Actress Gabourey Sidibe has opened up about her past battles with both anxiety and bulimia during a recent appearance of Taraji P. Henson’s new podcast, Peace of Mind with Taraji.
In what could be considered her most candid interview to date, Sidibe shared that anxiety around her parent’s split helped cultivate her eating disorder from an early age.
“Honestly, it wasn’t about, I mean yeah, I was a fat kid and a fat adult, surprise. And I, you know, I was made fun of like everyone else as a kid. But when I was in around third or fourth grade, my parents were splitting up. And the world was changing for me, and it felt like the floor was being pulled away from me,” she shared. “That’s how my anxiety sort of presented itself when I was a kid.”
The “Empire” actress continued: “I would have to get to school early so I could really clean myself up because I would be sweaty, I would be crying, my clothes would genuinely be wet with my tears,” she said. “And one day I was crying so much and so hard I threw up. I just threw up. And the second I was done throwing up, my tear ducts dried. I wasn’t sweating anymore. I had stopped crying. And I thought, ‘I’ve found the button. This is it.'”
Sidibe says she found a novel way of staying motivated when she started to lose weight, accelerating her bulimia:
“I found a button, and on top of that people were like, ‘You’re looking good.’ You know? So, I’m like, why would I stop?” she told Henson. “Like, this was dope, in a way. It’s like a self-defense mechanism, that’s what bulimia was for me. It wasn’t about losing weight, it wasn’t about controlling my appetite, it truly was about how it stopped me from crying.”
Sidibe added, “It felt like I was controlling my emotions, I was out of control, I was getting worse. Being depressed is one thing, but if you add an eating disorder to that, that’s a whole other monster that you have to fight.”
Sidibe was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016 and underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery, otherwise known as gastric band surgery.