Sick Celebrities

eating disorders

Elton John battled ego and bulimia


Elton John

Pop legend Elton John is among many celebrities who have been into rehabilitation for treatment, but unlike most he went in for treatment of two issues simultaneously.

After cleaning himself up he spoke openly about his private battles in an interview in 1992. Elton explains his reasons for entering rehab to the Chicago Sun-Times.

It really was Elvis Presley time again,” he said. “[Pop] isn’t a normal life. You get cut off from people, isolated. It’s easy to lose your values and self-respect. I got to where I didn’t know how to speak to someone unless I had a nose full of cocaine. Nothing could satisfy me. I used to complain about everything, right down to the colour of the private jet.

I had to change because I was frightened,” he added. “I didn’t want to die angry and bitter and sad, and that’s what I had become, physically ugly, spiritually ugly, a slob, a pig.”

He felt that it was ultimately time to take control of his life again back in 1990. Getting help, however, wasn’t as easy as he imagined as at the time there were no clinics in Los Angeles that would treat patients who wanted to battle addiction and bulimia.

Elton John first had to battle his ego to overcome bulimia
Elton John first had to battle his ego to overcome bulimia

I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘You mean, I finally decide to seek help and they’re telling me no one will accept me?’”

After some in-depth searching he found a clinic in Chicago that was happy to treat him but admits that entering rehab is when the hard work really began for him. The biggest problem he faced was his ego; a proud stubbornness that became an obstacle to his progress because he couldn’t tolerate being told what to do.

I tried to run away twice because of authority figures telling me what to do,” he said. “I didn’t like that, but it was one of the things I had to learn.

I packed my suitcase on the first two Saturdays, and I sat on the sidewalk and cried. In the end, I knew there was really no choice. I realized this was my last chance.”

He had a very high profile friend back then who also suffered with bulimia – Diana, Princess of Wales – and in an interview with CNN in 2002, Larry King asked the singer whether he knew Lady Diana was bulimic.

Yes, I did,” he replied. “We were both bulimic.”

Elton is back to enjoying life more than ever. Looking back on his troublesome time, he told the Chicago Sun-Times: “Despite all the success, I think I just wanted to be loved. I wanted someone to love me.”


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