19 Celebrities Open Up About Dealing With Their Eating Disorders
"This is who I am. And I am proud at any size."
01. Demi Lovato spoke to BuzzFeed about her issues with body image and her eating disorder recovery:
"I have come a long way mentally, emotionally, and physically, and I'm proud of where I am today. When I look back, it saddens me to think that I was so hard on myself — when I was younger, I thought I had to look like everyone else, but I learned that beauty comes from how you feel about yourself. Once I started taking care of my mind, body, and soul, I realised that I didn't need to conform to what's 'normal' and started to love myself."
02. Melanie Chisolm, aka Sporty Spice, has revealed that becoming a mother helped her to recover from her eating disorder:
"When I was in the Spice Girls, the stress of suddenly being thrust into the limelight led me into an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I became obsessed about what I ate and I cut lots of food groups, like carbs and protein, out of my diet. I survived on fruit and vegetables and little else ... I had to be healthy and from the moment I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to give Scarlet the nutrition she needed to grow fit, strong and healthy."
03. In his book Love Is The Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS, musician Elton John discussed his battle with bulimia, as well as alcohol and drug addiction:
"My hair was white, my skin pale. I was bloated and gorged. I looked tired, sick and beaten. I looked horrible. It was almost too much to take. I had been overcome by addiction; I was completely out of control. I looked, quite frankly, like a piano-playing Elvis Presley. As messed up as I've ever been. There was no question: I was going to change, or I was going to die."
04. Former child star Christina Ricci has openly discussed how her fame affected her recovery from anorexia:
"Somebody actually found out about it and outed [me] while I was recovering ... It was a horrifying thing to do to a 14-year-old trying to cope with a devastating illness. And, out of rage, I vowed that no one would ever be able to out me for a secret again. So I was going to be completely honest in the rest of my life. I don't want to be hurt in that way again."
05. In 1995, Paula Abdul revealed that she had been battling with bulimia for 15 years:
"There are three things I commit to on a daily basis: Exercising for an hour a day, tops. Never skipping meals. And accepting the size and shape I was born with. There have been many times when I sat and clenched my hands and said, 'Okay, Paula, you're feeling really upset about what you just ate and it's not healthy. Get over it.'"
06. Musician Kesha wrote an in-depth piece for ELLE detailing her experience in an eating disorder rehabilitation centre:
"I've always tried to be a crusader for loving yourself, but I'd been finding it harder and harder to do personally. I felt like part of my job was to be as skinny as possible, and to make that happen, I had been abusing my body. I just wasn't giving it the energy it needed to keep me healthy and strong. My brain told me to just suck it up and press on, but in my heart I knew that something had to change. So I made the decision to practise what I preach. I put my career on hold and sought treatment. I had to learn to treat my body with respect."
07. Actress Portia de Rossi has written a book, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, detailing her battle with anorexia and bulimia:
"I think that it's important to not be so concerned about how you look. As women, it's really important to be focused on things other than what is on the plate in front of you and get on with your life and develop your mind and career and not be so obsessed with how you look and what you weigh."
08. Musician Fiona Apple spoke to Rolling Stone about her anorexia, which developed as a result of her being sexually assaulted age 12:
"I definitely did have an eating disorder. What was really frustrating for me was that everyone thought I was anorexic, and I wasn't. I was just really depressed and self-loathing. For me, it wasn't about getting thin, it was about getting rid of the bait that was attached to my body. A lot of it came from the self-loathing that came from being raped at the point of developing my voluptuousness."
09. Jane Fonda has spoken openly about her battle with bulimia, which lasted several decades:
"I wasn't very happy from, I would say, puberty to 50? It took me a long time. It was in my 40s, and if you suffer from bulimia, the older you get, the worse it gets. It takes longer to recover from a bout. I had a career, I was winning awards, I was supporting nonprofits, I had a family. I had to make a choice: I live or I die."
