With society so focused on appearances, it’s no surprise that those who are constantly in the spotlight feel pressured to conform to the ‘skinny standard.’ Here is a list of some celebrities who have bravely opened up about their struggles with disordered eating and body image.
Demi struggles with binge eating. They say they constantly think about their body image and what they’re eating. “When I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry and I end up bingeing.” Demi’s story reminds us that recovery is a process with ups and downs, but it will get easier.
Camila has struggled with disordered eating since childhood. Her struggles peaked during the filming of Riverdale. She would obsess over her body image and go through phases of bingeing and purging. She found that focusing on health rather than appearance has helped her. While she still struggles with her eating disorder, her focus on health decreases insecurity and anxiety.
Lily had anorexia starting in her teens, which, along with bulimia, followed her into her 20s. She says that having an eating disorder is a learning curve, but she has been able to find balance and a good support system. She shared her experience because she knows how isolating and shameful having an eating disorder can feel.
Lady Gaga has had bulimia and anorexia since age 15. She struggles finding balance, especially when on tour, but appreciates unconditional love and compassion from her fans and admires other celebrities for speaking up about their eating disorders.
Taylor has struggled with body image since reaching fame, as she started to notice people commenting on her body and appearance. She would exercise a lot and barely eat so that she could fit society’s beauty standards. It’s taken time, but she now chooses to value her own opinions most, which has made a huge difference.
Stress from her engagement and being in the spotlight led to Princess Diana developing bulimia, which took her ten years to overcome. She found comfort in food, but felt ashamed of her disorder. Her openness on the topic paved the way for more destigmatized discussions on eating disorders.
Hilary developed a negative relationship with her body when she was 17 after starring in Lizzy McGuire. She felt as if she should be skinny because the other actresses were skinny. She now values her health over everything else, focusing on things that make her feel better rather than look “better,” and spending time with people who support her.
Lily Allen has also experienced bulimia. She wasn’t proud, but losing weight earned her compliments and magazine covers. While she looked skinny, she wasn’t happy. Her health and happiness improved once she began to ignore people rewarding her thinness and began to eat on her own terms, not to impress others..
Outside pressures caused Kelly to be very unhappy and lose a lot of weight. She also used to exercise excessively, even when it injured her body, because she believed that society wanted skinniness. She felt better once she got away from negative people in her life and turned towards positive, supportive people.
Kesha felt like she had to be a certain size in order to be successful. This made her feel ashamed and to purge whenever she ate. It didn’t help that people kept complimenting her on her thinness when she was deep in the experience of an eating disorder. With the help of her mom, she completed a rehabilitation program, and she wants people to know that recovery is possible.
Jennette’s mother introduced her to diet culture as a child and taught her that being thin is the ideal way to be. Therapy helped her realise that her mother’s idealised view of thinness was the issue, and Jennette was able to recover from her disordered eating. She emphasises being “fully recovered,” and wants to give others hope that this is possible.
We know that having an eating disorder is hard enough as it is, but the feelings of isolation and shame that may come with it make it even harder. We hope that reading about these strong and courageous people has helped remind you that you are not alone, and that recovery is possible.
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Zoe is an intern at Beanbag Health. She is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Cognitive Science. Zoe is excited to be working at Beanbag Health and is passionate about its cause of making eating disorder and negative body image recovery easy and available. She is eager to see a world where mental health disorders are no longer stigmatized, and where anyone who needs care is be able to access it.
Clinically Reviewed By:
Iain is a consultant psychiatrist with postgraduate training in medicine, psychiatry, complexity science, and healthcare informatics. He's fascinated by the relationship between physical health and mental health and has extensive experience with eating disorder patients in inpatient settings. He's an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University of Oxford. His passion is making psychological strategies for recovery available to all.