25 Celebrities with Eating Disorders

celebrities with eating disorders

Although more people and celebrities are coming out with their courageous stories on personal battles, eating disorders are still incredibly relevant in our society. In fact, 30 million Americans currently struggle with disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, today.

To shine light on these struggles, we have created a list of popular celebrities who have had eating disorders in the past.

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From Hollywood sweethearts like Angelina Jolie, superstars such as Taylor Swift and even famous men like Eminem, most of these stars and their stories remind us that there is still hope in our toughest times, and we can overcome anything with perseverance.

Scroll down to read our list of celebrities with eating disorders…

1. Lindsay Lohan

Eating Disorder: Bulimia, anorexia

The Mean Girls actress stole all of our hearts, becoming America’s sweetheart at an incredibly young age. Lindsay Lohan is known for her drug use, but few know that she struggled with bulimia and anorexia.

During her prime in the early noughties, she dropped weight drastically, making many heads turn with concern. The last straw was when her drug use and anorexia led to a kidney infection, and Lohan knew she had to make a change.

“I was sick. Everyone was scared. And I was scared too. I had people sit me down and say, ‘You’re going to die if you don’t take care of yourself.'”, Lohan said at the time. The actress now uses her voice to encourage change for others who also struggle with similar disorders. 

2. Angelina Jolie

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Angelina Jolie has struggled with eating for most of her life, and has been criticized for her appearance for even longer. Tabloids constantly surfaced discussing how she was so thin that her veins would bulge out, or how she looked as if she underwent surgery with her drastic weight loss.

Well, in September of 2021, the A-list actress admitted herself into a hospital in regards to her eating disorder. A source told National Enquirer later that day that, “her nonexistent eating habits have been the elephant in the room for longer than anyone can remember.”

The star suffered from anorexia as a teenager and apparently even went to rehab due to “eating problems” triggered by anxiety just a few years ago.

3. Taylor Swift 

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Popstar, Taylor Swift, has come forth with her own struggles, as well. When the singer released her documentaryMiss Americana, she revealed that one of the biggest struggles she faced in the limelight was her appearance.

Swift mentioned how people constantly criticized her for being too big or too thin, and this would trigger her into an unhealthy cycle of no longer eating. Swift admitted that when she’d see “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant … and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”

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Now, the Evermore artist lives a happier life and pursues only what makes her happy, not what others choose for her. Adding to the revelation, she said, “I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of a show, or in the middle of it. Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel (enervated).” 

4. Mary-Kate Olsen

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Another child star joins our list, known for being the baby sister of the Full House family (or should we say half of the baby sister?). After “looking different…with circles under her eyes” and refusing to eat, at 17, Mary-Kate was committed into a rehabilitation facility by her parents to seek treatment for her battle with anorexia. Things got so bad, that the family “hired someone to monitor her eating”.

But even before this moment, a rumor was beginning to fly around that Mary-Kate and her twin sister had eating disorders. Oprah notoriously faced the rumor head on in an old interview, shockingly asking what size the girls were, to which they replied “petite”.

It was clearly an uncomfortable moment, but the girls are typically out of the limelight these days, giving us hope that they’re eating habits are regulated. 

5. Lily Rose Depp

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Beauty icon and daughter of Johnny Depp, Lily Rose encountered anxiety as a teenager. Growing up, her parents did their best to protect her identity, however, speculations began to rise when she appeared too skinny in the limelight.

Years later, the actress admitted to having anorexia and suffering an enormous battle with fighting the disease, “I have spent a lot of energy fighting the disease. I was much younger, when I faced with anorexia, it was very difficult to deal with it.”

She even discussed the most difficult elements of trying to find a normal life again, but went on to say, “I have battled an eating disorder for a long time, and am very proud of the results that I have achieved.” 

6. Zayn Malik

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Although famous for his solo music, good looks and unique hairstyles, Zayn Malik has also faced serious eating habits himself. When he was a member in One Direction, the British band that took the world by storm, he found himself struggling with continuing healthy eating habits; especially during tours.

