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If you needed any further proof that eating disorders (EDs) are alive and thriving in Hollywood, this week was it. A slew of female celebs -- including a model-turned-actress, a Disney star, an Olympic swimmer and a country superstar -- went public with their battles with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, emotional eating and more. Their stories are proof positive that EDs know no boundaries, attacking women of all ages, cultures, shapes and sizes.
Portia de Rossi, 37, has written an intimately revealing book, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, about her longtime struggle with anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-exercising. The sexy star holds nothing back, from graphic stories of vomiting up Mexican food to a haunting scene in which she “binged” on fat-free plain yogurt. At her worst, de Rossi’s weight plummeted to 82 pounds. It was 2000, and she was consuming just 300 calories a day while running on a treadmill in her dressing room between takes on Ally McBeal. She was eventually diagnosed with cirrhosis, osteoperosis and organ failure. Now in recovery, she realizes her eating disorder was an attempt to feel a sense of control because she was in the closet at the time and terrified of being outed.
Demi Lovato, 18, checked herself into a treatment center this week to deal with "emotional and physical issues” which, sources close to her, say include bulimia and self-harm/cutting. The wildly popular Disney star has spoken out about being bullied as a teenager, and in September, she told People magazine, "Feeling comfortable in your clothes is something I deal with to this day. I wish I had somebody I had to look up to when I was younger to stand up and say, 'Hey, I have fat days.' So I want to be able to start a foundation or something that's for girls feeling confident, to empower them." Lovato has a tattoo on her ribs that reads, 'You make me beautiful," of which she has said, "There was a song that inspired me when I was younger and it helped me through a really rough time I used to have self-image issues." (Demi isn’t the only one in her family with weight-related drama: Her 8-year-old sister Madison De La Garza plays Juanita Solis, Eva Longoria Parker’s overweight daughter, on Desperate Housewives.)
Despite repeatedly being voted “America’s Sexiest Athlete,” 29-year-old Amanda Beard, the Olympic swimmer with seven medals battled bulimia and self-injury for years, she told People magazine. "I did a good job of putting on a front: ‘Life is perfect. Everything’s fun.’ When I'd go home, it was just darkness." Now a happy and healthy married mom, Beard said her problems came to a head during a growth spurt in her early teens. In college, she fueled her training with fat-free cheese and broccoli, then binged and purged on cookies in her dorm room. “I wanted to be skinny and perfect.” She also cut herself with a razor as a way to release her inner pain. Beard’s Olympic teammate Dara Torres has also spoken out about her own eating disorder.
Wynonna Judd, 46, is also in People magazine this week, proudly showing off a 55-pound weight loss which, she said, was a healthy step following a lifetime of binge and emotional eating. Judd credits a form of music therapy called brain state conditioning with helping cure her eating disorder. The country singer has also retrained herself when it comes to eating for hunger, not comfort. "Very seldom will you see doughnuts in my house because I can eat a box," she says. "It's like a chip, I can't eat just one. I was eating thousands of calories each day." Today, she still has rough days but overall feels confident in her new appearance and has demolished the sense of hopelessness that she says used to define her.
What do you think of all these women going public with their eating disorder struggles? Chime in below.