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Celebrity Spot-Lite: Stars Who Battled Eating Disorders

September 15, 2011

Not long ago, I featured an UsWeekly slideshow entitled “We’re Tired of the Fat Jokes!” which covered multiple celebrities, from Kelly Clarkson to Kate Winslet, who have encountered backlash surrounding their being perceived as overweight. Well, at the end of that particularly upsetting slideshow was a link to another particularly upsetting slideshow concerning…well, the opposite.

It’s no secret that I believe that the media is completely messed up in the way that it deals with weight–overweight, underweight, healthy weight…it doesn’t matter, you will be found, attacked, and publicly shamed/humiliated. And I’m not completely sure how I feel about skipping through a slideshow that features women struggling with eating disorders. On the one hand, it’s positive that they can speak out about their battle and bring light to an issue that is often made light of or ignored. But, in another way, it’s such a deeply personal struggle (and one that you have to wonder if celebrities would not be so open about if they weren’t forced to) that it feels voyeuristic and wrong to be jumping through a public slideshow solely on this topic with no resolution or advice or outlets of help.

Also, remember how I just mentioned that Kelly Clarkson was featured in the overweight slideshow? Well, guess who is also featured in the eating disorders slideshow?

Spotlight on Kelly Clarkson

In 2007, Clarkson admitted to struggling with bulimia after a skinnier, less talented singer stole her part in a high school musical. “I thought if I came back and I was cuter and thinner, then I’d get the role,” she told CosmoGirl. “It wasn’t smart. . .and I became bulimic for the next six months.”

Wow, this poor girl just can’t get a break. Can you imagine being in the public spotlight about every single aspect and fluctuation of your weight? It’s extremely disheartening just to read about, and I really cannot imagine living through it. Growing up, when a family member would say “Um, do you think you should be eating that?” when I was enjoying something ‘sinful,’ it would throw me into a tizzy for days (mainly of eating my feelings…), but can you imagine being in every magazine and on so many websites criticizing you on a regular basis for your weight? It’s appalling.

One interesting feature that I was surprised about was Sharon Osbourne. I know that she’s publicly struggled with her weight, as has her daughter Kelly Osbourne, but I was interested to learn of the ongoing nature of it for her, although eating disorders are often lifelong issues.

Spotlight on Sharon Osbourne

She may have survived a battle with cancer, but The Talk co-host admits she’s still fighting her eating disorder. “I’ve been able to conquer just about everything except bulimia,” she has said.

It’s also fascinating to me that there is really only one person featured who has an overeating food addiction featured, and that’s Wynona Judd.

Spotlight on Wynona Judd

In January 2006, the country singer checked into treatment to confront her eating disorder. “Food to me is what alcohol is to an alcoholic, and the struggle is up and down,” Judd told Larry King. “I had been using food for every emotion I had. . .and it became too much, so I did something about it.”

You can check out the rest on your own, and I look forward to your comments. Thanks for really delving into the issues surrounding the media and weight…I’m always fascinated by what y’all have to say!

(Images courtesy of UsWeekly)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2011 6:36 pm

    This story kinda breaks my heart. I know how much an eating disorder takes from you – and how much it hurts (the worst part is that it’s you hurting yourself and you know it). Honestly I don’t know why anyone aspires to fame anymore – no amount of money could possibly be worth this indignity.

    • Anastasia permalink
      December 16, 2011 10:43 pm

      Maybe, when they are just starting out, they think that they are different and that they can be stronger than others who are already deeply drowned in this indignity. But then, one thing leads to another, and the newbies realize they are not as strong as they thought they were but at that point it’s hard to go back.

  2. September 15, 2011 6:36 pm

    Wyona Judd’s characterization of food as a form of substance abuse to deal with emotional trauma is really poignant and resonates deeply with me. I wish more people talked about this.

  3. Sexy Curmudgeon permalink
    September 16, 2011 1:44 am

    Right, I think the craziest aspect of media hyper-attention on celebrities’ weight is the weirdly reflexive cycle that it establishes. Celebrities like Karen Carpenter (excuse the possibly cliche example that stems from a Lifetime movie) and countless others have developed eating disorders in part because of that media scrutiny, the the media decides to focus on the problems that it itself has helped create? There is nothing else to say, except really f** up.
    On a separate note, it seems to be a rarely acknowledged fact that eating disorders including anorexia, bulemia, and overeating all commonly overlap. I guess this can be read as another symptom of general over-simplification of afflictions and cures particularly prevalent in American culture (you’re cured of alcoholism!), or simply the ignorance that most people have of the true nature of these afflictions.

  4. Anastasia permalink
    December 16, 2011 10:38 pm

    These are the celebrities who opened up about their struggles. I am sure the majority of celebs have some struggle with food and their body image. Most of them just don’t want to talk about.

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