Sick Celebrities


Oprah Winfrey’s eating disorder was a defense mechanism


One of the ways some victims deal with the trauma of sexual abuse is by punishing their bodies by either starving themselves of food or overeating. This is because at one time the person starts hating their own body and makes every effort to give it an ugly appearance, mistaking the body to be the reason for one’s victimization and consequently punishing it. One such famous example who shares a similar story is the most celebrated face of American television, Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey, who has been suffering from all sorts of eating disorders since her teens, is one such celebrity for whom eating disorders have been an integral part of their entire lives. Oprah’s eating disorder has been a constant companion in her successful and influential image in the American television industry.

Growing up with a troubled childhood, Oprah was sexually abused at the tender age of nine, which she says lead to her struggle with overeating. Talking about her love for food and her battle Oprah once said: “It’s always a struggle. I’ve felt safer and more protected when I was heavy. Food has always been comforting.”

Due to her weight gain, Oprah had to face a tough time with the TV producers and lost several jobs because of her weight.

Winfrey once said, “The reason I gained so much weight in the first place and the reason I had such a sorry history of abusive relationships with men was I just needed approval so much. I needed everyone to like me, because I didn’t like myself much. So I’d end up with these cruel self-absorbed guys who’d tell me how selfish I was, and I’d say ‘Oh thank you, you’re so right’ and be grateful to them. Because I had no sense that I deserved anything else. Which is also why I gained so much weight later on. It was the perfect way of cushioning myself against the world’s disapproval.”

This much appreciated host of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ at one time reached her heaviest when she weighed around 237 pounds but now Oprah is committed to a healthier life and proper workout sessions and told O Magazine, “Getting my lifelong weight struggle under control has come from a process of treating myself as well as I treat others in every way.”

In 2007, Oprah gained 20 pounds but this time the reason was her thyroid problems. She said: “At the end of May, I was so exhausted I couldn’t figure out what was going on in my life. I ended up going to Africa and spent a month with my beautiful daughters there, was still feeling really tired, really tired, going around from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong and finally figured out that I had literally sort of blew out my thyroid.”

Read about Oprah’s thyroid problem.

Other celebrities who have suffered from eating disorders include Mary-Kate Olsen,Sharon Osbourne, Daniel Johns and Jane Fonda.

Author: Alan Light

Back to top