Christina Applegate reveals she struggled with anorexia when she was a teenager

Christina Applegate reveals she struggled with anorexia when she was a teenager

Christina Applegate has spoken candidly about her experiences with an eating disorder when she was younger.

The 52-year-old actor reflected on struggling with anorexia when she was a teenager during Tuesday’s episode of her and Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s podcast, MeSsy. After noting that she “never discussed” her eating disorder publicly, she shared that her struggles with food and body image started when she was a child, after a neighbour called her fat.

She then opened up about her family’s perspective on physical health, revealing that her mother put her in a Weight Watchers program when she was 15.

“She was always like competitive if I got down to 110 [pounds],” Applegate explained. “She’d be like: ‘Oh I’m so mad. How’d you do it? How’d you get down to 100?’ And the reason was, I had an eating disorder.”

The Dead to Me star went on to recall her eating habits at the time and how the behaviour went on to impact her as she got older.

“I would eat five almonds in a day. And if I had six, I would cry and I wouldn’t want to leave the house. And that stuck with me for years and years and years,” she said.

Applegate revealed that when she first started working on Married…with Children as a teen, she was the one who wanted her character to wear her signature clothing, which included short tops and skirts.

She acknowledged she was struggling with her eating disorder at the time, which she said affected the way she wanted to look in those outfits. “I wanted my bones to be sticking out, so I didn’t eat,” she said.

Applegate then confessed how those around her at the time were concerned about her health. “It was very scary to everyone on set because they were like: ‘Christina never eats.’ And I didn’t,” she said. “They have talked to me about it.”

After pointing out that her eating disorder “became the way of life” for her, she continued to speak candidly about her condition, noting that “if she did eat something,” she’d “punish” herself for it.

She confessed that she “deprived” herself of food, which she said “was f***ing torture”.

Applegate – who’s been public about living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease that affects the body’s nerves – also opened up about gaining weight due to her medication. She recalled how she quipped about her weight gain at the Emmys in January, referring to her joke that her body “was not by Ozempic”.

“I made jokes at the Emmys… It was like I could see what they were thinking,” she said, referring to what people’s opinions about her weight could have been. “I was so humiliated.”

She acknowledged that she doesn’t want her eating disorder to impact her family, including her 12-year-old daughter Sadie, who she shares with husband Martyn Noble.

“The demon is saying these things to me,” she explained. “It’s scaring me because I don’t want my daughter to see me not eat, and I don’t want her to see me talk about these things,” she said. “I’ve been really clear about never talking about this stuff with her and trying not to put myself down.”

Sigler praised Applegate for speaking so openly, with the Sopranos star saying that “talking about” the eating disorder was “a good thing”. Sigler also revealed that “no one” talked about her eating disorder with her as a child, claiming that her parents “were ignoring it” since they “didn’t know what to do or say”.

Later in the episode, Applegate opened up about her struggles with her eating disorder in her twenties, revealing that she got liposuction on her legs when she was 26.

“The teeny bit of fat on my leg in the back, and a doctor actually performed this surgery on me,” she continued. “He said:‘You’re the perfect candidate because you work out all the time and you just can’t get this last bit out.’”

Applegate specified that once she turned 30, she reached a point where she felt more comfortable in her own skin and didn’t “have to be obsessed” with how she looked on the outside.

Throughout her time in the spotlight, Applegate has also spoken candidly about her symptoms of MS, including an inability to walk properly. During an episode of her podcast last month, she revealed that while on a family trip to Europe, she spent most of the vacation walking.

The Jesse star revealed how she made the decision to walk without her cane on the trip, adding: “All of a sudden this, like, strange superpower took over and I just ended up walking without my cane the whole rest of the time and was amazed by it.”

She expressed how shocked she was to be walking during the trip, before revealing how many steps she ultimately did each day while in Europe. “For two years, I haven’t gone maybe over 2,000 steps a day, that’s it,” Applegate added. “And I was looking at my FitBit and it was, like, 9,000 a day.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, MS is “potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord”. In addition to walking difficulties or inability to walk, symptoms can also include numbness or weakness in the limbs, lack of coordination, partial or complete loss of vision, and slurred speech.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this article, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.

NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit or call 0845 838 2040.