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Celebrities With Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder News
Imogen Bailey

Imogen Bailey

Australian actress, model and singer Imogen Bailey revealed her battle with anorexia during her early modeling days during an interview with Now magazine.

Imogen turned to starving herself in order to look her best for revealing fashion shoots. She lost so much weight that one magazine refused to run her pictures because she looked unhealthy. At her skinniest, 5’3″ Imogen weighed less than 90 pounds.

At the urging of concerned friends and family, Bailey turned to therapy and meditation to help recover from her eating disorder.

Bailey says she has a much healthier self-image today.

“Women’s bodies change on such a constant basis – when it’s that time of the month I can add 5kg quite easily,” she explained. “I try not to focus on that too much and if I connect all the dots and meditate and keep my mind focused and healthy, that’s one of the ways of avoiding slipping back into eating disorders.”

Isabelle Caro

Isabelle Caro

French actress and model Isabelle Caro succumbed to anorexia in December 2010 at the age of 28 after a 15-year battle with the eating disorder. To help raise awareness about the dangerous effects of eating disorders, Isabelle appeared in a provocative Italian advertising campaign that featured her nude, anorexia-ravaged body. At the time of the ad shoot in 2007, 5’4″ Isabelle weighed only 60 pounds.

“The idea was to shock people into awareness,” said Isabelle about the ad. “I decided to do it to warn girls about the danger of diets and of fashion commandments.”

Isabelle also detailed her struggles with anorexia in her 2008 memoir, “The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Get Fat.” In the autobiography, Isabelle talks about her overprotective mother, who often criticized her for being too heavy. To stave off weight gain during puberty, Isabella lived on only one square of chocolate per day. She would follow this extreme diet for the next 15 years, often lapsing into delirium and comas.

Isabella told Vanity Fair in 2007, “I wanted to have the body of a child forever, to make my mother happy.”

Gretchen Rossi

Gretchen Rossi

Gretchen Rossi, one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Orange County, admitted to struggling with bulimia in a 2009 interview with In Touch magazine.

To lose weight in high school and college, Gretchen threw up after meals. After being caught by her friends and parents, Gretchen sought therapy for her eating disorder and decided to change her habits drastically, becoming a fitness trainer and nutritionist.

Gretchen told In Touch that she has a much healthier body image today than she did in her eating disorder days.

“This is the best weight I’ve ever been at, and this is the best I feel like I’ve ever looked,” says Gretchen. “I feel toned and healthy and good. And it took a little bit to get to that place, but I’m grateful I’m finally at that place.”

Geri Halliwell

Geri Halliwell

Many Spice Girls fans may have not known it at the time, but Ginger Spice was dealing with bulimia. “It’s not really about food or the body shape. It’s just a way of dealing or coping with life…I really feel that what’s helped me is talking about it with other people who share the same addiction,” she explained in 2003.

Gelsey Kirkland

Gelsey Kirkland

In 1986, Kirkland, with Greg Lawrence, published Dancing on My Grave, a tell-all autobiography detailing her struggles with eating disorders and drug addiction. One of the truths of art and life is that what we see with our eyes is not the whole story. I believe this same truth applies to eating disorders and the obsession with the body. I am not a doctor of anything, but I can offer my perspective on this topic as a person who has been through the goulash, and as an artist from the lopsided world of ballet. From my point of view, narcissistic body image problems exist as a manifestation of our spiritual state. It is not a body issue; it is an issue of the soul. Anorexia is an obsession with externals and, if left unchecked, a shutting down of the body and soul, sometimes tragically to the point of death.

Both ballet and society at large can be accused of the same obsessions: technique, technology, sexy, pretty, information, money–all skimming the surface, all externals. Little or no time is given to the heart, to the story, to meaning. We are presently in a “healthy,” “sporty” body image period. We talk openly about health issues. This is good and necessary, however, the body still remains primary. The body rules!

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Poet Franz Kafka, who wrote the short story “The Hunger Artist”, suffered from anorexia. The evidence for the hypothesis that the poet Franz Kafka had suffered from an atypical anorexia nervosa is presented. Kafka was slim and underweight throughout his life and showed an ascetic attitude and abjuration of physical enjoyment and pleasure (fasting, vegetarianism, sexual abstinence, emphasis on physical fitness). The analysis is mainly based on Kafka’s own descriptions in his letters, diaries, and literary work. Kafka was achievement oriented, reported many sadomasochistic fantasies, and had an anancastic (obsessive-compulsive) depressive personality.

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple

Singer and songwriter Fiona Apple became anorexic after being raped outside of her mother’s home at the age of twelve. She says she was not anorexic out of a desire to be thin, but as a reaction to being raped. She also admitted to having self-injurious behaviors in the past.

Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman

Actress Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) battled both bulimia and anorexia from her teens into her 20s. The bulimia evolved into anorexia. Huffman’s weight dropped to 98 pounds, and her periods stopped.
With her family growing increasingly concerned, she sought the help of a therapist. At that time, she viewed herself — as she told the world in her Emmy acceptance speech — as “a chunky 22-year-old with really big pink glasses and a bad perm.” (USA Today)

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Elvis suffered with bipolar disorder, which is a more technical name for manic depression. Elvis’ substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic depression should be placed in the larger context of a personality disorder. We think that this will shed new light on the issue of Elvis’ death and will take it out of the narrow context of suspected overdose and addiction to the larger and more fundamental issues of Elvis’ childhood, family history, the cultural influences of the times in which he lived and other factors which contributed to a possible personality disorder.

Elton John

Elton John

(Birth name Reginald Kenneth Dwight)
Elton John attended the Royal Academy of Music from 1958 to 1964 on a piano scholarship at age 11.  He dropped out just before final exams to pursue show business.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.  He was married in 1984 to Renate Blauel who was a sound engineer. They divorced 4 years later, In 1990 he entered rehabilitation for drugs, alcohol and bulimia. In recovery, he lost weight and underwent hair replacement. He afterward decided to not fight his emotions and took a male lover. He was good friends with legend John Lennon and was Godson to Sean Ono Lennon, son of John and Yoko.  In 1997 he was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and he re-wrote and sang  “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to his friend Princess Lady Diana at her funeral.

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