So, Brandy is the latest celebrity to hop on the “I had an eating disorder” bandwagon, claiming to have suffered from an eating disorder when she was a teen:
“I wanted to be so thin. That was my main thing. So I started not taking care of myself — not eating properly, not eating at all, diet pills, regurgitating, and all of these things that girls do.” ( Source )
The article goes on to say how the star was very insecure about herself and was miserable during her teen years despite having money and fame.
Now, this blog entry may come off pompous and insensitive, but when is it really an eating disorder? When does it stop being a diet or phase and turn into a full-blown, diagnosable eating disorder that one has no control over? I feel like a lot of celebrities who claim to have eating disorders are either exaggerating or just don’t fully understand what an actual eating disorder is, and just because they threw up a few times they think they can all of a sudden claim they had bulimia. Case and point:
After losing an audition to a cuter girl, Kelly stated, “I thought if I came back and I was cuter and thinner — then I’ll get the role,” Kelly said. “The lesson I took from that was purely superficial, but that’s what I grew up thinking for a long time. It wasn’t smart, and I headed straight into an eating disorder and became bulimic for the next six months.” And on her apparent recovery, Kelly states, “One of my guy friends caught on to it, and I just felt so ashamed and embarrassed,” she revealed. “I literally went cold turkey and snapped out of it.” ( Source )
After dropping to 70 pounds (at 5’2, age 11) after being in ballet, Ashlee Simpson stated, “I was around a lot of girls with eating disorders, and I actually had a minor one myself,” she says. “My parents stepped in and made me eat,” she goes on to say, adding that it was “about six months of not eating too much at all.” ( Source )
After claiming she would only eat a cracker a cucumber a day in high school, Snooki stated, “My parents told me, ‘You need to eat, this is very dangerous,’ so I gained my weight back to like 98, where I always was.” ( Source )
After being asked about body image issues, Lady Gaga stated, “I used to throw up all the time in high school,” Gaga admitted. “So I’m not that confident. I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina, but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.” Lady Gaga on how she stopped stated, “It made my voice bad, so I had to stop. The acid on your vocal cords … it’s very bad.” ( Source )
There’s dozens more who have claimed to have real eating disorders, but the ones above are just a handful of some of the celebrities I call bullshit on. I’m sure they struggled with disordered eating and purging, but back in the day, would they have been able to be diagnosed with actual eating disorders? Can one have an eating disorder for just a few months and then suddenly snap out of it when their parents force feed them or their friend calls them out? Can one have an eating disorder just because they fasted for a few months? Can one stop an eating disorder just because it made their voice bad? Can you have just a “minor” eating disorder? Brandy sure doesn’t make a good case for herself with her poor choice of words, claiming that she was just doing things all girls do, making it seem more like a phase than an actual life-threatening disease.
Karen Carpenter had anorexia. Tracy Gold had anorexia. Demi Lovato had bulimia. Portia De Rossi had anorexia. But the celebrities above? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not a health care professional nor do I know these girls in person. I have no right to say whether or not they had real eating disorders. But the point I am trying to make here is that the more celebrities that suddenly come out with the fact that they too had an eating disorder, the harder it is to differentiate between an unhealthy diet and an actual mental disorder. I don’t really believe one can just snap out of a mental disorder, and if you can, it’s quite rare. I don’t think upset parents or acid ruining your vocal cords would really be enough for you to stop. These celebrities make it sound like they had a choice. Granted, we all do have the choice to enter recovery, but they made it sound as if it was as easy as flipping a switch. Those of us with real eating disorders know it’s not like that at all.
So, what are your opinions on the celebrities who come out with having eating disorders? Which ones do you think are legit and which ones do you think are bull? Do you think it’s more helpful or harmful when celebrities come out and speak about their different battles with anorexia/bulimia?