Tracey Gold, famous for her role as Carol Seaver in the hit American sitcom, ‘Growing Pains’ has been acting since the age o four, when she first appeared in a Pepsi print ad.
At the tender age of 11, Tracey was found to be suffering from anorexia by her paediatrician, Wikipedia reports. He made the diagnosis after noticing she has lost weight after a growth spurt. In her alleged desperate attempt to not grow up, Tracey had been starving herself.
When working for ‘Growing Pains’, Tracey gained some weight and the script was filled with “fat” jokes for many episodes. At the age of 19, Tracey reached 133 pounds, which is when her compulsive dieting began.
“I was made fun of by a casting agent. If I were a different person, it probably would have rolled off my back,” Tracey told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “But I have the kind of personality where I will let those kinds of comments affect me. I’ve always wanted to please people.”
She then went to an established endocrinologist who put her on 500 calories per day diet, despite knowing her history with anorexia. She achieved her goal of reaching 113lbs in two months. Tracey remembered that time as being uplifting. “It was so wonderful. All of a sudden, I wasn’t awkward Tracey. People were saying I was pretty. I fell right into the pitfall of ‘I can’t lose this constant praise’.”
On the surface, Tracey had it all. A loving boyfriend, Roby Marshall, whom she later married, a supportive family and a hit television series. At the peak of her illness Tracey had starved herself down to an estimated 80lbs and was terribly frail.
One day Tracey’s mother, Bonnie saw Tracey changing in the dressing room of the sets of ‘Growing Pains’ and was horrified by her skeletal appearance. Tracey had been wearing baggy clothes to hide her growing thinness and had managed to deceive her parents this far. This revelation did not force Tracey to stop starving herself. Though she went for regular psychotherapy, Tracey continued to lose weight for another two years.
During a Christmas season of her sitcom, Tracey was finally suspended from the show for her thin appearance. This made Tracey one of the first celebrities to be removed from a role due to anorexia. Five days later she checked into a hospital.
After that she fought the disease on her own with help from a nutritionist in UCLA. She slowly got better. “They’ve stabilized my weight now and I’m healthy enough to know that I don’t want to lose any more,” she told PEOPLE.
“I am fighting it, but it’s hard. It consumes my every thought.”
Tracey has written a book about her illness and recovery titled ‘Room to Grow’.
Images: PR PHOTOSTags: anorexia eating disorder weight loss