Eating Disorders Among Celebrities



The myth that you can tell who has an eating disorder based upon their appearance is incredibly dangerous to those who are struggling. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C


Each one of us is not spared from being affected by eating disorders. Adolescents, teens and middle-aged individuals – men and women alike are prone to having one of the several types of this group of diseases. In fact, nearly 30 million Americans have an eating disorder, including famous personalities like actors and actresses, and musicians.

When you practice abnormal eating routines such as eating too much or too little (or none at all), then you could be suffering from an eating disorder. The two most common disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, where the former involves eating too little and the latter involves eating too much and subsequently vomiting to remove everything that he or she has consumed because of fear of gaining


There have been many factors contributing to the prevalence of this group of illnesses among famous people, and the media is the biggest known contributing factor. This is because reporters and journalists are tasked to follow their lives and routines and these famous people are pressured to always look the way they’re supposed to, according to society.

Throughout all of this, we attempt to understand and resonate with the deep anguish conveyed by bodily sufferings. — Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS

Here’s a list of the most popular celebrities who have suffered from a specific eating disorder and have finally come out stronger and better than ever.

  • Demi Lovato. The famous ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ singer has been open about her eating disorder since she had been treated for anorexia as well as bulimia in 2010. She continues to undergo her recovery process, concentrating on her overall mental and physical health and reaching out to the world so they won’t have to suffer like her. She is also afflicted with bipolar disorder and she has been utilizing exercise regimens to help pacify her symptoms.
  • Oprah Winfrey. Despite being strong-willed and confident on the outside, Oprah has had her bouts of eating disorders – all her life, actually. The actress turned millionaire TV show host constantly speaks about her struggles to encourage young men and women to be wary of the signs and learn how to love themselves as they are.
  • Paula Abdul. When she began her dancing career at 7, she was so insecure about herself, especially her weight and frame. So she began to exercise too much. When she got hungry, she would eat too much. She would binge and then vomit after consuming too much food. It was her way of pouring out her negative feelings and she realized that this was not the way to go. So she decided to check herself in a mental health clinic and go into therapy, and she said her life has positively changed since then; although nowadays many peolpe use online therapy instead of “conventional” therapy sessions.
  • Princess Diana. The Princess of Wales has been open about her difficult battle with bulimia, including her suicidal intentions. She had influenced many people young and old with her fearless speeches that encourage self-esteem and self-love – the two most important things to possess that would prevent illnesses such as eating disorders. She continued to fight her battles until her death.
  • Elton John. Amidst his bouts of alcoholism and drug abuse, he was also suffering from bulimia. He was in denial for a long time and had trouble recognizing his illness. Then he finally made it public at no less than the Larry King Live show. He said he was thankful that he decided to ask for help because those words were all he needed to begin his journey towards recovery. Recently, he has been open about his sexual identity as well.

These are just a few of the hundreds of celebrities who went out in the open and spoke about their struggles and their recovery from their eating disorders. It is also because of them that more and more people are aware of the life-threatening effects of this dreaded disease.

It is time for you to accept yourself and celebrate who you are. — Greta Gleissner LCSW