10. While she was participating in Dancing With The Stars, Snooki opened up about her issues with anorexia during high school:
"Cheerleading was my life in high school but it wasn't always easy for me. I started to be anorexic ... There were these little girls coming up, like freshmen, who were literally, like, 70 pounds. And I was like, my spot as a flier is going to get taken away. So I ended up starving myself. I started eating one salad a day, and then it became, like, one cracker a day, and then it became just one grape a day. And then just not eating at all for three days. It was a really, really bad time for me."
11. In 2013, Lady Gaga launched a section of her website entitled "Body Revolution", where she encouraged her fans to share photos of themselves and embrace what they considered to be their flaws:
"My weight loss/gain since I was child has tormented me. No amount of help has ever healed my pain about it. But YOU have. My boyfriend prefers me curvier, when I eat and am healthy and not so worried about my looks, I'm happy. Happier then I've ever been. I am not going to go on a psycho-spree because of scrutiny. This is who I am. And I am proud at any size. And I love you, and want you to be proud in any form you may take as well."
12. Zoë Kravitz is open about her experiences with anorexia and bulimia, and portrayed a character with anorexia in 2013's The Road Within:
"I had a really hard time when I was 16, 17, 18. I started with the eating disorder in high school ... I think it was part of being a woman ... I don't think it was about the fame, but I think it was definitely about being around that world, seeing that world. I felt pressured."
13. Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has documented her issues with bulimia in her autobiographies, and is open about her recovery:
"Having had bulimia is part of my history. I don't shut the door on it but I don't focus on it. It is something I have experienced. I'm definitely less controlling about the way I look and I've learned to relax and let go a bit."
14. Actress Kate Winslet has spoken about the weight loss addiction she developed as a teenager, and has admitted to starving herself in order to win acting roles:
"When I was 15, I was nearly 14 stone. I was uncomfortable and self-conscious. I knew I wanted to be an actress and was big. Over a year I sensibly got down to 10 stone. Then I became addicted to losing weight and went too far. I was never anorexic or bulimic. I went through a three-month experimental laxative time which was absolutely awful. Luckily I was strong enough to be able to say to myself, 'What are you doing? You are just really hungry.' The whole weight thing drives me crazy. This stuff is so important to me because I have been there and know what a vicious cycle it is."
15. Comedian Russell Brand is famously open about his addiction to drugs and sex, and has also admitted to coping with bulimia during his teenage years:
"It was really unusual in boys, quite embarrassing. But I found it euphoric ... It was clearly about getting out of myself and isolation. Feeling inadequate and unpleasant."
16. Janet Jackson revealed to the Telegraph that she has issues with binge eating, saying that "the compulsion to binge can strike at any time":
"Food has always brought me comfort and the bingeing is triggered when I'm in a space that is not positive ... When I'm feeling down on myself or not feeling good about who I am, or maybe something happened and I'm feeling depressed, I eat to fill that void. Afterwards I'll beat myself up about it. I regret doing it, but I'll turn around and do it again."
17. Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario has said that she developed anorexia as a result of the pressure she felt to perform well in school:
"I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school ... It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody. I just thought if I ever expressed any sadness or anger or anything that's going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behaviour."
18. Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch has been open about her fight against anorexia, and said that it was J.K. Rowling who helped her to recover:
"I told her the books gave me hope, particularly Luna Lovegood. I told how I looked up to her. She wrote back and was like a counsellor. She told me anorexia is destructive, not creative, and the brave thing was not to succumb to it."
19. Musician Nicole Scherzinger spoke to Cosmopolitan about her experience with bulimia, which she called "a horrible, paralysing disease":
"I had started losing my voice, I couldn't sing at shows, and then I remember my manager finding me passed out on the floor in Malta or in the south of France. I thought, 'I'm going to lose everything I love if I don't love myself.' ... It's sad to see how I wasted my life. I had such a great life on the outside, the [Pussycat] Dolls were on top of the world, but I was miserable on the inside. I'm never letting that happen again; you only get one life – I was 27 only once."