots.


  3. heymomo

    Foyeur!! Amazing research skills as usual!!
    Love the photos too 🙂


  4. I find this Excellent !!!


  5. canadagirl66

    Great job FOYeur!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it…and that last paragraph…brilliant!!


  6. Reblogged this on gem1n12505 luvs H50 cast and crew and commented:
    he’s still a fantastic person


  7. Excellent research and I’m pretty sure we’ll all in agreement regardless of whether he had/has these problems he is a fantastic person x


  8. I’d have to try and track down the interviews, but I believe Alex has confirmed he was diagnosed with ADHD/ADD at the age of 27 in at least one interview, and there was another one (around the time when he filmed his guest spot on Criminal Minds) where he spoke a little bit more about his specific symptoms of OCD in childhood (from memory he mentioned ritualised behaviours such as rules about how his shoe laces needed to be tied, not being able to step on cracks, and so on – he also mentions receiving therapy/treatment for it).


    • FOYeur

      Thanks Emerald
      If you can somehow give me the link to those interviews when you do get it, I will appreciate it. But I have just never read or heard them before. And I haven’t come across any quotes from them either. Only loose reverals to the terms. I have never read anything about therapy for it either .


      • Here’s one interview where both the ADD/ADHD diagnosis and OCD are spoken about in a bit more detail (from GQ Australia)



        “He may not suffer depression, but O’Loughlin has struggled with other issues. As an adult he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But when I ask how these have affected his life, he grows cagey. Once again I am forced to reassure him, but he eventually answers the question with candour.

        “I still have ADD. It’s something I’ve learned to live with. It affects people in different ways. It affected my learning when I was younger and I was never medicated for it. It was something that did make me feel like I was different and apart from everyone, made me feel isolated. Every girlfriend I’ve ever had has had a moment when they’ve gone crazy at me because they’ll say something and, literally, two or three minutes later I’ll respond. People think I’m rude or ignoring them but I’m not at all, I retain everything. It’s just the way my brain chemistry works. I’m actually a really loving, attentive person.”

        The OCD, says O’Loughlin, is now mostly a thing of the past. In the calming atmosphere of Hawaii, his childhood days of taking hours to tie his shoes just right are a fading memory. However, he does admit to having occasional obsessive urges. “If I get OCD about something, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I have to do it.’” He pauses, laughs and adds, “So you’ve just ascertained that I should be imprisoned and medicated.”

        The divorce of O’Loughlin’s parents at a young age undoubtedly contributed to his difficult childhood. Born in Canberra, O’Loughlin spent his younger years shuttling between his mother’s home in the capital and his father’s in Sydney. During high school he admits he was a tearaway. I ask whether his undiagnosed ADD may have contributed to him playing truant, getting expelled and dropping out in his mid-teens.

        “I dunno, probably. I suppose everything contributes to everything, doesn’t it? I was like, ‘I don’t like it here because I’m not really learning very much because you don’t know how to teach me. So fuck off.’ That was my anxious condition speaking back then, and it just didn’t make sense for me to stay there.””

        I’m pretty sure there’s another interview (or interviews) out there as well, where he mentions being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD at the age of 27 and also where he speaks about some more of his childhood OCD symptoms. I remember at the time when I read it thinking ‘oh wow, that’s kind of freaky’, because the couple of rituals he mentioned were the exact same one’s I had when I was struggling with OCD tendencies as a child.


        • Okay, here’s another one… (I’m sure I’ve also seen another interview where the OCD stuff is spoken about as well, but this link is pretty much the same thing)


          “I had a bit of OCD as a kid, quite a bit, actually. I wouldn’t step on a crack. It would take me an hour to get my shoes tied, because I had this weird OCD thing.”


        • FOYeur

          Thanks Emerald. Posting this spesific article has sparked a whole new chapter for me to write. I will post it as soon as it is finished.


          • FOYeur, I read the GQ Australia article when it came out. Interesting. I think the OCD and ADHD say a lot about why Alex is such a good actor 🙂 I have an uncle with OCD so I know what it is like. He is retired now but had trouble holding down a job because he could never get ready for work (that was one problem anyway). I also had a student with quite severe ADHD in my class when I was a teacher. Really tough to manage in the classroom. Well done to Alex for getting on top of these issues. No easy task at all.


  9. Pingback: Looking at the story of Alex O’Loughlin – Through the eyes of a fangirl (Part 4) | Alex O´Loughlin ~ An Intense Study

  10. Alix

    J’ ai lu quelque part, mais je ne retrouve pas où, que lors de sa scolarité en primaire à l’école Macquarie, il était inscrit sous le nom de Alexander ************. J’ai pensé à ce moment-là que c’était soit le nom de jeune fille de sa mère, soit celui de son beau-père.

    J’ai lu également qu’il avait quitté l’école à 15 ans pour “courrir le monde” ??? En sait-on plus sur cette période de sa vie ???

    Merci pour ce superbe travail !!!


    • FOYeur

      Thank you Alix.
      There is a lot of speculation out there. I try to go through as much of what I can find, but then only write down the things that Alex himself confirmed in interviews. Those are the things I can take as truth and I also think those are the things Alex were comfortable enough to share about himself to the public.
      And if you read Part 4 of this series, you will see that I don’t even take everything in articles but try to see what of what is written is just statements by the press or the author of the article and what did Alex actually say himself.
      I have started writting my story (part 5) about his teenage years many months ago, but haven’t published it yet. You inspire me now to finish it and put it on here.
      I know we all want to know as much as possible about him, but I do not want to hurt him by wrtiing about things he might not want to share.
      Thanks for you continued support. And if there is anything that do not translate properly please ask and I will try to explain better. 🙂


  11. Alix

    Merci Foyeur,
    J’ai tout compris grâce au traducteur automatique.
    Bonne continuation et à bientôt de lire la suite…


  12. Thanks for all the great articles and information. Thank you!!


  13. Ben Mallie

    Alex’s real surname was XXXX, I used to go to Canberra High School with him.


  14. Sue Jobbins

    Alex and all cast hawaii five o are ace actors they used local people cripped us with ace stories every Monday nights


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