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Gabourey Sidibe Reflects on Her Battle With an Eating Disorder in Conversation on Mental Health

Kaitlin Reilly
·2 min read
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Gabourey Sidibe is opening up about her battle with bulimia.

In a sneak peek of the upcoming episode of Taraji P. Henson's Facebook talk show Peace of Mind, which discusses mental health, the Precious star—who Taraji starred with on the music drama Empire—shared that she suffered from bulimia to cope with sadness.

Gabourey explained, "It was about me surviving the day. It was about controlling this emotion that was uncontrollable. I hated this emotion so much, I hated it." She added that bulimia became a "fun little button" for her.

"I found a button, and on top of that people were like 'You're looking good.' You know? So why would I stop? It's like, this was dope, in a way," the actress shared of her mindset at the time. "It was like a self-defense mechanism, that's what bulimia was for me. It wasn't about losing weight, it wasn't about controlling my appetite, it truly was about how it stopped me from crying."

Taraji P. Henson's Best Looks

Though Gabourey said it felt like she was finally controlling her emotions, in reality, the exact opposite was happening.

"I was not, I was getting worse," she told Taraji. "Being depressed is one thing, but if you add an eating disorder to that, that's a whole other monster that you have to fight."

Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey, who recently got engaged to boyfriend Brandon Frankel, opened up about her struggle with bulimia, as well as anxiety and depression, in her 2017 memoir This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. She said that therapy helped her manage her mental health struggles.

She wrote in the book, "There's nothing ugly about me. Anyone trying to convince me that I am—and it's usually me—is wasting her time. I was in a war with my body for a long time. If I'd started treating it better sooner, I wouldn't have spent so many years hating myself. But I love my body now."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.