The success of the new Taylor Swift documentary, Miss Americana, has been a big step forward in the public awareness of eating disorders, and it has encouraged many women to come forward about their own struggles with anorexia and bulimia. There are, of course, many other celebrities who have struggled with eating disorders and have been very candid about it. Here’s a new look at some who bravely came out about their struggles in the hopes it can help others.
The First Celebrity Eating Disorder Tragedy?
There’s a new look at celebrities with eating disorders on the site Medicinenet, and top of the list is Karen Carpenter, who may have been the first celebrity who put a tragic public face on anorexia. When Carpenter died in 1983, there was a tremendous stigma against eating disorders, it wasn’t something that was dealt without in the open, but her passing was a terrible public rebuke that couldn’t be ignored.
As Carpenter’s Wikipedia page explains, anorexia was “little known at the time.” She began dieting in high school, and some noticed she looked unhealthy in the mid-seventies. Today her voice still holds up wonderfully well, and her death stands as a terrible public reminder of eating disorders.
Current Celebrities Who Came Out About Eating Disorders
In recent years, Demi Lovato came out about her eating disorder. Lovato has struggled with drug addiction and bipolar disorder as well, and as she told Women’s Health back in 2017 that food was “still the biggest challenge in my life. The less I have to think about food, the easier it is to go about having a normal life, and I don’t want to let anybody down, so when I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed.”
Lovato’s eating disorder would flare up when she had romantic problems. “When I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry, and I end up bingeing…I don’t want to give it the power that it controls my every thought, but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about. Body image, what I wish I could be eating, what I wish I could be eating next, what I wish I didn’t eat, you know it’s just constant.”
Like Taylor Swift, Lovato made a documentary about her life as well and has been very candid about her mental and emotional struggles.
Zoe Kravitz, currently starring in the series High Fidelity, had also talked openly about suffering from an eating disorder when she was a teenager. She took on a lot of the pressures her parents dealt with being famous, and as a kid, she recalls, “I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere, and I was surrounded by an enormous amount of beauty and posturing. I was a chunky, perfectly normal-looking 15-year old, but I had this remarkably beautify skinny mother and a father who was dating a supermodel, and I felt short and ungainly.”
Kravitz battled bulimia for a decade, and she got help for the illness with therapy. “I’m OK now,” she says. “I’m vigilant. It’s a disease, and I never let myself forget that.”