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Malik wrote about those moments in the band, stating, “I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all.” Apparently, the workload and pace of life of being in 1D badly affected his eating habits – “I think it was about control. I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did…I had lost so much weight I had become ill.”

Since being diagnosed with an eating disorder, Zayn has now conquered his anxiety and taken on better habits. 

7. Amy Winehouse

Eating Disorder: Bulimia, anorexia

This singer has been in and out of headlines, going down in history as a legend for both her rhythmic music, but also her untimely death. Amy Winehouse died from an overdose in 2011, which is often speculated that her bulimia had a hand in the unfortunate death.

Amy’s life of depression led to unhealthy habits and vices, where she would binge-eat and force herself to vomit later. Colleagues even recounted that the singer would eat “a large meal, disappeared for 45 minutes, and returned with smeared makeup.”

Her bulimia led her to be incredibly skinny, and she ended up ingesting a large dosage of alcohol which was strongly not recommended for her size. Even her brother admitted that Amy’s bulimia played a large role in her death, “She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia. Had she not have had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.”

8. Demi Lovato 

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

This former child star has had their own struggles with their identity and appearance. In their YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, Demi Lovato courageously opened up about their eating disorder. It was an up and down battle with purging and bulimia that started as young as eight-years-old, but they got clean of their habits for three years until a bad break-up.

Lovato stated that the first thing they did was purge in order to cope with the heartache. “The less I have to think about food, the easier it is to go about having a normal life and I don’t want to let anybody down so when I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed…And when I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry and I end up bingeing.”

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Since then, Lovato has attempted better lifestyles and fulfills their identity with they/them pronouns. They admit that disordered eating is still a struggle, though – “I don’t want to give it the power that it controls my every thought but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about. Body image, what I wish I could be eating, what I wish I could be eating next, what I wish I didn’t eat, you know it’s just constant.”

9. Hilary Duff

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Hilary Duff, the loved sitcom actress of our childhood and teenage years, has had more than enough battles with her image and eating disorders. When discussing with Health Magazine, she opened up about how unhealthy her teenage years were.

At 17, she was a mere 98 pounds. Duff then went on to say how she regrets that part of her life, and admits to the eating disorder she struggled with. “I was totally obsessed with everything I put in my mouth. I was way too skinny, not cute. And my body wasn’t that healthy —my hands would cramp up a lot because I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed.”

Then after having her son, tabloids criticized her for her body. But having done this rodeo before, she decided to take those criticisms like a grain of salt when her daughter was born. Now on a healthier diet, Hilary says that she’s happier than ever. 

10. Lucy Hale

Eating Disorder: Anorexia, bulimia

The Pretty Little Liars actress wanted to fit into the Hollywood lifestyle so bad, that body issues and an eating disorder got the best of her. In order to fit the role of the loved actress Hale wanted to be, she would go out drinking and stop eating for days.

Her battle with anorexia even began before starring in the popular TV series. On The Demi Lovato Show, Hale admitted that she dealt with anorexia and “exercise bulimia” – “I would just work out for hours. It wasn’t really about how I physically looked, it was because I had moved across the country. I just felt so completely out of control. The easiest thing you can control is the food that goes into your mouth or how much you work out,” she explained.

Now, Lucy Hale states that, “I knew I had a problem…It was a gradual process but I changed myself.” Although she confessed to still having “bad days”, Hale being her genuine healthy self is all any of us could ask for! 

11. Elton John

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

This singer is more than just a household name, now with a movie out about his very own life, some of his struggles have come to light. Elton John had a continuous up and down battle with addictions, which went hand in hand with his eating disorder. His bulimia became a power struggle for who was really steering his ship, and he states that he “lost complete touch with” himself.

After struggling with bulimia nervosa for 16 years before finally seeking treatment in 1990, John confessed, “It was all through being paranoid about my weight but not able to stop eating. So in the end I’d gorge, then make myself sick. For breakfast I’d have a fry-up, followed by 20 pots of cockles and then a tub of ice cream, so I’d throw it all up. I never stood still. I was always rushing, always thinking about the next thing. If I was eating a curry, I couldn’t wait to throw it up so that I could have the next one.”

