Hollywood & Eating Disorders: Lovato, De Rossi, who is next?

Portia DeRossi and Ellen DeGeneres

Portia DeRossi and Ellen DeGeneres

So what do you guys think about the latest two Hollywood stars to come out of about their eating disorders? Does this help you, hurt you, or do you not give a rip?

Portia De Rossi was on Oprah earlier this week talking about anorexia and recovery to promote her new book ‘Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain.’. De Rossi shared how she exercised to work off the calories from a pack of gum by running around in a parking lot (been there, done that, except I did the stairs at my apartment) and revealing that at one time she weighed 82 pounds standing 5’8. Osteoporoses, cirrhosis, organ failure and the auto-immune disease lupus were the diseases that were a result of her eating disorder. She is now happily married to Ellen Degeneres and credits her recovery to the love and acceptance they share for one another.

This morning I read about Demi Lovato, one of my 10 year old daughters favorites. In case you don’t know her, she was the star of Camp Rock and later landed her own Disney sitcom “Sunny with a Chance.” Lovato just announced she will take a break from touring with the Jonas Brothers to enter treatment for her eating disorder which she says stems from being bullied. The video below shows Lovato talking about her experience, which shows that even being part of the popular crowd doesn’t make you immune from bullying.

How do you feel when you read about these stories?

Do they matter? Does it make you feel less alone?

Or are these people totally irrelevant?

If I had to guess, we are going to have a mixed response on this one. There tends to be those who say their ED has nothing do with Hollywood or anything else, its purely their own control, perfectionism, personal issue. Then there are those who are VERY influenced by the media, Hollywood and fashion (hello pro anas!) who have succumbed to the pressure to try to measure up to weight and beauty standards.

If I think back, I definitely fall into the later category, so much so that I do not believe I would have had an eating disorder if I would not have been a model and part of the fashion world. But then again one never knows since I do have an anxiety disorder (hate that term) and I think that presents itself in many ways, often through an eating disorder.

I’m going to go home and show my daughter the story about Lovato, and have a talk about how she feels about it. I think this will hit home with her since Demi is someone she looks up to in terms of being a cool, rock star. I wonder how many other mom’s bring these stories to the attention of their daughters? I am thinking not many, since its easier to just bury it right? Does your mom talk to you about this kind of stuff (or did she when you were young)?

Do you think it is appropriate and beneficial for me to proactively discuss this with my daughter? I am interested in your opinion (not that I am going to change mine or anything —  what a bull-headed old goat I am huh?!)



About mamaV

Former Paris model providing advice for eating disorder sufferers who aspire to be thin, follow the proana lifestyle, and lack self esteem.
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20 Responses to Hollywood & Eating Disorders: Lovato, De Rossi, who is next?

  1. Lamdas says:

    I’ve seen a few episodes of Sonny with a Chance. Demi

    Lovato is funny. She has that comedic spark and perfect

    timing. She makes the show interesting. I hope she can

    recover from this….

    • mamaV says:

      I agree with you Lamdas, I have a soft spot in my heart for her. She always seemed to have this vulnerability to her.

      FYI – I got home yesterday and talked to my daughter about Demi, and she already knew. She said “she did cutting too,” and I asked if she understood what that was and she did. Was I that smart at 10 1/2?

  2. Lizzie says:

    Im not sure about the USA but in Portia’s home country (Australia…….home sweet home) there was many articles about her struggle with Anorexia a few years ago…….and recently I saw her on tv promoting her new book (which I’ve started reading, its quite good) about her various struggles, mainly focusing on her ED.
    I think that you are awesome and also that you are a caring and loving mum, and i reakon its a good idea to discuss with your daughter about what she thinks/feals about Lovato and her struggles.
    Keep up the awesome work.

    • mamaV says:

      Thanks Lizzie! See my update to Lamdas above.

      I really feel like it is so crucial to have a mom that “gets it,” someone that has their head on straight, already went through all her own battles and won. I feel very lucky to have recovered BEFORE I had my kids.

    • Lizzy says:

      Yes, I have to say I live in the USA and there have been stories about her eating issues out for years, it’s not new I’m glad she’s opening up about what caused her such problems though. As for Demi Lovato I have to say I empathize with her greatly. I had an eating disorder because of that reason, seeking the acceptance of people that would just find another reason to not accept me. It’s a horrible place to be. I wish her the best in seeking treatment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I knew about her ed issues too before the book quite some time ago. I don’t remember how, but I did. It’s amazing she has made quite a turnaround.

    As for caring about these people- I don’t like to see anyone- famous or not- in pain, and I certainly don’t think whatever ailment they are suffering from is them just being self indulgent. I believe people who suffer from ed/alcoholism/cutting anxiety are genetic as do most experts. Nobody in the mental health world that I know who works in ed denys that things like Hollywood and fashion are not a huge problem with eating disorders and do not highly influence them. But the reasons why some models/actresse/regular peeps don’t get them verses others I believe has something to do with something in the brain. As one Dr. I know always says, genetics load the gun, but social and media pressure pull the trigger.

    The question I had for you is that after citing her medical issues- (Osteoporoses, cirrhosis, organ failure and the auto-immune disease lupus were the diseases that were a result of her eating disorder) Would you still continue to suggest that an ED patient not see a medical doctor FIRST?

