Portia de Rossi Discusses Battle with Bulimia in New Docuseries

By May Wilkerson 05/13/15

The Arrested Development actress opened up about her struggle in a new online docuseries.

Portia de Rossi

It’s gotten better for Portia de Rossi, even though the actress recently got emotional after recalling her past struggle with eating disorders in an episode of the online docuseries, It Got Better. In a clip from the episode, which airs tonight, the 42-year-old Arrested Development actress talks about how her battle with bulimia and anorexia began when she was a child model.

"I felt tremendous responsibility when I was 12 years old and I was put on a catwalk," she recalls. "My modeling agents had told me to go on a diet. So I didn't eat for 10 days before then.”

After other models taunted her for her looks, de Rossi says she sought comfort in food and began binging and purging. "I got in the car after that event, and just opened up a bag of my favorite candy and put my whole head in it," she says. "And I think, 'S--t, what have I done? I just undid two weeks worth of dieting.' I mean, I'm 12 years old. So then I vomit. Erase the feelings with food, erase the food by vomiting ... but you're still left with the shame."

In her 2011 memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, de Rossi talks about her eating disorder resurfacing and nearly killing her after she landed a starring role on hit series Ally McBeal.

In the book she credited her wife, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, with helping her recover. "I think her love for me is so unconditional that it actually makes me feel like maybe I should kind of start accepting myself for exactly who I am, because she seems to," she says.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.