But since then, the best-selling male artist has made an incredible recovery. In 2020, he had a grand celebration —Elton John style— for his 30 years of sobriety. 

12. Halsey

Eating Disorder: Unspecified

Halsey, the pop singer behind hits Bad at Love and Without Me, has always seemed to excel in the limelight. She is extremely open and informative about the struggles she’s faced, including her mental illness of being bipolar and her eating disorder. 

This celebrity has struggled with eating for quite some time, and in December of 2020, she gained some heat for posting a shirtless mirror selfie looking very thin. Stating that it was her “lowest point” of her eating disorder, Halsey quickly took the photo down, as some viewed it as a romanticizing perspective of eating disorders. 

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Halsey confessed that the disorder has never gone away, but she knows how to tackle it, “It’s still happening in my body. I just know when to get in front of it.”

13. Billie Eilish

Eating Disorder: Body dysmorphia disorder

The Happier than Ever singer is known for her angst and dark hits, and perhaps they stem from true places. Billie Eilish struggled with an eating disorder in her early teens, to the extent of taking diet pills. She told Vanity Fair, “I was in the midst of my horrible body relationship…I wasn’t really eating. I was, like, starving myself,” she continued. “I remember taking a pill that told me that it would make me lose weight and it only made me pee the bed — when I was 12.”

Eilish’s relationship with eating was horribly toxic, leading her to find a vice in self-harm, “I think that the people around me were more worried about it than I was, because the reason I used to cut myself was because of my body.”

The singer discussed her past choices in clothing, stating that “I only started wearing baggy clothes because of my body.” The battle still continues for Billie, but her relationship with her self-image has only been getting better.

14. Sam Smith

Eating Disorder: Body dysmorphia disorder

This performer is most iconic for their deep and soulful voice, but many listeners are unaware of what was occurring behind the scenes of their music for quite some time. For a large majority of Sam Smith’s life, they had struggled with their appearance, dubbing it “body trauma”.

Discussing their body dysmorphia on social media, Smith said that they would starve themselves in preparations for photoshoots, “In the past if I have ever done a photo shoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down.” 

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As of recently, though, the singer uses these struggles to make light of issues that others might deal with similarly. They now they live happily in their own skin – “I decided to fight the f**k back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.” The song, Dancing with a Stranger, touches upon how they are reclaiming their new identity out of an eating disorder.

15. Jade Thirwall

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

One of the faces in the band, Little Mix, has also struggled with an eating disorder. As a teen, Jade Thirwall had an intense battle with anorexia that dawned on her mental health as it often would. “I obviously became very small… I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes to hide that,” she said in a BBC Sound’s Life Hacks podcast.

Thirwall’s struggle with anorexia became a power-play on herself, and made her feel like she was in control of an element in her life. After confiding with someone about her anorexia, Jade went to hospital and a few weeks later, auditioned for The X Factor.

Since reaching out, Thirwall has been on a great track of recovery and admits, “I don’t think I would ever do that to myself again.”. 

16. Camila Mendes 

Eating Disorder: Bulimia, dieting

Camila Mendes got real with her eating disorder back in 2019. Before entering the film industry, she was blissfully unaware that she actually had an issue – and didn’t know that her eating disorder was common.

The actress who suffered from bulimia believed that dieting was just an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle, but was unaware that she wasn’t actually dieting, but starving herself. “I used to think [dieting] was a nice, healthy way to live. It took a lot… to get rid of that fear of carbs…”

Discussing her anxiety when entering the film industry, Camila told Shape, “I started working in this industry with fittings all the time and watching myself on camera… If I ate a sweet, I would be like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to eat for five hours now.'”

The actress has since banished dieting from her life, claiming that she is “#DoneWithDieting”. “My passion for education, cinema, music, etc. — all the interests that used to occupy my mind — had been eaten away by my desire to be thin, and it made me miserable,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m done believing in the idea that there’s a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort.”

