Sick Celebrities


Mary-Kate Olsen and anorexia


Many young and successful women will suffer from an eating disorder at some stage in their lives. Though the exact causes of conditions such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa still remain unclear, medical professionals have suggested that factors such as low self esteem, a tendency towards obsessive compulsive behaviour and external pressures to be thin can all act as catalysts. Anorexia sufferers attempt to starve themselves, whereas bulimics will experience bouts of binge eating followed by purging – be it through vomiting or the consumption of laxatives.

Women, who are ten times more likely to develop an eating disorder than men, in certain walks of life are more vulnerable than others. In the fashion and entertainment industry, having a slim physique equals to success. So, it is hardly a surprising that these professions see the highest number of female workers suffering under the pressure to be thin.

Actress Mary-Kate Olsen has been battling with anorexia ever since she became an adult. In an interview, the star talked about feeling inadequate next to her twin sister Ashley, saying: “I – are you kidding me? I look in the mirror and I’m like why do you look pretty and I look ugly?” Soon after her 18th birthday, Mary-Kate lost weight drastically, forcing her family to intervene and in 2004 she checked into a rehabilitation facility in Utah in order to deal with her illness.

Talking candidly about her struggle and the lessons she has taken away from it, the socialite remarked: “I think it’s important that what anybody goes through — and I’m not saying that it’s true or not true — you realize it’s part of growing up. Everybody is going to go through hard times. It’s a part of life. I think the hardest part to get to is that point of asking for help or reaching out to other people and being honest with yourself. I do not want to go through my life with my eyes shut. And I don’t want to go through it with a closed mind. I want to be aware of things. And I’d rather know than not know,” NY Mag reported.

Having gained 15 pounds and returned to a healthier state of mind by late 2004, Mary-Kate Olsen reflected upon her experiences and, according to Holly Scoop, stated: “I’m sure growing up in the public eye wasn’t easy; can you imagine being famous since you were 9 months old? That’s crazy! They can’t even poop or get Starbucks without making headlines.”

Other celebrities who have suffered from anorexia include, among many, actresses Portia de Rossi and Calista Flockhart.

Image: David Shankbone

Back to top