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Famous people who have DIED from Eating Disorders:

Karen Carpenter (musician): Went on a water diet to lose weight and, as she put it, to appear more attractive. Continued to diet even after losing 20 lbs, until her death at the age of 32. She died of cardiac arrest due to anorexia and weighed only 80 lbs.

Ana Carolina Reston: Brazilian model, starved herself to death in 2006.

Theresa Marie “Terri” Schiavo (December 3, 1963 – March 31, 2005): Her physician failed to recognize and diagnose bulimia

Margaux Hemmingway: actress, model, suffered with bulimia

Christy Henrich (gymnast): In 1988, Christy was told by a U.S. judge that she had to lose weight in order to make the Olympic team. She died of multiple organ failure, as a result of anorexia, at the age of 22. She weighed only 60 lbs.

Heidi Guenther (ballet dancer): After being told by a theatre company that at 5’5" in height and 96 lbs in weight she was too chunky, she developed an eating disorder. She collapsed and died at the age of 22 due to complications from her eating disorder.

Leila Pahlavi: The youngest daughter of the late Shah of Iran stole prescriptions from the desk of her doctor in order to feed her fatal addiction to barbiturates, an inquest heard yesterday. Princess Leila Pahlavi, 31, died alone in her suite at a London hotel after taking prescription drugs and cocaine. She was found in bed, her body emaciated by years of anorexia and bulimia.

Anne Sexton: American poet Anne Sexton (1928-1974), who was sexually abused in childhood and committed suicide at the age of 46, suffered from anorexia and depression.

Famous celebrities who have spoken publicly about their suffering with Eating Disorders: (this list is constantly being updated)

Paula Abdul: Dancer, choreograph and singer Paula Abdul (American Idol Judge) battled bulimia and decided to check herself in a clinic, back in 1994. Her negative feelings about her own body image came as early as seven years old when she began dancing, but “it didn’t manifest into a full-blown eating disorder until I was in high school.” Today Paula Abdul is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Paula courageously speaks out about her own past battles, in hopes of encouraging young women to take the scary, but necessary, steps to seek help. “It is one of the toughest things to talk about, bar none, and it is one of the hardest disorders to deal with because it’s not black or white. Eating disorders really have nothing to do with food, it’s about feelings.”

Imogen Bailey: She’s been called one of Australia’s sexiest models, but actress Imogen Bailey recently revealed her battle with anorexia and how she is now healthy.

Maria Conchita Alonso: Beauty pageant winner and actress Maria Conchita Alonso, the first contemporary international Latina superstar, recently began speaking out about her struggle with bulimia. Struggling with the condition for nearly a decade, resulting in damage to her esophagus and her teeth, she eventually sought help for the self-destructive syndrome. With the help of a balanced diet, exercise, and a physician specializing in eating disorders, Maria has learned to control her condition. She also shares her story with audiences across the country in hopes of helping the millions of people afflicted with eating disorders.

Christine Alt: Model Christine Alt (Carol Alt’s sister) developed an eating disorder under the pressure to slim down from modeling agencies and clients. “I think that half the women in this world who are plus-size would not be if they never went on a diet.”

Magali Amadei: Magali Amadei has appeared on the covers of fashion magazines. She’s been on TV commercials, billboards and even in movies! With all that success, you’d think that she would have tons of confidence. But for many years, Magali suffered from bulimia.

Fiona Apple: Singer and songwriter Fiona Apple became anorexic after being raped outside of her mother’s home at the age of twelve. She says she was not anorexic out of a desire to be thin, but as a reaction to being raped. She also admitted to having self-injurious behaviors in the past.

Imogen Bailey: The English ‘Neighbours’ soap opera star has revealed that she battled with anorexia when she first started modeling. The 31-year-old actress, who plays Nicola West in the soap said that she began to diet when she started doing bikini photoshoots. Bailey said: “I went through a minor, but still not very good, anorexic stage and actually got down to less than 40kg.”

The Barbie Twins: Pinup and model sisters Sia and Shane Barbi – known as the Barbi Twins – battled anorexia and bulimia. The sisters have written a book about their struggles with an eating disorder (Barbie Twins – Dying To Be Healthy: Millennium Dieting and Nutrition) and are touring through schools and colleges, raising eating disorder awareness.

Justine Bateman: Former ‘Family Ties’ actress Justine Bateman struggled with bulimia. Justine is now an activist for recovery and speaks from time to time at eating disorder support groups about her experiences with an eating disorder.

