Zambian-born Hollywood star Thandie Newton has always been open about her bulimia. The eating disorder affected her life at the tender age of 14 when she was training to be a ballerina. Her struggle lasted a year and left her scarred both physically and mentally.
“I had terrible bulimia for about a year … I ate nothing but cottage cheese. I’ve still got the scars on my knuckles from where I put my fingers down my throat.”
After that year she put it to rest and lived a moderately normal life but it reared its ugly head in her early 20s.
“I’d been involved with this guy for a long time, he was much older than me and I felt a lot of shame about my sexual relationship with him.”
“I would have these dinners with him and then go back to the flat and I’d throw up. Then I went out with someone who was emotionally abusive, criticizing me the whole time.”
After two abusive relationships she realized it was time to seek help; that living with an eating disorder would only lead her to more misery.
While working on a film shoot in Los Angeles she enlisted the help of a therapist.
“I saw a therapist for the first time,” she said. “After that first session, I never threw up again. I had made the connection between shame and self abuse.”
This ‘Mission: Impossible II’ actress successfully recovered from bulimia through the initial therapy and then with support and determination. After working herself into super slim looks she fell into a healthy relationship and has developed a love of children.
“I keep getting pregnant. So one day I’m slim and the next I have a bump. In the last two years my body has changed so much. I think the Hollywood size is a bad thing. I don’t stick to any diets. I eat when I’m hungry. Thankfully I have my mother’s frame and I’ve always been slim.”
Today, leading a wonderful and healthy life, Thandie is working hard on her films and motherhood and when asked about her self-perception she cheerfully replies: “I see a happy, defiant, loving friend.”