Audrey Hepburn Weighed 88 Pounds, Was Reportedly Malnourished After WWII

Audrey Hepburn weighed 88 pounds and was “extremely malnourished” by the end of World War II — according to her son. Although the iconic actress was known for her delicate and slender frame, Luca Dotti confirmed his mother’s physique was caused by malnutrition.

In his new book, Audrey at Home, Dotti details Hepburn’s early years and the struggles she faced during the war. In an interview with People, Dotti said his mother simply “didn’t have enough food” during her formative years.

“When the Nazis locked down Holland in 1944, they called it the Winter of Hunger and my mom didn’t have enough to eat… Almost to the point of her body failing… from the time she was 9 to 16, during World War II, she was extremely malnourished.”

As nutritious food was in short supply, Hepburn and her family were forced to consume nettles, grass, and flowering plants. Dotti said his mother was often told to “drink water to feel full.”

By 1945, 16-year-old Audrey Hepburn weighed only 88 pounds. As she was 5’6″, she was dangerously underweight as defined by the CDC.

According to Dotti, his mother suffered numerous health issues — which were attributed to the malnutrition. Hepburn reportedly suffered with acute anemia, asthma, edema, and jaundice.

As reported by Daily Mail, she was also self-conscious as she was left with dark circles under her eyes and believed her ears, feet, and nose were too large for her tiny frame.

Dotti claims Hepburn developed an addiction to chocolate and pasta after the war. However, “no matter how much she ate, she never gained weight.”

A native of Brussels, Belgium, Audrey Hepburn aspired to be a ballerina. Although she studied ballet in the Netherlands and London, and danced in several stage productions, she eventually gave up dancing for an acting career.

As reported by Biography, Hepburn made her Broadway debut at the age of 22. At the age of 24, she made her big screen debut in the film Roman Holiday. Throughout her career, the iconic actress appeared in numerous award-winning films, including Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady.

As reported by IMDB, Hepburn was honored with two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, a Primetime Emmy, and 29 other various awards. She will always be remembered for her style, grace, and unique sense of humor.

As she was also known for her slim and delicate physique, it is troubling that Audrey Hepburn weighed only 88 pounds at the age of 16.

[Image via Hulton Archive / Getty Images]

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