There are a number of celebrities with eating disorders, and recently more and more famous people with eating disorders are coming forward to talk about their experiences. The general public can learn a lot from celebrities with eating disorders.
First and foremost, those with eating disorders can learn that they are not alone. Eating disorders are surprisingly common.
We can also learn a little about the causes of eating disorders. The pressure to be thin is a common cause among celebrities, but a number of people with eating disorders have also suffered some sort of trauma, such as childhood abuse or the end of a relationship.
Famous People with Eating Disorders
The list of famous people with eating disorders includes actors, dancers, singers, and even royalty. One of the things we can learn from this list is that eating disorders can happen to anyone.
Karen Carpenter (musician): Anorexic, she died at age 32 of heart failure. She was significantly underweight.
Christy Henrich (gymnast): Became anorexic after a U.S. gymnastic judge told her she needed to weigh less if she wanted to reach the Olympics. She was 22 years old and weighted only 60 pounds at the time of her death.
Diana, Princess of Wales: Diana is one of the best-known celebrities with eating disorders. She spoke out publicly about her struggle with bulimia and self-injurious behavior.
Heidi Guenther (ballerina): Became anorexic after a theater company told her that at 5’5” and 96 pounds she was “too chunky.” She’d died from anorexia at age 22.
Kristin Haglund (Miss America): Says that she struggled with anorexia at age 16, but got treatment and went on to win the Miss American pageant in 2008.
Audrey Hepburn (actress): Struggled with both anorexia and depression.
Felicity Huffman (actress on “Desperate Housewives”): Struggled with both anorexia and bulimia from teens until her twenties.
Elton John (singer): Has spoken publicly about his struggle with bulimia.
Dennis Quaid (actor): Admitted to battling anorexia in the 1990’s after losing 40 pounds for a movie role.
Franz Kafka (poet and author): Struggled with anorexia.
Maureen McCormick (actress from “The Brady Bunch”): Struggled with bulimia as an adolescent.
Katherine McPhee (“American Idol” runner-up): Was struggling with anorexia while auditioning for the show “American Idol.” After her successful audition, she decided to get help and enrolled in an eating disorders treatment center.
Thandie Newton (actress): Struggled with bulimia but recovered with the help of a therapist. In a recent interview, she said that she still has scars on her knuckles from sticking her fingers down her throat to induce vomiting.
Mary-Kate Olson (actress): Eventually checked into an eating disorders treatment center for the treatment of anorexia.
Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy Osbourne): Struggled with bulimia for 35 years.
Carre Otis (actress and model): Struggled with anorexia for 17 years.
Scarlet Pommers (actress on the show “Reba”)” Struggled with anorexia but recovered with treatment.
Tara Reid (actress): Developed anorexia after breaking up with her fiancé.
Russell Brand (actor and comedian): Was bulimic and self harmed when he was about 12 or 13.
Joan Rivers (television personality): Struggled with bulimia for years.
Portia de Rossi (actress on the hit show “Ally McBeal”): Says she developed anorexia as a result of Hollywood’s pressure to be thin.
Ally Sheedy (actress best known from her role on “The Breakfast Club”): Struggled with both anorexia and bulimia.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (actress on “The Sopranos”): Has spoken publicly about her eating disorder and addiction to exercise.
Yeardley Smith (voice talent of Lisa Simpson on “The Simpsons”): Yeardley struggled with bulimia for 25 years.
Courtney Thorne-Smith (actress on the hit show “Ally McBeal”): Developed anorexia while working on the show, which led to her leaving the show.
Ke$ha (singer): In January, 2014 Ke$ha entered a residential treatment center for eating disorders. According to her mother she suffered from bulimia nervosa.
This is only a partial list of famous people with eating disorders, of course. There are many, many other celebrities with eating disorders.
One of the things we can learn from celebrities with eating disorders is that they can be deadly but there is also hope. Many famous people with eating disorders recover and go on to raise awareness of the problem and encourage others to get help.