15 Celebs Who Overcame Eating Disorders

July 9, 2014  |  
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Contrary to popular opinion, white women aren’t the only ones who suffer from eating disorders. In the U.S., 20 million women, including women of color, and 10 million men battle an eating disorder behind closed doors. Here’s a look at celebs who overcame eating disorders to go on and have healthy relationships with their bodies.

Portia de Rossi

Sometimes the Hollywood standards of beauty can be too much for a star to maintain, especially if they’ve had trouble with weight or eating growing up. That was the case with Portia de Rossi. The “Ally McBeal” star revealed during the lowest point of her battle with anorexia and bulimia, she was forcing herself to live on just eating 300 calories a day. “Ever since I was 12 years old, I would starve myself daily and then binge after the job was over,” she said in an interview on “Good Morning America.” “And that was just the diet I returned to every single time I needed to lose weight.”

Elton John

Elton John has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide during his career, which has spanned over five decades,but even though the British singer would take the stage with confidence, secretly he battled with bulimia. Princess Diana had also battled the eating disorder and John credited her support (and rehab) with helping him overcome bulimia and stay healthy. When his dear friend was killed in a car crash after being followed by the paparazzi, John re-wrote and dedicated “Candle in the Wind” to her.

Lady Gaga

A few months ago, Lady Gaga caused an uproar with one of her performances. While onstage in Austin, TX, someone threw up a green and black liquid all over the “Bad Romance” singer. Some people who felt Lady Gaga was glamorizing eating disorders were up in arms. Lady Gaga spoke with “E! News” about it and even though she’s battled with an eating disorder herself for 10 years, she still stood by her show. “This performance had absolutely nothing to do with any eating disorder, and we never intended for it to be taken that way,” she said. “I’m really proud of the performance and really stand by the message of rage and pain that we were trying to express in that moment.”

Paula Abdul

Singer/choreographer Paula Abdul has been in the entertainment industry for decades but after Simon Cowell tapped her to be a host on “American Idol,” she saw a resurgence in her career. The “Opposites Attract” singer admitted to having struggled with bulimia in her past. Following a successful tour in 1994, Abdul had to take some time out of her grueling schedule and checked herself into a clinic.

Russell Brand

Funny man Russell Brand has come a long way from who he once was. The British comedian has been open about his struggles with alcohol, drugs and sex addictions. Growing up, Brand was an overweight teen and as a result, he became a bulimic at the age of 14. The “Get Him To The Greek” star struggled with the eating order until he went into rehab for other issues.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi

Once MTV put a camera in front of her and we saw her fist-pumping, pickle-eating, club-hopping ways up and down the Jersey shore, we fell in love with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi immediately. But the pint-sized, fun-loving star revealed that her life wasn’t always filled with sunshine. She battled with anorexia in high school as a cheerleader and would starve herself for fear that she would be replaced with someone younger and thinner on the squad.

Tara Reid

Earlier this year, party girl Tara Reid raised eyebrows with her skinnier than normal appearance. The “American Pie” star has admitted in the past that she overcame an eating disorder following a bad break up. Trying to mend a broken heart after her split with former MTV personality Carson Daly, Reid would only eat one meal a day and drink tons of Diet Coke because the bubbles made her feel full.

Billy Bob Thornton

Most people may know him as the ex-husband of Angelina Jolie but Billy Bob Thornton has had a long career in front of the cameras. He would often lose or gain weight for a role and after dropped almost 60 lbs following the 1997 movie “U Turn,” he struggled putting the weight back on. “I think I had a little mental problem,” Thornton said. “I got anorexic; of course, I denied it to my girlfriend and everyone else who said I had an eating disorder.”

Lindsay Lohan

By the time she was 10 years old, Lindsay Lohan was considered a veteran in front of the cameras. After landing dual roles in “The Parent Trap,” Lohan became a household name. But growing up in Hollywood proved to be a difficult task for the Long Island native. Lohan has had numerous run-ins with the law and almost as many rehab stays under her belt. Lilo has also battled with bulimia. “SNL” alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were so concerned with Lohan’s gaunt physique that they staged an impromptu intervention.

Nicole Scherzinger

Former Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger became an overnight sensation but her secret battles may have ended her run with the chart-topping girl group. Scherzinger spoke about her struggles with anorexia, bulimia and body issues for the first time with “Time” magazine. “I just hated myself,” she revealed. “I hated myself. I really was so disgusted with myself and so embarrassed. I felt so alone. I was in a group, and I never felt so alone in my life. I guess it was like my addiction, right? I never did drugs, but kinda doing things to myself was my addiction.”

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci played the dark and brooding Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” movie and as a child star, her road through puberty certainly wasn’t easy. Taking some time out of her career, a 14-year-old Ricci went into treatment to deal with an eating disorder and then her world was turned upside down when she was outed for her decision. “Somebody actually found out about it and outed me while I was recovering,” she said in an interview with “Marie Claire” magazine. “It was a horrifying thing to do to a 14-year-old trying to cope with a devastating illness.”

Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons has been a fitness guru, a motivational speaker and an ardent supporter of physical exercise for decades but his road to a healthier lifestyle wasn’t an easy one. His quest began in the 70’s when Simmons was morbidly obese. Looking for a way to lose weight, he struggled with compulsive eating and tried diet pills, laxatives, starving himself and throwing up after binge eating before he sought professional help. Simmons would finally find the answer with physical activity and finally lost the more than 100 lbs of extra weight.

Brittany Snow

Getting her start in front of the camera on the soap opera “Guiding Light,” Brittany Snow became a promising star. She moved on to star in the film adaptation of “Hairspray” and to play the conniving cheerleader in “John Tucker Must Die” but Snow opened up to her fans about a secret she’s lived with for much of her short life. Snow struggled with anorexia, depression and self-mutilation for nine years before seeking help.

Dennis Quaid

He lost more than 45 pounds to play the role of a dying man in “Wyatt Earp” but after filming wrapped, Dennis Quaid found himself dealing with weight loss issues for the first time in his life. The 60-year-old actor ended up seeking treatment. “I’d look in the mirror and still see a 180 pound guy, even though I was 138 pounds,” he said in an interview with “People” magazine. “For many years, I was obsessed about what I was eating, how many calories it had, and how much exercise I’d have to do.”

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson shot to fame by winning the first season of “American Idol.” But before she was crowned winner, Clarkson had to deal with weight issues back in high school. The 32-year-old developed an eating disorder during her first year in high school after losing a part in a school musical to a less talented but skinnier singer. “I thought if I came back and I was cuter and thinner — then I’ll get the role,” Kelly said to “CosmoGirl” magazine. “The lesson I took from that was purely superficial, but that’s what I grew up thinking for a long time. It wasn’t smart, and I headed straight into an eating disorder and became bulimic for the next six months.”

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