Four Famous Women in Recovery Who Overcame an Eating Disorder

Willow Place on July 24, 2017
Four Famous Women in Recovery Who Overcame an Eating Disorder

Anyone can have an eating disorder. Right now, about 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder, including celebrities. The pressure put on famous people to always look their best has pushed quite a few of them to develop eating disorders in a misguided attempt to “gain control” over their bodies. This seems to especially be the case with famous women in music and film. Thankfully, many of the women in the spotlight have had success in overcoming their eating disorders and have since come forward to advocate for positive body image mentality and health. Some of the most famous women in recovery can be found below, along with what they have to say about their experiences with an eating disorder.

Demi Lovato

Pop star Demi Lovato was treated for both bulimia and anorexia back in 2010. Since then, she has come forward as an unofficial spokesperson for women and young girls who struggle with body image and eating disorders. Lovato avoids relapse by focusing on a health and fitness plan that was constructed as part of her recovery. As one of the most famous women in recovery, Lovato says:

“I have come a long way mentally, emotionally, and physically, and I’m proud of where I am today. When I look back, it saddens me to think that I was so hard on myself — when I was younger, I thought I had to look like everyone else, but I learned that beauty comes from how you feel about yourself. Once I started taking care of my mind, body, and soul, I realized that I didn’t need to conform to what’s ‘normal’ and started to love myself.”

Lady Gaga

This pop superstar has no qualms about being one of the most well-known women in recovery. Back in 2012, when she was still in the early years of her career, singer and performer Lady Gaga revealed on her website that she was and has been struggling with both anorexia and bulimia since she was only 15 years old. When relaying this to her fans, Gaga posted stories about her weight fluctuations and even shared photos. Since opening up about her disorders, she founded the Born This Way Foundation. This nonprofit organization works with young people to provide them with resources they need in the battle against bullying, substance abuse, negative body image, and much more. Gaga says:

“My weight loss [and weight] gain since I was a child has tormented me. No amount of help has ever healed my pain about it. But YOU have… This is who I am. And I am proud at any size. And I love you, and want you to be proud in any form you may take as well.”

Alanis Morissette

Canadian alternative rock singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette has admitted to having struggled with both anorexia and bulimia when she was young, spanning from age 14 to age 18. During this time, Morissette was still trying to make it big in the music industry and faced extreme pressure and scrutiny as a budding artist. She was able to overcome her eating disorders through therapy. Now, she leads a happy and healthy life, talking about her practice of mindfulness and encouraging others who are going through what she went through to seek help like she did. On the subject of how women in recovery can overcome eating disorders, Morissette says:

“The big question for me around eating-disorder recovery is, ‘what is sobriety with food?’ We know with alcohol, you just don’t drink it and don’t go to a bar. With heroin, you just don’t go near it. Whereas with food, you have to eat, so how can one go from, in my case, bingeing and purging, starving, overeating, the scale going up and down— how can I go from that to a ‘sober’ approach? … For me, the idea of building boundaries has become a huge part of my spiritual practice. With the mindfulness somatic practices, it’s really helped me stay in my body.”

Jane Fonda

American actress, political activist, writer, and former fashion model Jane Fonda was one of the first celebrity women to openly address the issues of eating disorders. She has revealed that she herself had struggled with bulimia for roughly three decades, starting from as early as 12 years old. In various interviews, she has credited her upbringing as the driving force behind her disorder, stating, “I was taught to think if I wanted to be loved, I had to be thin and pretty.” As a famous woman in recovery, Fonda drives campaigns to raise awareness about bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders that many people struggle with today. She is a force to be reckoned with and has become one of the biggest role models for girls of all ages. Fonda says:

“I wasn’t very happy [with my body] from, I would say, puberty to 50? It took me a long time… [If] you suffer from bulimia, the older you get, the worse it gets. It takes longer to recover from a bout. I had a career, I was winning awards, I was supporting nonprofits, I had a family. I had to make a choice: I live or I die.”

Join the Women in Recovery at Willow Place

If you are one of the many women who struggle with an eating disorder, we encourage you to seek help. At Willow Place, we welcome women to heal and learn to love themselves and their bodies. Every size and shape are beautiful. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please call us at 561-512-1605.


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If you or someone you love is battling substance use, mental health, or eating disorders, please feel free to contact one of our trained admission specialists today. All calls are free and completely confidential. While we know that suffering from a severe and life-threatening substance use disorder or a mental health issue can, at times, seem insurmountable, we sincerely believe that every woman is capable and deserving of the opportunity to recover. Reaching out is the first step – give us a call today and we will gladly walk you through the process of beginning your beautiful, fulfilling journey of recovery.

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