17. Aaron Carter

Eating Disorder: Hiatal hernia

The 90s artist who resurfaced in the 2010s has often been ridiculed for his appearance. The largest comments made, however, rested around his weight and how it seemed he could not keep any weight on.

After being targeted for quite some time, Aaron Carter chose to speak up through a series of tweets, revealing that he suffers from a hiatal hernia, which suppresses his appetite and creates copious amounts of stress. His diagnosis of his hernia was made when he was 19, causing a life-long issue for the singer. 

“By the way y’all wanna know why I’m so skinny? It’s because @ 19 i was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, I didn’t choose that,” Aaron tweeted. “Be kind to me…It’s a terrible stress condition that affects me having an appetite and I’m sorry this is the way I am,” he continued. “Basically I have an eating disorder.”

18. Kesha

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

Pop singer, Kesha, hasn’t been shy when it comes to confronting serious topics and stating her opinion. In an article with Rolling Stone, she discussed her own struggles with food during her peak era in the 2010s.

Eager to have a ‘punk’ persona that drinks and has fun, Kesha soon realized that this wasn’t the healthiest choice, eventually finding herself in rehab for an eating disorder led by drugs and booze. “I really just thought I wasn’t supposed to eat food. And then if I ever did, I felt very ashamed, and I would make myself throw up because I’d think, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I actually did that horrible thing…”

“I was slowly, slowly starving myself,” she recalled. “The worse I got and the sicker I got, the better a lot of people around me were saying that I looked…”

Now, Kesha speaks openly about these struggles and how she decided to finally reach for help. “I just had all this mounting anxiety. And then finally I was like, ‘F**k. This. S**t. F**k this s**t. I’m hungry!’ I remember just shaking because I was so fed up, so anxious, and I was just mad that I had let myself get to that point.”

19. Megan Fox

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Megan Fox is famous for being a Hollywood sex symbol, one who many of us had a crush on growing up (we weren’t the only people who had her Transformers poster). However, her beauty hides many elements below the surface of eating disorders and mental illnesses.

“I went through some trauma in childhood and I developed a pretty severe eating disorder and manic depression, which runs in my family, so there was definitely some wrestling with chemical imbalance going on,” the star shared. She even told Allure (via US Weekly) in 2010 that she would “starve to death before I’ll cook for myself. I think I could survive a week without eating.”

Also revealing that she has “body dysmorphia” and “a lot of deep insecurities”, Fox admittedly still struggles with these battles, but has found herself in a happier place, stating, “I’ve been in this moment that has been very proactive and rewarding both emotionally and spiritually. I’m really happy with this moment”. 

20. Russell Brand

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

The comedian and actor is well-versed in his hilarious movie roles or known by his love affair with singer Katy Perry, but has actually faced real struggles behind-the-scenes. As a young child, Russell Brand underwent huge traumas including sexual abuse, leading him to develop PTSD and cope with the trauma in unhealthy ways.

One of these ways was through an eating disorder, which he has since recovered from. “I was bulimic when I was 14. I had problems with food and self-harming,” he told The Daily Mail.

Now, the comedian goes on to discuss eating disorders and how they can affect men, which is uncommonly discussed in today’s society. He’s also on a healthy diet and practicing yoga to fight his bulimia and substance abuse.

21. Lady Gaga 

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

This singer-turned-actress has never been shy about current issues in the world, or even her own issues with herself – which is one of the many reasons why we love her. In 2013, Lady Gaga first spoke up about her struggles with eating disorders.

When she was only 15, the actress had been diagnosed with bulimia and anorexia. Gaga revealed how she wanted to be “a skinny little ballerina”, but was never able, as she said she tended to bulk up.

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The American Horror Story actress has since conquered these issues, and taken on a healthier diet with foods that balance her – “I don’t have an eating disorder anymore, I am better with food,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. In 2013, she launched the “Body Revolution” campaign, which encouraged fans to share photos of themselves and embrace their flaws. Gaga also runs the Born This Way Foundation, which helps fans dealing with body image and bullying.

