Portia de Rossi Degeneres has before spoken out about the eating disorder that almost killed her, but now she’s going into details with a new book Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, out next week. Rossi has experienced the full gaunlet of disordered eating: from starving herself nearly to death, to binging and purging, and also just binging the actress found success on hit TV shows like Ally McBeal and Arrested Development while in the full grip of terrifying obsession with food and fear of having her sexuality outed.
Ten years ago the now healthy Australian actress (whose original name was Amanda Rogers) was so desperate to be thinner-than-thin to realize the Hollywood ideal that she shrunk down to a dangerous 82 pounds on a 5’8′ frame.
In 2006 she told People ” I have firsthand experience with being caught up in the whole Hollywood body thing.
“I would eat 300 calories a day – a lot of Jell-O and no-sugar everything, of course. “I was doing Pilates, weight-training, circuit training; over lunch I would run on a treadmill in my dressing room with a fan on my face so I wouldn’t sweat my makeup off.”
During that time her health was so frail that she collapsed on the set of Who is Cletis Tout? Doctors found that her organs were failing, she had lupus, osteoporosis, and signs of cirrhosis.
Thankfully, that was the wake-up call she needed to change her life, but she still wasn’t in a healthy state of mind and ended up more than doubling her weight in just 10 months. She binged and purged, but mostly binged.
She’s back to a healthier weight now, and more importantly, no longer obsesses over food. She credits her wife Ellen for helping overcome the vicious personal prison eating disorders can become. Portia told Star Magazine “Ellen saw a glimpse of my inner being from underneath flesh and bone, reached in, and pulled me out.”
It looks like Portia has really come a long way, and has been able to grapple both with the truth of her eating disorders and her sexuality. She and Ellen seem so happy together, and exude an unbridled joy few couples are able to emit through the photos.
Here’s a recent shot of the pair leaving a David Letterman taping last month:
Top photo: Jan. 21, 2001. (photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Bottom photo: September 7, 2010. Fame Pictures, Inc