Not a Joking Matter: Comedian Kathy Griffin Opens Up About Eating Disorder

Eating disorders don't discriminate. They don't care if you're rich or poor, they don't care about your color or gender, and they don't care if you're famous or virtually unknown. There is only one thing for sure: it's never easy to struggle with an eating disorder, no matter who you are.

Sometimes hearing stories of other people's struggles can be inspiring. It's hard to talk about such struggles, but comedian and actress Kathy Griffin has opened up to share her story.

An Early Start

Griffin, like so many people with eating disorders, realized something was wrong when she was very young. Griffin grew up with a brother who was much older than her; he was a drug-addict and a pedophile. She sought comfort in food.

She didn't know it at the time, but when Griffin was growing up in her parent's household, she suffered from what she now thinks is Binge-Eating Disorder (BED). She would consume excessive amounts of food within short time periods. She would binge when she was alone, and out of shame, she would throw wrappers away in her neighbor's garbage can so her family wouldn't find them.

Pressures of Hollywood

When Griffin was 18 years old, her parents wanted her to go to college. The budding star was already beginning to find success in her home state of Illinois, so she did not want to pursue higher education. Instead, she convinced her family to move to Los Angeles and help her pursue a career in show business.

By the 1990s, Griffin began landing small roles in films and on television. In an interview with Rosie O'Donnell, she told the talk show host that she began suffering from bulimia in the mid-1990s.
Griffin explains that she was cast in the television show "Suddenly Susan," and that the wardrobe stylist would criticize her constantly. At a svelte size six, Griffin was considered overweight.
Griffin felt a tremendous pressure to keep her weight down.

Road to Recovery

Griffin rarely talks about her eating disorder, but she did mention it in her 2009 autobiography, "Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin."

The comedian, now looking great at the age of 59, explained in the book that she continues to have food issues, but that she has learned to "deal with them."

Griffin didn't let her eating disorders get in the way of her success. It's good to know that there are people out there winning that particular battle.

Sources: Cafe Mom, People

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution

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