No, it's not completely real. I have been using a 180GB Hard Disk Drive since 2007/08 on my desktop PC (I am writing this answer from the same PC) and I have changed the Operating System more than 5 times throughout this time. It hasn't been damaged yet even though a lot of viruses/trojans/malwares have entered. But, in some case, if your hard disk manufacturer isn't good or if they did some mistakes during manufacture, your hard disk might damage within 5 years. If you aren't putting your CPU in a proper place and putting it in damp places, it might damage very fast.
The average life of a hard drive depends on a lot of things, like the brand, type, size, and interface method, but you're looking at about four years on average. Online backup service Backblaze studied the drives in their infrastructure and found about 80% of them survived for four years