22. Jessica Alba 

Eating Disorder: Anorexia

Yet another celeb that Hollywood has favored for her body and looks is Jessica Alba. Little did we know that the actress’ unfortunate eating habits all stemmed from her early acting days, and how she had felt eyes on her since a young age.

The actress stated that she felt guilt for her appearance, and felt even worse for having men lust after her – “I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men. Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn’t get as much attention.”

Her family had even encouraged her to hide her body in looser clothing and avoid wearing jeans in an attempt to appear less curvy. Though after the birth of her daughter, Alba says she feels more comfortable in her skin – “And that was the dopest sh*t I’d ever done [giving birth], so I was like ‘Yes.’ So then I came into my body as a woman finally”. 

23. Alanis Morissette 

Eating Disorder: Bulimia, binge-eating, anorexia

Staying sober was not an easy task for this iconic star. Alanis Morissette detailed her battle to recover from eating disorders in an interview with Women’s Health. She explained how she succumbed to drugs, which led to other unhealthy habits including “bingeing and purging, starving, overeating”.

This up and down cycle was a vicious continuation of her drug habits, and once going sober, she didn’t know how to cope – “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?”

But once the veil was lifted on these habits, Morissette took on healthier choices. She now finds a balance in what she eats, and how much – “I’ve noticed when I get the high-nutrient greens, I sleep better. There’s less moodiness. Food is entirely medicine to me. That doesn’t mean I’m just eating seeds and raspberries, although that’s fun, too, but it’s an integrative approach.”

24. Kelly Clarkson 

Eating Disorder: Bulimia

This Stronger singer has come far since winning American Idol in 2002 – a time in her career where she was incredibly skinny, but seemed to be larger than life. However, that was not the case. Kelly Clarkson was severely depressed and struggling with body image during this time.

After revealing that she had bulimic experiences in high school, Kelly later confessed that her low self-esteem continued as she rose to fame – “It was a very dark time for me…I like wrecked my knees and my feet because all I would do is put in headphones and run. I was at the gym all the time…When I was really skinny, I wanted to kill myself. I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life. But no one cared, because aesthetically you make sense.”

Clarkson soon had a change of heart, accepting a healthy lifestyle, and realized that it was her talent, not her body that mattered – “If I’m skinny one day or bigger one day, that ain’t gonna change how I sound,” she said in an interview with Redbook. “I still sound pretty dang good. And my talent is why I’m here.”

25. Eminem

Eating Disorder: Compulsive eating

Eminem is known for his cut-throat raps and lines, but very few people are aware of his hidden insecurities and battle with an eating disorder. After completing rehab for an addiction with pills, the artist took on healthier habits like running while at the gym.

This sounded ‘healthy’ on paper, until the rapper allowed running to become his new addiction. Discussing his destructive relationship with exercise, he told Men’s Journal that he soon became obsessed with losing weight, and would have the goal of losing 2,000 calories a day in one gym session. These unhealthy habits dropped him to 149 pounds – “I started getting OCD about the calories…I ran to the point where I started to get injured.”

After a critical injury on his hip flexors from running too much, Eminem thankfully dropped the intensity down to a healthy fitness level. 

Although the majority of these celebrities might have overcome their struggles, it’s okay that some people are still fighting a battle with eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, remember that you are not alone and help is just around the corner. For help, reach out to National Eating Disorders Association, or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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Angela Stephanou

Angela Stephanou

Owner and chief editor of Tell Tales. Angela has a BA in Communications and oversees the content and strategy across Tell Tales, building an audience of pop culture junkies like herself. Her social media follows have more celebrities than real-life friends, music runs through her veins and she’d much rather be glued to her TV screen, piled under an array of snacks than go out on a Friday night. Angela’s guilty pleasure is watching cheesy reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but she’s also a sucker for all things Marvel and DC - two entirely different worlds, we know.

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