Victoria Beckham: Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice from the Spice Girls) publicly admitted struggling with an eating disorder in the early days of the Spice Girls, after years “in denial”. “I was very obsessed. I mean, I could tell you the fat content and the calorie content in absolutely anything,” she told ABC’s 20/20 in 2003. While being a Spice Girl, Victoria was under a lot of pressure from the management to lose weight and stay slim. Beckham also said that bandmate Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) encouraged her and Melanie C (Sporty Spice) to do sports and take liquid meal substitutes. Victoria eventually started to binge eat and in one passage from her autobiography she describes eating 10 bowls of cereals at once. In her book “Learning To Fly”, which also contains a lot of pictures of the star, Victoria talks about her obsession with her appearance and describes her illness.

Kate Beckinsale: Actress Kate Beckinsale struggled with an eating disorder during her teen years, before she decided to start acting. She has frankly spoken in interviews about her eating problem. Thanks to the support of her family and therapy Kate was able to recover from anorexia. “People keep asking me about it but I don’t want to be famous for being a former anorexic.”

Catherine Bell: ‘JAG’ actress Catherine Bell struggled with an eating disorder in the past.

Melanie Chisholm: Singer Melanie Chisholm (Melanie C – former Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls) publicly admitted suffering from an eating disorder and depression. Throughout the time she was in the “Spice Girls”, Melanie alternated between starving herself and excessive exercise. “My mum assumed my tiny body was a result of being busy with the band and working out regularly.”

Kelly Clarkson: The ‘American Idol’ winner struggled with bulimia for six months until friends discovered her secret and begged her to get help.

Nadia Comaneci: gymnast

Sandra Dee: Model and actress Sandra Dee struggled with an eating disorder and had a drinking problem for decades. “I was anorexic for many, many years — even before people knew what it was .They didn’t even have a name for it back then.”

Susan Dey: Actress Susan Dey battled anorexia and bulimia. Susan was so underweight and malnourished she stopped having menstrual periods and her fingers turned orange from eating almost nothing but carrots.

Diana, Princess of Wales: Princess Diana struggled with an eating disorder and also admitted that she used to self-harm herself. The following is an extract of an interview of Princess Diana about her battle with bulimia – “I had bulimia for a number of years. And that’s like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort. It’s like having a pair of arms around you, but it’s temporarily, temporary. Then you’re disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again. And it’s a repetitive pattern, which is very destructive to yourself.” Diana also admitted in a television interview that she intentionally cut her arms and legs and had thrown herself down a flight of stairs on more than one occasion.

Kate Dillon: Model Kate Dillon struggled with anorexia for seven years while working as a top print and runway model. Even though she was underweight, she was told by photographers to lose some more weight. She quit modeling for a while and worked on her body image and recovery. Kate now works as “plus-size” model and is a spokesperson for an eating disorder organization. “I weigh myself every week to make sure I’m not losing any weight. I love my body.” … “I’ve done better as a ‘big’ girl than most ‘skinny’ girls do as skinny models, so it’s been amazing. But what’s more amazing is that I did it on my own terms.”

Elisa Donovan: Actress Elisa Donovan (Sabrina – The Teenage Witch, Clueless) suffered from an eating disorder in the past.

Sally Field: Actress Sally Field struggled with an eating disorder in the past. Sally began her three-year battle with anorexia and bulimia at the age of 20. “Everybody then was Twiggy, except me.”

Calista Flockhart: Actress Calista Flockhart admitted after years of being in denial that she struggled with anorexia while filming the TV show ‘Ally Mc Beal’. “I started under-eating, over-exercising, pushing myself too hard and brutalizing my immune system.”

Jane Fonda: Award-winning actress Jane Fonda revealed several years ago that she had been a secret bulimic from age 12, and struggled with anorexia and bulimia for 30 years. Jane became one of the first Hollywood actresses to break the silence and talk openly about eating disorders and campaigned to raise awareness about anorexia and bulimia. In her autobiography “My Life So Far”, Jane honestly talks about her 30 year battle with eating disorders.

Bethenny Frankel: Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel overcame a painful, destructive childhood to finally have a successful career and a happy home life.
Frankel, author of the best-selling diet book Naturally Thin, suffered from anorexia and bulimia starting from adolescence.

Cynthia French: Singer, songwriter and publisher Cynthia French struggled with eating disorders in the past and has begun touring the country speaking publicly about her experiences with eating disorders and how she overcame them. Cynthia wrote a book called “Humanville” which is spiritually based novel about a young women who tries to become a famous singer and also struggles with both, bulimia and anorexia.

