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Ashley Hamilton: 'I suffered from bulimia and anorexia'

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Ashley Hamilton, star in the box-office hit "Iron Man 3," has gone public about his former struggles with eating disorders.

Hamiton, the 38-year-old son of film and television actor George Hamilton, told PEOPLE that his problems can be traced all the way back to his teen years. And even after battling drug and alcohol addiction – finally getting clean and sober for more than six years – he faced yet another hurdle in overcoming food addiction.

"I suffered from bulimia and anorexia," he said. "I believe it was my problem before I got into drugs and alcohol."

Getting help

Over the past year, Hamilton entered treatment for his eating disorder but said that it's still a source of shame and pain in his life. The 6-foot-3 actor's weight has fluctuated between 180 and 250 pounds, and he says his nickname in high school was "Fatley."

When I speak at meetings, I have people come up to me and say, 'I suffer from it, too, but I'm too afraid to talk about it because it's so painful.' It's almost like drug addiction is totally acceptable to talk about in Hollywood. But food addiction? Nobody wants to talk about that. It's really shameful as a man to have that.

Rebuilding trust

While Hamilton's role in "Iron Man 3" is small, he said he is grateful for the opportunity to be trusted again after years of instability due to drug and alcohol use.

"[I'm] really grateful for somebody giving me an opportunity again. I just didn't have that before."

As far as his eating disorder recovery, Hamilton echoes what so many with food addiction know: It's no easy road.

"With food, it's not black and white. It's: 'Oh, my behavior around food has been better this month,'" he explained. "You can't live without food. You're surrounded by food constantly and you have to eat."

The actor is currently working on a film called "Tranzloco" and a new play.

Source: PEOPLE

Image via Dark Horizons