Every time I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, it seems a new celebrity is struggling with some sort of eating disorder. According to the rumor mill, Kiera Knightly, Lindsay Lohan, Snooki, and just about every other female star out there has battled anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or a startling combination of all three. Many celebs adamantly refute these claims, and some – like Lady Gaga – even goes so far as to gain weight just to prove her point.
Eating disorders are serious illnesses and should be taken as such, and now, celebrity Stacy London is stepping forward with a little secret from her weight-related past: She struggled with both anorexia and binge eating, and not only reveals her struggle to People Magazine, but details her battle in her soon-coming book, The Truth About Style, to be released on October 2.
London, the host of TLC’s What Not To Wear, is known for her silver streak of hair and impeccable taste in clothing. The 43-year-old star tells People she battled with anorexia and later binge eating in her 20s, because “I felt like I’d never had a serious boyfriend and I really wanted to be attractive.” London’s 5′ 7″ frame dropped to a mere 90 lbs, then doubled to 180 lbs.
It seems that lately, amongst the gossip, a host of celebrities are coming forward and being honest about their struggled with body image and weight. Katie Couric, on her new syndicated talk show Katie, revealed in a recent interview with teen star Demi Lovato that she struggled with bulimia “all through college and for two years after that.” The host brought her struggled into the light after Lovato admitted to wrestling with an eating disorder and self-mutilation.
So, amidst all the rumors and false accusations, it seems that people like Stacy London are able to shed some much needed reality on the subject of eating disorders. As London says, “When you can talk about something and shine light on it, you’re obliterating shame. And that to me was always the really hard part – to feel so filled with shame and having no recourse to thinking it could get better.”
Hopefully, such vulnerability will help set an example for young women. In a culture where thin is perfection, hopefully these stars and others like them can turn the tide toward valuing a body image that is a bit more … real. Of course, there is always a dilemma when celebrities bring their dysfunctions into the light: sometimes it seems to propagate, rather than eliminate, certain issues. Why is that? Perhaps there are too many people who want to be like their favorite celebrity at any cost, even if that means picking up some of their bad habits.
What do you think? Do you think that celebrity confessions regarding issues such as eating disorders are helpful, or harmful?