Joan Rivers, whose death at 81 has resulted in tributes from fans, colleagues, and other celebrities, secretly feared her heart condition for years. She battled bulimia and admitted publicly that her frequent crash diets and obsession with weight loss endangered her health and her heart, reported People on Sept. 6.
The confession from Joan Rivers about her heart condition occurred in 1985. Talking with Joan Lunden on Good Morning America, Joan described her heart arrhythmia. It causes the heart to beat out of rhythm, without warning.
“All of a sudden you’ll be on stage and hear ‘tha-thud!’… It scares the hell out of me,” Joan Rivers admitted. “When you go under, say for plastic surgery or something like that, that’s when your heart can go out of kilter. So I’m always very careful.”
But then the interview unexpectedly focused on Joan Rivers’ constant crash diets. The comedienne was known to obsess about her weight. But despite Lunden’s question about the dangers of those crash diets, it turned into a topic for displaying her wit.
“I diet all the time,” Joan Rivers said in a lead-up to a joke. “If ketchup dropped on one of your children, you should not leave her in the room alone with me. I will eat anything.”
As a role model, should Joan Rivers have stayed away from constantly carping on crash diets or highlighted the risk of bulimia? She stayed true to her motto: Never apologize, reported USA Today on September 7.
“Life is tough. Life is tough. I just think, ‘Make them laugh,’ ” Joan stated. The one occasion when she did not laugh, however, was when she talked with Dr. Mehmet Oz about her bulimia battle.
But Joan’s bulimia may have affected her future. When she talked with Dr. Oz, she revealed that her eating disorder started after her husband committed suicide. As Dr. Oz expressed concern about the health dangers of purging, Joan admitted that she felt her dangerous diet was a way that she could control her life.
Despite the risks of bulimia, Joan confessed that she felt wonderful when she purged. She viewed it as the perfect diet, because she could satisfy her hunger yet stay slim. However, she told Dr. Oz at the time that she had stopped the behavior.
According to the National Center for Eating Disorders, however, bulimia inflicts trauma to the body that does not necessarily halt when the purging behavior ceases. The gut wall may be permanently damaged, and the salivary glands can be adversely impacted. Bulimia also affects the throat.
Dr. Oz frequently invited Joan Rivers to be a guest on his show, and attended her funeral. But he made a shocking revelation to People magazine.
“She was supposed to be on my show the day she died,” revealed Dr. Oz. “The last time she was on the show… I was giving her a hard time about the number of plastic surgeries she’s had, and we were joking around about it, and she said, ‘It’s not the surgery I worry about. It’s the anesthesia.’ “
As The Inquisitr reported, Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa Rivers were very close. Dr. Oz also had both Melissa and Joan on his show. He did not reveal whether he will invite Melissa to discuss the death of her mother on a future episode.
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]