You Are Not Alone: 10 Celebrities Who Survived Living With An Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are a dangerous problem, but you might often hear people brush off the illness as “young women trying to get thin.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, body types, and social classes.
However, because of the stigma related to eating disorders, those who live with them often suffer in silence and isolation. It is common for people living with eating disorders to hide their struggles from even those closest to them until the problem has become severe or even life-threatening.
If you have an eating disorder, you don’t have to feel alone in your struggles. Eating disorders affect 30 million people in their lives in the US alone, and that includes people from all walks of life. You might be surprised to learn that your neighbors, friends, or even your family have been affected by eating disorders in their lives.
Your favorite celebrity may have even struggled with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia in their life. Many consider talking about eating disorders taboo – especially in Hollywood – but several famous men and women have been breaking the stigma by speaking out.
These celebrities have struggled with eating disorders and have shared their stories in hopes of encouraging others to seek treatment and overcome their illness.
Demi Lovato has been open about her struggled since the beginning of her career. She frequently talks with fans about her experiences fighting bulimia and living with bipolar disorder and uses her music to spread positive messages about body image and confidence to young women.
Lady Gaga is known for her lavish outfits, theatrical performances, and soaring voice, but her career has had its struggles. She has recently opened up about battling depression throughout her career, along with living with an eating disorder since she was 15. She has since recovered and encourages her “little monsters” to live healthy lifestyles.
This British comedian has struggled with many mental health issues throughout his life, which he discusses in detail in his books. As well as being bulimic since the age of 14, Brand has also experienced obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and substance abuse problems. Thanks to treatment, he has recovered from his eating disorder and is now sober.
Kesha surprised the world when she suddenly checked herself into rehab for bulimia in 2014. In a recent inteview about this time in her life she said, “I went to a dark place. There was a lot of not eating – and I started to think being hungry to the point of feeling almost faint was a positive thing.” Feedback from others around her only made matters worse by complimenting her thin appearance. Kesha explained, “The worse it got, the more positive feedback I was getting. Inside I was really unhappy, but outside, people were like, ‘Wow, you look great.'”
When Lindsay Lohan began to look frighteningly thin in 2005, the rumor mill went wild with claims that she was suffering from an eating disorder. At the time, the actress denied the claims but later admitted to Vanity Fair that the rumors were true. She told the magazine, “I was sick, and I was scared too. I had people sit me down and say, ‘You’re going to die if you don’t take of yourself.’” She has since recovered through rehab and therapy.
Elton John may be an icon, but it took royalty to help him attempt to overcome his eating disorder. The singer told USA Today that he sought support for his bulimia from Princess Diana, who also struggled with the disorder. He said the mutual support “helps you feel not so bad about yourself, and it’s a little bit of comaraderie.” He finally recovered in 1990 after entering rehab for bulimia and cocaine addiction.
Jessica Alba is considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, but she has fought body image issues and anorexia behind closed doors. She struggled with the eating disorder for years, but it spiraled out of control when preparing for her role in the TV series Dark Angel. After realizing she weighed 100 pounds, realized she needed help for her disorder. After recovering, she said, “with treatment I have now conquered the fear that drove me to become dangerously thin.”
Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario struggled with suffered from anorexia and self-harm issues that she says were fueled by the desire to be “perfect.” Speaking to Seventeen magazine she explained, “It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody […] I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school.” After her friends intervened she eventually sought treatment. However, recovery is a gradual process and she admits some days are easier than others.
By the 1990’s Dennis Quaid was already a well-known actor, but preparing for the role of Doc Holiday in the movie Wyatt Earp set off a battle with anorexia and body dysmorphia that lasted for years. He told Best Life Magazine, “My arms were so skinny that I couldn’t pull myself out of a pool. I’d look in the mirror and still see a 180-pound guy, even though I was 138 pounds.” Eventually, Quaid sought help and is now living a healthy life.
Paula Abdul set her eyes on being a star at an early age. Unfortunately, that was accompanied by insecure feelings about her naturally muscular body which eventually manifested into binging, purging, and over-exercising. These behaviors followed her for much of her life until she checked into a mental health clinic in 1994 for treatment. Since recovering, she has partnered with the National Eating Disorder Association to help spread awareness and encourage young women to seek treatment.