There are many anorexic celebrities and famous people who have suffered from eating disorders. In the past, anorexia and other eating disorders were usually not talked about. However, many famous people with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are now bravely coming forward and talking about their conditions and sharing their stories of recovery. Their stories may provide hope and inspiration and models for recovery to people who are struggling with eating disorders.
However, we present these stories with a warning. Eating disorder recovery memoirs and stories of anorexic celebrities are controversial as some sufferers report that they can provide recipes for eating disordered behaviors to emulate. Certain books and stories may be triggering to some individuals. If you are not yet in treatment, we strongly encourage you to seek treatment with a qualified professional. We encourage you to discuss any stories of recovery you read with your treatment team.
Here are some celebrities that have struggled with – and overcome – eating disorders.
Kate Dillon – This model was told by photographers that she needed to lose more weight. She consequently battled anorexia for seven years. She quit modeling to work on recovery, gained weight, and worked on self-acceptance. She ultimately reinvented herself as a plus-size model. She is now an advocate for eating disorder awareness and treatment.
Katie Couric – This television host and journalist struggled with bulimia during college and for two years afterward. Couric recovered with the help of a therapist. Recently, She decided to speak out about her journey to health after interviewing other famous people with anorexia and bulimia. She says she wanted people to know about the self-loathing that often accompanies bulimia and also to know that eating disorders can affect everyone.
Kirsten Haglund – Crowned Miss America in 2008, this young woman struggled with anorexia as a teenager. After two years of intensive outpatient treatment, she made health a priority and went on to win the Miss American pageant. Her platform was eating disorder awareness. Since stepping into the national spotlight, Haglund has continued to spread awareness as a role model for young girls. She launched the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, which provides financial aid to those seeking treatment for eating disorders. She says she used to equate thinness with self-worth but now sees she has much more to offer.
Ashley Hamilton – This actor, who starred in Iron Man 3, has suffered from both anorexia and bulimia. He says he still has control issues with food – recovery from eating disorders can be a lifelong process – but went public to help encourage other male stars with eating disorders to share their story and get help. While women are more likely than men to suffer from eating disorders, these conditions can also affect men but many people aren’t aware of that.
Jane Fonda – This actress struggled with anorexia for more than 30 years, beginning at the age of 12. She was one of the first celebrities with anorexia to speak openly about the disorder. She learned about physical fitness and began encouraging others to exercise in a healthy way.
Alanis Morisette – This singer fought a four-year battle with anorexia and bulimia between the ages of 14 and 18 while trying to break into the music business. She says she used food as a way to cope with difficult feelings. She has said, “My fraught relationship with food and fat has always been a cloaked invitation into a more profound kindness to myself (one I have so often ignored).” In the course of her recovery, she learned to treat herself with kindness and discovered that she didn’t have to be perfect.
Scarlett Pomers – This actress from the popular show “Reba” struggled with anorexia for years. Like many other formerly anorexic celebrities who have gone on to serve as activists working to increase awareness of eating disorders and help others with conditions like anorexia and bulimia, she is now a spokesperson for an eating disorders association.
Portia de Rossi – This actress struggled with anorexia and bulimia for many years, beginning when she was only 12. She says she used to seek validation from others but has learned to accept herself as she is, imperfections and all. In her book Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain she talks about her journey to self-acceptance and becoming comfortable in her own skin.
Frank Bruni – This journalist and NY Times restaurant critic struggled with a large appetite and bulimia since childhood. In his memoir, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, Bruni recounts his struggle with weight and how he finally overcame his eating disorder by accepting his body and focusing on the quality of food versus the quantity, which parlayed into his work as a restaurant critic.
Anorexic Models – Follow the link for more information on how the fashion industry influences eating disorders.
As you can see, just as eating disorders may affect every demographic, including children, teens, middle-aged, and men, and people of all ethnicities, there are of course, many celebrities who have suffered from eating disorders If you suffer from anorexia or another eating disorder, hopefully reading about these famous people who have recovered will give you hope. These celebrities survived, recovered and went on to thrive despite their struggles. We hope that if you are struggling, you will take the difficult step of reaching out for help today.
Page updated 2014