Anna Freud: Sigmund Freud’s daughter, who was also a psychotherapist, documented that she struggled with anorexia when she was younger.

Lady Gaga: born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has talked about her struggles with Bulimia at the beginning of her career in Vanity Fair magazine.

Zina Garrison: tennis player

Tracy Gold: Actress Tracey Gold suffered from an eating disorder and was first diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12. She went into treatment and recovered after only a couple of months. But at the age of 19, in 1988, she relapsed and fell back into the vicious cycle of anorexia. Tracey eventually recovered and resumed her acting career which was effected negatively by her eating disorder. In 1994 Tracey played a young woman suffering from anorexia in the TV movie “For the Love of Nancy” which based on the true story of anorexia victim Nancy Walsh. She also played Carol Seaver on “Growing Pains.”

Kristen Haglund: Miss America. She said she battled anorexia at the age of 16. Thanks to her family’s intervention, Kristen got the help she needed and went on to win the 2008 Miss America Pageant.

Geri Halliwell: Singer Geri Halliwell (former Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls) publicly admitted suffering from bulimia and binge eating for several years. “I realized I couldn’t control this monster anymore. I needed to find help.” Her piece of advice for those who are struggling – “I can honestly tell you from personal experience, that worrying about an eating disorder really can get you down. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. You’ll be amazed at the difference it’ll make to your whole life if you tell someone you trust. There are lots of people who want to help and you really CAN’T fight this one on your own. It might be a hard decision to make, to tell people and to seek help but, trust me it’s nowhere as hard as trying to deal with it on your own.” Geri has written a book called “Just For The Record” in which she talks with brutal honesty about her life, including battling and overcoming eating disorders, which she has struggled with since childhood.

Amy Heckerling: Director/writer: In high school, she was anorexic. And, more recently, she said, “I had an eating disorder because I was going through something that was depressing me. And I didn’t feel like eating. It wasn’t that I thought I’d look cuter and be more popular. That certainly was long gone. I come from a family of heavy women, so I’ve always been really scared.”

Mariel Hemingway: Actress Mariel Hemingway (granddaughter of famed novelist Ernest Hemingway) was born into a troubled family. She was growing up under the shadow of her grandfather’s suicide, and years later also Mariel’s middle sister Margaux committed suicide. Mariel Hemingway had a turbulent life and also struggled with a severe eating disorder. In her book “Finding My Balance: a Memoir with Yoga”, Mariel talks about her life, childhood and family relationships, early success and fame, personal battles with her own inner demons, and how yoga and motherhood helped her reconnect with herself and become centered.

Audrey Hepburn: Actress Audrey Hepburn struggled with anorexia and depression – which was unknown to the public during her career. She was known to lose weight under pressure and to be “strange” about food. Rumor has it that current actresses are being “harassed” by the media who points to Audrey as an example of a thin woman without an eating disorder, but that was NOT the case!

Felicity Huffman: Actress Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) battled both bulimia and anorexia from her teens into her 20s.

Janet Jackson: Singer Janet Jackson has been quoted in the media as having an ongoing battle with an eating disorder.

Elton John: Elton John has gone public about his struggles with bulimia, as well as a less common eating disorder of chewing and spitting.

Daniel Johns: musician

Wynonna Judd: Country singer and songwriter Wynonna Judd (one half of the legendary mother-daughter duo ‘The Juddds’, and sister of actress Ashley Judd who does not struggle with an eating disorder but was in therapy because of major depression), who also suffered sexual abuse as a child, struggles with emotional eating and is on her journey towards healthy eating. “It’s not about size, I’ll let that take care of itself. The work I’m doing is inside. The physical will follow the mental and spiritual and emotional.” In her book “Coming Home To Myself”, Wynonna tells her story and gives readers an honest insight in her life and emotions.

Franz Kafka: Poet Franz Kafka, who wrote the short story “The Hunger Artist”, suffered from anorexia.

Gelsey Kirkland: ballet dancer

Maureen McCormick: Actress (The Brady Bunch) struggled with bulimia as an adolescent.

Mary McDonough: Actress (The Waltons) struggled with an eating disorder.

Katherine McPhee: Singer Katharine McPhee, American Idol runner-up, struggled with bulimia while auditioning for American Idol in San Francisco in August 2005. She suffered from an eating disorder for 6 years, since she was 17 years old. After her audition was successful, Katharine decided to get help. “My bulimia was really getting out of control.” She enrolled at Los Angeles’s Eating Disorder Center of California, where she spent three months undergoing group and individual therapy six days a week. Katharine says today that American Idol has saved her life. She believes that if she didn’t audition for the show, she would probably still struggle. Katharine has learned that there is no “bad” food – you can have everything as long as you watch how much you eat.

