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Portia de Rossi is a beautiful woman, but she once nearly destroyed her body by starving herself down to 82 lbs. In an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey, airing on Monday, de Rossi speaks for the first time on television about her battle with anorexia. Watch a preview below:
When the Australian actress entered show business as a teenager, she was deeply insecure about her looks, her talent -- and the fact that she was a closeted lesbian. Rather than try and deal with her problems, she became obsessed with controlling her weight to a dangerous degree.
"I would prefer to die than fail another diet," is how De Rossi, 37, describes her mind set to Winfrey.
Even when she reached mainstream success as a cast member on Ally McBeal, De Rossi struggled with anorexia. In fact, it got worse. At her lowest point, the actress "dieted" herself down to a frightening 82 lbs., and was eating just 300 calories a day. And at the time, she didn't see anything wrong with it.
"It was certainly a recognition for my self control," she says on Oprah. "I definitely had some pretty amazing willpower to get down to 82 pounds. And that's what I was holding on to. I didn't think about anything else."
When De Rossi started dating Ellen DeGeneres in 2004, she didn't tell her about the extent of her disease. But that very public relationship helped her to be honest about her sexuality for the first time, and she was eventually able to gain the self-respect to stop hurting herself. The couple has now been married for two years, and De Rossi puts her energy into better things -- like charity work and horseback riding. (The Oprah episode includes a visit to the DeGeneres' private stables.)
In addition to her appearance on Oprah, De Rossi has written a memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain about her sickness and inspiring recovery. The book hits stores on Monday, the day the show airs.
Are you surprised that Portia de Rossi starved herself down to less than 100 pounds? Chime in below!