A Celebrity Admits to Struggling with Bulimia

Katie Couric has bravely admitted that she struggled with body image and self esteem issues while still in high school.

This week Katie Couric used her new interview show as a forum for personal confession, admitting that she struggled with bulimia throughout college and for two years after graduation. Couric made the disclosure without fanfare during an episode that focused on eating disorders. Guests on the show included singer Demi Lovato, who also has gone public with her eating disorder, as well as eating disorder experts.

Speaking later to the Associated Press, Couric said she felt compelled to acknowledge why the show’s topic was important to her. She admitted that she struggled with body image and self esteem issues while still in high school, and that her failure to get into the college she had hope to attend triggered a pattern of binging and purging. She continued to have issues with food even after graduating from college and starting work with ABC News.

Couric gained control over her eating disorder with the help of a therapist while still in her twenties. At 55, she now has a healthier relationship with food and hopes that sharing her earlier history with binging and purging will encourage others to seek help.

A long list of celebrity women have admitted to battling bulimia and anorexia. In her 2011 memoirThen Again, actress Diane Keaton lists Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Joan Rivers, Paula Abdul, Princess Diana and many more famous women who are known to have suffered from eating disorders. Keaton herself was a binge eater and a bulimic during her early acting career. She describes the enormous quantities of food she consumed for several years (up to 20,000 calories per day) and the lengths she took to hide her problem, including maintaining a separate apartment where she stashed food during the time she was living with Woody Allen. Although Allen often commented on Keaton’s enormous appetite, he didn’t guess that she was bulimic.

Bulimia controlled Keaton’s life for five years. During those years she lived with indigestion, heartburn, low blood pressure and irregular periods. The dentist found 26 cavities in her teeth during a single annual visit. At Allen’s suggestion, she began seeing a psychoanalyst several times a week for her crushing insecurity. Like Couric, Keaton eventually overcame her eating disorder through therapy.

The younger generation of celebrity women has not been immune from problems with body dysmorphia and eating disorders. In addition to Demi Lovato, young celebrities who have admitted to or are suspected of having an eating disorder include Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba, Mary-Kate Olsen, Tara Reid and Nicole Richie. Like Couric and Keaton, those who have gone public have expressed a desire to raise awareness about eating disorders. For women who are silently struggling with eating issues, seeing that a celebrity has worked through many of the same issues and overcome a serious eating disorder can bring hope for recovery.

Read more about Bulimia.