Kellie Martin: Actress Kellie Martin developed anorexia when she was cast in “Life Goes On”. Actress Tracey Gold (who also struggled with an eating disorder in the past) convinced her to seek help.

Alanis Morissette: Canadian singer Alanis Morissette has admitted that she has struggled with anorexia and bulimia between the ages of 14 and 18 when she was trying to break into the music business. She wrote the song “Perfect” (from Jagged Little Pill album), inspired by her eating disorder recovery.

Thandie Newton: Actress Thandie Newton says she used to suffer from bulimia and still bears the scars. Newton, who won best supporting actress at last year’s BAFTA awards for her role in ‘Crash.’ Thandie developed the eating disorder at the age of 14 while training at dance school. She told about how she suffered from “horrible bulimia for about a year”, saying: “I’ve still got the scars on my knuckles from where I put my fingers down my throat.” The actress said a therapist in L.A. helped her overcome her battle with food, in her mid-twenties.

Barbara Niven: actress www.barbaraniven.com

Mary-Kate Olsen: Actress Mary-Kate Olsen (‘The Olsen Twins’) checked into an eating disorder treatment center and underwent treatment for anorexia after months of speculation and rumors about her thin appearance and denying of being anorexic. Mary-Kate celebrated beating her eating disorder by giving away clothes that no longer fit her. She donated thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes to a thrift store in Hollywood. Mary-Kate has gained a bit of weight again and is happy with her new-found curves and also decided to keep the weight on and to get rid of her skinny wardrobe.

Sharon Osbourne: (married to Ozzy Osbourne), who has survived deadly colon cancer in the past, has confessed she has been suffering from bulimia for 35 years and she is still struggling. “I’ve been able to conquer just about everything except bulimia.” Sharon had gastric bypass surgery but still battles with her eating disorder.

Carre Otis: Top fashion model and actress Carrie Otis starved herself for about 17 years and nearly died in her quest for thinness. Today, she is healthy and trying to educate other women about the deadly dangers of eating disorders. “I had been on this insane diet for almost 17 years to maintain the weight that was demanded of me when I was modeling. My diet was really starvation. I am not naturally that thin.”

Catherine Oxenberg: Actress Catherine Oxenberg (daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and a distant relative of Britain’s royal family; she played Princess Di in ‘The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana’ in 1982, and also 1992 in ‘Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After’), who was also sexually abused within the family as a child, struggled with an eating disorder for 20 years and finally found the strength to beat bulimia and successfully won this battle. “I really thought I would never get through it. I’d put myself in rehab and I would be fine for nine months and then I’d blow it again.” Catherine also said that her bulimia had massive physical repercussions on her body. “I destroyed my teeth because you’re vomiting hydrochloric acid so that acid eats away at the enamel in your teeth, so I’ve had horrendous problems with my teeth.”

Alexandra Paul: Actress Alexandra Paul (Baywatch) struggled with an eating disorder in the past.

Syliva Plath: Poet and author Syliva Plath struggled with an eating disorder and depression.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, star of Jersey Shore admitted that she had an eating disorder (anorexia) in high school. Snooki says her eating disorder stemmed out of her fear of being replaced on the cheerleading squad by thinner, younger freshmen.

Scarlett Pomers: ‘Reba’ actress Scarlett Pomers spoke openly about her battle with anorexia and road to recovery on the Tyra Banks Show in February 2006. She didn’t speak about her weight and didn’t reveal any methods of her weight loss because she doesn’t want other sufferers to use them as diet tips. Now, Scarlet is a spokesperson for the NEDA and has established her Arch-Angels Fund with NEDA to raise awareness and funds for eating disorders advocacy, education and treatment.

Stephanie Pratt of “The Hills” Pratt has spoken in the past about her struggles with bulimia and self-esteem issues, as well as her battles with substance abuse.

Jaime Pressly: Actress from NBC’s hit My Name Is Earl

Tara Reid: American Pie actress Tara Reid struggled with anorexia after the breakup with fiance MTV DJ Carson Daly.

Christina Ricci: Actress Christina Ricci (who also admitted to cutting herself in the past) has commented on her anorexia by saying, “I had a brief flirtation with anorexia and when I was recovering from that, I put on a lot of weight, which was very difficult for me. In a way, I was trying to get rid of my breasts. Everyone my age wanted them, so it was like, whoo-ooo. Then I started hating them. And for all of my movies, I was supposed to be younger, so I’d have to strap them down.”

