Evanna Lynch says J.K. Rowling and ‘Harry Potter’ got her through an eating disorder
The entire cast and crew of the Harry Potter films would say J.K. Rowling changed their lives, but few can say the author had an important presence in their life before they were ever cast. Evanna Lynch, the actress who portrayed Luna Lovegood in the films, can.
In a recent episode of Dancing with the Stars, the actress explained that Rowling began helping her through living with an eating disorder long before she ever got a part in the films.
“I was the biggest fan,” Lynch said as to why she chose 2006 as an important year in her life. “It was just my great love at that time. So then suddenly I was in the world, living the dream…I just adored the Harry Potter franchise and Luna Lovegood was my favorite character, so it was just like a lot of things to process at once.”
It wasn’t just her role, though. Lynch had been living with anorexia since she was around 11- or 12-years-old. Around 2006, she sought support from her favorite author.
“I started writing to J.K. Rowling and she wrote back and we became pen friends after that,” Lynch said. “I was in and out of the hospital and I would be getting these letters.”
It was this support that would help Lynch through one of the most difficult periods of her life. Then, coincidence brought the two even closer. Ahead of the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Lynch attended an open casting call. Without Rowling’s knowledge or involvement, Lynch would be awarded the part.
“We were pen pals. We were writing to each other for years, but then when the open audition happened, it happened within two weeks from the audition to getting the part,” Lynch said. “I didn’t have a chance to tell her.”
Now 27-years-old, the actress says winning the part “saved her life” because it brought her confidence that she “could do something” and “had something to offer the world.”
However, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she sought to clarify that getting a part in Harry Potter didn’t “cure” her.
“Those kinds of issues, they are never that neat and sometimes it upsets me the way the story is told,” she said to ET. “That’s a wrong message to send, an unhealthy message to send, and that’s really not the truth. So I’m really grateful for the opportunity to tell it myself.”
She endured several hospitalizations and sought the help of specialists to overcome her eating disorder, though Lynch describes her current relationship with eating as an “everyday internal fight.”
“You are constantly having to choose between the negative voice that’s in your head telling you that you’re terrible at everything, that you suck,” she said. “And the then voice saying, ‘No, I can be something.’ That’s what the work is every day. Being brave enough to say, or not brave enough, but just making the choice to say, ‘I’m going to choose love.’”
If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with an eating disorder, please call Brookhaven for help at 888-298-HOPE (4673). We can answer any questions you have and find the right treatment plan for you.