Portia De Rossi survived off 300 calories per day at the height of her anorexia, the actress has told Oprah.
A tearful De Rossi admitted that it was almost a proud achievement to weigh in at just 82 lbs. “It wasn’t that I was proud of it,“ she tells Oprah in the interview airing in the US on Monday. “But it was certainly a recognition for my self control,“ the Daily Mail cites.
The star also took up to 20 laxatives a day. She said of her mindset at the time, “I would prefer to die than fail another diet.“
De Rossi’s problems began when she left her native Australia for Hollywood and landed a role in US drama Ally McBeal, starring alongside Calista Flockhart, who was battling anorexia.
“I’ve often wondered if I wasn’t on that show if it (anorexia) may not have happened. I didn’t really know at that point what it was like to be a celebrity, and the only people I knew at the time who had a similar experience were these women whom I worked with. They became my role models,” she told Vogue.
De Rossi claims that it was the love of wife Ellen Degeneres that finally helped her escape the clutches of the illness.
The couple were introduced at concert for Rock The Vote in March 2001 and De Rossi admitted she was instantly smitten. In that year things had come to a head and she was diagnosed with oesteoporosis, cirrhosis of the liver, organ failure and the auto-immune disease lupus.
“Ellen has taught me not to care about other people’s opinions,“ the Daily Mail cites De Rossi. “Ellen saw a glimpse of my inner being from underneath the flesh and bone, reached in and pulled me out.“
In August 2008 De Rossi married Degeneres, who is 15 years her senior, in a private ceremony in their Beverly Hills home.
Now, with her life on track, De Rossi has written a memoir detailing her struggles with anorexia called Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain.
Images: PR Photos