Iron Man Actor Reveals Battle With Eating Disorders
Ashley Hamilton is seven years sober, but says food addiction remains a struggle.
Ashley Hamilton, who plays the role of former military officer Jack Taggert in the current box office smash Iron Man 3, has spoken publicly for the first time about his ongoing battle with anorexia and bulimia. The son of famed actor George Hamilton also struggled with drug and alcohol addictions; but though he has been sober for over seven years, he says food addiction has been harder to beat. "I used the drugs and alcohol to control the food addiction," he tells People Magazine, "I've been free from bulimia for years but I still struggle with food, restricting or overeating. That's been the hardest for me in sobriety." The 38-year-old actor, who only sought treatment for his eating disorder within the past year, claims it's more heavily stigmatized than his other addictions—especially as a man. "It's almost like drug addiction is totally acceptable to talk about in Hollywood. But food addiction? Nobody wants to talk about that," he says, "It's really shameful as a man to have that." Hamilton, who was bullied for his weight and dubbed "Fatley" in high school, says his weight continues to fluctuate, and food remains an issue for him even after treatment. "With food it's not black and white. It's: 'Oh, my behavior around food has been better this month,'" he says, "You can't live without food. You're surrounded by food constantly and you have to eat. There are so many people in our country suffering from this. It's an emotional problem and that's been the struggle for me through sobriety." Hamilton says fellow Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who is also in recovery, has been a major part of his support system. "He said 'I can't do it for you, Dude,'" explains Hamilton. "I said, 'That's okay. I just need somebody to give me the opportunity to trust in me sober-wise and give me a shot of this magnitude.' I'll forever owe him for that."