LIFESTYLE

8 Celebrities Who Opened Up About Eating Disorders

'When I look back at images of myself... I can see how ill I was.'

01/11/2016 16:33

Zayn Malik has made headlines after revealing in his new book that he suffered from a “serious” eating disorder during his One Direction days.

The singer is one of a number of celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with eating disorders over the years.

In the spirit of raising awareness - and encouraging those who do suffer to speak out and seek help - here are seven other famous people who have laid bare their struggles with the illness.

  • Zayn Malik
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Zayn Malik is the most recent celebrity to open up about struggling with an eating disorder. In his autobiography, 'Zayn', the singer revealed he suffered from an eating disorder which would see him going without food for days on end.

    “When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” he says.

    “I was suffering from an eating disorder. It wasn’t as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that, I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognise it for what it was.

    "I think it was about control. I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did."
  • Demi Lovato
    Noam Galai via Getty Images
    Demi Lovato has been vocal about her struggles with bulimia, which saw her checked into rehab in 2010, aged 18. Lovato said growing up around her mum, a former cheerleader, and her grandmother, both of whom battled bulimia, didn't make it easy. 

    "Being around somebody who was 80 pounds and had an active eating disorder...it's hard not to grow up like that," she told American Way.

    The singer is now a body positive role model for many women. She has previously slammed the 'thigh gap' trend and now regularly posts health and fitness videos on Snapchat.
  • Jade Thirlwall, Little Mix
    Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
    Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall spoke about her struggle with anorexia in the band's book, 'Our World'.

    She said she developed the illness when she was 13, after going through a particularly difficult time in her personal life.

    She wrote: “Anorexia is a self-destructive thing and you become stubborn, so when people are trying to tell you something you get it into your head that they’re against you and you’re not going to listen."

    Revealing the extent of her illness, she added: “It took going to hospital to make me realise that it wasn’t a game, it was something really serious. They sat me down in the clinic and were quite tough at first, spelling it out: ‘You’re destroying your body and if you keep doing this you will die.’"

    After this, she began to conquer her eating disorder with the help of therapy sessions and regular hospital visits.
  • Russell Brand
    John Stillwell/PA Wire
    Russell Brand revealed he started binge-eating and purging around the time he was 11. "It was really unusual in boys, quite embarrassing. But I found it euphoric," he said.

    As an adult, the bulimia briefly returned and reflecting back, Brand believes it was "about getting out of myself and isolation, feeling inadequate and unpleasant".
  • Kesha
    John Shearer via Getty Images
    Kesha spoke about her battle with depression and an eating disorder, after being trolled about her body on Instagram. 

    Sharing a photo of herself with both middle fingers in the air on Instagram, she wrote: “I have been battling depression and an eating disorder for a while now.

    “My career is in a strange place and it feels like I’m fighting an uphill fight some days. but I have decided to take my life back. my freedom. my happiness. my voice. my worth. I will not just fucking be quiet and hide."
  • Lady Gaga
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The singer said she has struggled with bulimia and anorexia since she was 15.

    She launched a sub-section on her site called 'The Body Revolution' to encourage her fans to love themselves and promote positive body image.
  • Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars
    Amanda Edwards via Getty Images
    Actress Troian Bellisario from 'Pretty Little Liars' said she suffered from anorexia and also self-harmed.

    "It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody," she told Seventeen. "I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behaviour.”

    She added: "I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. So I tried to keep it light and funny. I became imprisoned [by my eating disorder and self-harm]. And it was something I fought with."
  • Claire Richards, Steps
    Dave Hogan via Getty Images
    Steps star Claire Richards said she became so obsessed with her weight at the height of her band’s fame that she developed bulimia.

    She said she would binge on food and then purge to please critics and fit into the pop star mould.

    In her book, 'All Of Me', she wrote: “I was young, in the spotlight and under pressure - not only to perform but to look a certain way. Controlling your food intake gives you the sense you’re in control of life. I remember reading about anorexia when I was just 11. I didn’t know what anorexia was then, but I remembered the word and, years later, I was to understand only too well what it meant."
Useful websites and helplines:
  • Beat, call 0845 634 7650 or email fyp@b-eat.co.uk
  • Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
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