Cathy Rigby (gymnast)

Joan Rivers: Comedian and author Joan Rivers battled bulimia for years.

Gretchen Rossi: Real Housewives of Orange County star says she suffered from Bulimia since high school but has recovered, thanks to therapy and self-acceptance. “I got healthy,” reveals Rossi. “I was a lot heavier back in high school and in college. I wasn’t even fat, I was only 130 pounds. But compared to what I look like now at 115 pounds, I thought I looked fat.” Gretchen says recovering from an eating disorder wasn’t easy. “My best friend busted me in the bathroom, and then my parents found out,” Rossi says. “That’s when I decided to seek therapy.” She adds: “I decided that I was going to make a difference, and I went and got my personal training license and nutritional license. Then I worked as a personal trainer, nutritionist and aerobics instructor.” “This is the best weight I’ve ever been at, and this is the best I feel like I’ve ever looked.”

Portia de Rossi: Former ‘Ally McBeal’ actress Portia de Rossi admitted to an eating disorder and blamed Hollywood’s pressure to stay skinny for developing an eating disorder.

Lacey Schwimmer: Lacey Schwimmer on “Dancing With the Stars” as Lance Bass’ partner in 2008. Lacey has been on the show three seasons, but she has been hiding a deep personal secret – her battle with Anorexia. Now, Lacey is coming forward in the hopes of helping others. Lacey’s eating disorder began at 13 while training for 10 hours a day as a dancer.

Ally Sheedy: Actress Ally Sheedy (best known for her role in the 1985 hit “The Breakfast Club”) struggled with anorexia and bulimia in the past and at one point also was addicted to pain killer medications.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler: Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos) battled with an eating disorder and spoke publicly about her eating problem and her addiction to exercising. She uses her celebrity to raise awareness about eating disorders and is now a spokesperson for the NEDA. Jamie wrote a book called " Wise Girl – What I’ve Learned About Life, Love, and Loss" and openly shares her story about her struggles with an eating disorder, how her obsession with weight nearly destroyed her career and the dark side of overnight success. “It is a tough thing to talk about it, but it is actually therapeutic for me.”

Richard Simmons: Fitness and diet guru Richard Simmons suffered from an eating disorder in the past.

Ashlee Simpson: Singer Ashlee Simpson (sister of singer and actress Jessica Simpson) has publicly admitted that she battled with an eating disorder during her pre-teen years. “I was around a lot of girls with eating disorders.”

Yeardley Smith: Actress and voice talent Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson on "The Simpsons) suffered from bulimia for 25 years. Her eating disorder started when she was about 13 years old. Coincidentally, her character Lisa Simpson suffered through an eating disorder in the episode “Sleeping with the Enemy”. She is currently performing in a one-woman show called “More” where she exposes her eating disorder.

Courtney Thorne-Smith: Former ‘Ally Mc Beal’ actress Courtney Thorne-Smith battled an eating disorder. Courtney developed anorexia due to the pressure to be thin. Her slide into anorexia led her to quit the television show ‘Ally Mc Beal’.

Meredith Vieira: Former ‘The View’ co-host Meredith Vieira said that she had an eating disorder and body images issues when she was younger. Meredith now has a yearlong series called ’Meredith’s Club’ which designed to help educate children on healthy eating and the importance of exercise.

Peta Wilson: Actress and model Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita) suffered from an eating disorder. She developed her eating disorder because of her parents’ divorce and the pressure of modeling.

Oprah Winfrey: The most influential person on TV, Oprah Winfrey, who was raped at the age of nine by her nineteen year old cousin and repeatedly sexually abused, struggled with disordered eating. Oprah, who said about her weight “It’s always a struggle. I’ve felt safer and more protected when I was heavy. Food has always been comforting.”, is in the process of writing a book about her weight loss battle to share her struggles with the world. The book is expected to come out in January 2007.

Kate Winslet: British actress Kate Winslet (Titanic, Sense and Sensibility) has admitted to struggling with eating disorders and Kate is honest and outspoken about her life-long weight problems. “My uncle is a chef. My mother is a fantastic cook. We’re all big eaters. It was kind of unavoidable.” In high school, she was a bit heavier and classmates called her “Blubber.” The criticisms led to depression and eating disorders. Today, Kate Winslet is healthy, she loves her body and her curves and refuses to play the ‘super-skinny game’. “I’m happy with the way I am. I’m not like American film stars. I’m naturally curvy. This is me, like it or lump it. People think that if a woman isn’t rail-thin, then there must be something wrong with her – it’s such nonsense.”


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