    It’s like one day you say go see a shrink first before you go to an MD. The next day you are listing potentially fatal conditions that someone with an ed developed. So I mean….it’s just like hellO??? Like someone else said in your time for the shrink post, you are well intentioned but u can sometimes shoot yourself in the foot and send mixed and hypocritcal messages. I am not trying to be overly critical of you- but I just don’t think you realize you are doing it.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Pal: Always finding a criticism huh? That’s alright, I can take it. 😉

      To answer your question; yes, I stand my my statement that I believe a psychiatrist has the SKILLS and TRAINING in eating disorders to “get it.” This stems from the years of stories I receive from girls that make that first step, go to their “family” doctor and get shooed away because they do not fit the formal criteria for an ED.

      The formal criteria for EDs is too limited, although they are expanding it — for example adding binge disorder –and therefore individuals who need help are made to feel like they do not rate. THIS is the point I am trying to make. Does this make sense.

      The key word is FIRST.

  4. Araea says:

    I hate to say it, but the Demi Lovato story doesn’t really phase me, it kind of seems like another teen actress with issues….it’s sad. However, I accidentally landed upon the Oprah special with Portia DeGeneres and I am so grateful I did. I thought Portia spoke such profound truth of what it is to live with an eating disorder and how twisted your thoughts become. Although, the B&W photo they showed of her in the shorts, I thought was so beautiful! I recently relapsed back into my own eating disorder and seeing Portia overcoming it, for some reason gives me some kind of strength and hope that it can be overcome. She seems so happy… I can’t wait to read her book.

    As for the speaking with your daughter, I think you should and that it will give her a safe place to confront these issues. Personally, I had the Mom that at 5’7′ and 105 lbs was telling me you only have 5 more to go, you’ll get there. So no, my Mother never spoke with me about eating disorders because in her world they don’t exist because the thinner you are the better you are. Talk with your daughter she will thank you later!

  5. unbekannt says:

    It seems that the missing bit to make these stories is the fact that these people have permanent damage. Maybe this is covered in the book, but the interviews and flashy oh-my-god-look-what-i’ve-done confessionals have this element of salvation — like everything is fine now and I’m healedc. Back to normal. That might lead an ED-suffereing person to have that (yes it’s sick, but happens all the time) thought — Oh, she’s still georgeous and on top of the world, so I can just keep on with this Ed business and I’ll be fine later. Later, when I quit. It’s the I-can-quit-whenever-I-want sindrome. We need to hear how this has made these celebrities age faster, get less work, have the organs and bones of 75-year olds, have more wrinkles than they would had they not gone through years of Ed practices… it’s only that scary stuff that gets people in the Ed-spiral to stop and think. — or does that even work?

  6. Shannon says:

    Have you read Portia’s book yet?? I’m curious to know what you think about it if you have.

    • unbekannt says:

      no not yet — maybe when it’s in the library… If you have and it DOES metnion these longer-lasting issues caused by Ed, that is just what people need to hear. Maybe it’s in the book, but doesnt make for good tv — most truly, truthful things dont, right?

  7. Gabi says:

    ok, so what i dont get mamav, is that you criticise the media, the celebraties for being the cause of the problems that are around these days, and that they hold the power to the change. Well one wrote a book which will in no doubt help someone, and will raise the deadly awareness to this illness. People look up to her, fuck i know i do, and i have done ever since she was on ally mcbeal. And no I didnt when she was anorexic, i was to busy killing myelf with my own eating disorder, but within readin other peoples difficulties comes strength because there comes a familiarity. You connect.I CANNOT WAIT to read her book because i see so much of me in her when i see her interviews. So i dont undertsnad how you can care less shes raising awareness and criticise when if she was in the depths of it now you could guarentee youd be blaming her as “one of the problem actresses of today”. And nice touch with the sarcastic comment about the gum. Maybe you should look at the similarities between you too… your EDs starting with modelling. Sarcasm hides something….

  8. .C. says:


    The gum comment wasn’t sarcastic at all. She was just drawing a parallel between that and her own experiences. Go back and reread before you point fingers.


  9. gabi says:


    I read it as sarcastic with the been there done it, usually when someone says “been there done it” it tends to be with a sarcastic tone. If im wrong, let mamav tell me. considering iv had my comment up well over a week now with no response perhaps im not so far off the mark?!


  10. Gabi says:

    @ Mamavision

    just wondering with the jealousy i was clearly speaking off is part of ot to do with that Portia is using her fame doing want you wanted to do with the hipbone handbook that was never published?


  11. Nina says:

    Mamav, here is one celebrity post that I absolutely loved and would absolutely share with my daughter (if I had one!)

  12. Karolena says:

    I’ve heard about both people just recently with their EDs. I have not liked Demi from the start. But when I heard about her ED and cutting I felt a bit more compassion for her. Since I have go through both. Neither people have much influence on me, considering my ED, but more my family and peers from school. I love what you do with you site MamaV. To help and understand the ED world. Is very good:) keep going with the site.

  13. Jen says:

    MamaV- Have you read Portia de Rossi’s book? I used to find myself sucked into every eating disorder book I could find. I’m not exactly sure what’s changed, but I cannot get into this book. It’s like every other eating disorder book out there. The only difference being she’s a celebrity. For now I’m stuck on chapter 26. We’ll see if I actually finish.

  14. MelAmber says:

    Agree with many of the posts regarding Portia. It is so obvi that she has been struggling with an ED for many years..I wish the other (many other) actress’s out there who are dealing with similer issues would come clean about it…

  15. R says:

    I have to say the stories about famous people with ED’s do matter. I know several people in real life who have ED’s or used to, but I’ve heard of many more celebrities who have and that always made me feel less alone. Even if you don’t know the person or never meet them you can relate.

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