Disney Alum Alyson Stoner Opens Up About Anxiety, Anorexia

By David Konow 02/19/19

The "Step Up" star got candid about her battle with anorexia and the rehab stay that saved her life in a recent interview.

Disney Alum Alyson Stoner
Photo via YouTube

Alyson Stoner first broke through as a child star when she was nine years old as a dancer in Missy Elliott’s "Work It" video. She then transitioned to starring in films like Cheaper By the Dozen, Step Up, and the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock.

Yet as Stoner, now 25, revealed to People, she suffered from anxiety and anorexia as a result of the grueling pressures of stardom. As early as age six, Stoner had health issues from stress. Her anxiety gave her heart palpitations, and she also suffered from hair loss and seizures. Eventually, Stoner developed binge-eating disorder, anorexia and exercise bulimia.

“Some people are complimentary of me when it comes to maybe not acting out in ways that they see other child stars behaving. I was acting out, but I chose vices that were societally acceptable and praiseworthy,” Stoner told People.

Stoner’s weight loss left some casting directors concerned about her wellbeing.  

“They would just tell me that I need help and [need] to go home and take care of my health because my eyes were sunken in and I was tired and lifeless,” Stoner told People. “The scary part is I wasn’t even the smallest person on set.”

Stoner was hospitalized in 2011 then went to rehab to deal with her disordered eating when she was several months away from turning 18. “I had actually wanted to get help for some time, and my schedule didn’t allow for it. I had already needed hospitalization, but I had to complete projects.”

Once her acting work was done, Stoner got help.

“I still have my hospital gown, binder and letters from other patients tucked in a drawer as a reminder of one of the best choices I’ve made for my health,” Stoner revealed.

“How much of my health am I willing to sacrifice for my job?” she wondered after her rehab stay.

In the music video for her new song "Stripped Bare," Stoner shaves her head. Stoner called the decision “an act of mental health and confidence, not self-destruction.” Symbolically, Stoner added that with every lock of hair that fell from her head, so did “many beliefs and opinions and insecurities… and I’m leaving them there. I’m shedding one era and rising as a new being in real time.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.