It's hard to believe that is has been twenty years since Tracey Gold began to disappear before our eyes. The actress, who we had watched grow up on the series "Growing Pains", was going from the brunt of the series fat jokes to anorexic with a national television audience watching. At her lowest point, the actress weighed 79 pounds and was ultimately suspended from the hit show in order to get her personal life in order.
Now the 42-year-old actress is using her experience with the eating disorder to help other young women stay healthy on her new series, "Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold" on Lifetime.
"I had never worried about my weight and all of a sudden, I kind of put on the freshman 15 without going to college... and they said, 'You have to go on a diet and lose some weight.' So I went on a diet and lost some weight and what happened was I go all these compliments and accolades... and it really kind of messed with my head," the star told Access Hollywood. "It spun out of control and I didn't know how to get out of it."
For Tracey it took years of treatment and the support of her family and friends that finally helped her get healthy. "It was a long, long road. I had intensive treatment," she says. "I had a moment of clarity like, 'I don't wanna be sick anymore. I'm sick and tired of being sick. I wanna be healthy, I wanna be married, I wanna have kids.'"
These days, the actress is hoping that her own experience can serve as a valuable lesson for others battling similar eating disorders. While heartbreaking in nature, Tracey's story isn't unique in Hollywood, where so much pressure is put on young girls to stay slim no matter the cost. Here's a look at some stars who have battled their own eating disorder demons:
Diane Keaton: The "Annie Hall" star always looks so put together that it came as quite a shock when she admitted to battling bulimia as in her early twenties earlier this year. It was the advice of a Broadway casting director who advised the star to drop ten pounds in order to star in "Hair" that kick-started her battle of the bulge. It took five years and a stint in psychoanalysis to help her triumph over the eating disorder.
Jessica Alba: She may be the girl of just about every guy's dreams, but the "Spy Kids 4" actress has faced her own battle with anorexia. The actress admitted her difficulties with her body image in a 2005 interview in Glamour magazine saying, "A lot of girls have eating disorders, and I did too. I got obsessed with it. When I went from a girl's body to a woman's body with natural fat in places, I freaked out. It makes you feel weird, like you're not ready for that body." These days she's busy raising her two daughters and taking a healthy approach to losing the post-baby weight.
Mary-Kate Olsen: She literally grew up in front of a television audience on the hit show, "Full House" throughout the 1990s. She nearly faded away in 2004. Despite creating a massive empire with her sister Ashley, MK faced major body self consciousness as a teen. After making headlines for her increasingly emaciated appearance, it took a family intervention to send the star to a treatment program for anorexia.
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- Tracey Gold