5 Celebrities with Eating Disorders

Tracey Gold

Do you remember Tracey Gold? She is probably best known for playing Carol Seaver on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains which ran from 1985 until 1992. Tracey was a famous child star, like her sister Missy. I remember one episode of the show that Carol Seaver fell through the roof of her bedroom, the inference being that she was heavy. Tracey spent many years during the show and after it battling an eating disorder. In 2003, Gold wrote the book Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life with Julie McCarron.

Tracey was pictured on cover of one of People’s bestselling issues ever. Later she said: “There are many trained experts in the field of anorexia and eating disorders; and there are a lot of girls who struggle with it. (My book) is for every sister, daughter, or friend whose life has been touched by anorexia nervosa. My celebrity has provided me a forum from which I can help others.”

Amy Winehouse

I love Amy Winehouse’s music and I felt heart wrenched when she passed away. I think she epitomised what a real rock star should be: messed up and bohemian. She’s no Taylor Swift, she’s proper rock n’ roll. Her weight loss was well documented. She started her career a bit podgier than she ended up. There were accounts of her drinking nothing but wine and eating nothing but Haribo sweets for days on end.

There was a story of her using a toothbrush to throw up and now Alex Winehouse, her 33 year old brother has come out to the press saying that it was bulimia that killed her, not drugs. He said the eating disorder “left her weaker, and more susceptible”. He added: “She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia.” Read the article here.

Daniel Johns

This guy is the Australian lead singer of the band Silverchair, who had some success overseas. He was previously married to Natalie Imbruglia and he was one of the first men I know of to speak publicly about his struggles with food. He said, “It [food] was just the enemy. I just hated the look of it, the smell of it. If anyone talked about it, I’d leave the room.”

“Kinda when I stopped eating was on our second album, just as it felt like everything was so out of control. The reason I think [I did it] was just to gain control. I have a theory because I was being beaten up a lot by people outside of school, it was almost like if I could make myself sick enough they’d take sympathy on me.” (source)

Portia De Rossi

I have previously written at length about Unbearable Lightness, Portia’s great book. To summarize, yes, she did have an eating disorder. She over-exercised, threw up and starved herself at different times. There is one chapter where she describes eating tuna out of a favourite bowl with a pair of chopsticks to slow her down,. There is a part where her brother gets mad at her for feeding her turkey burger to her dog.

Get the book. She is very honest about what she is going through, but I do not want you to read this is you have suffered form an eating disorder yourself. The book is very triggering, especially when she describes (at length) her binge and purge sessions. At their worst, eating disorders can be just as bad, if not worse, than drug addiction. Portia is now vegan, and she seems happier.

Richard Lewis

This guy is an American comedian – you may remember that he played a Rabbi in 7th Heaven and Charlie Sheen’s accountant in Two and a Half Men. I first read his book The Other Great Depression when I randomly bought it at a bookstore. The book is about his recovery from alcoholism – and I DO NOT recommend it. It’s an awful, unfunny read and I think I tossed it before finishing it.

Interestingly, he talks about an eating disorder in it, which are very common among people who abuse other substances. He “chew-spits”. This is an eating disorder that many people don’t even know about. Someone who chew-spits, does just what the name describes – they eat a ‘forbidden’ food and they spit the remainder out, so that they absorb fewer calories. It is a real eating disorder. Read more about chew-spitting here.


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