Portia de Rossi ate 300 calories a day, weighed 82 pounds

Portia de Rossi promoted her new memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, in an emotional appearance on Oprah yesterday. The 37 year-old actress candidly described what she went through struggling with anorexia and bulimia. The more Portia’s television career took off, the more disordered she ate, reasoning that she needed to lose weight to look good on camera. Some of the stories Portia told Oprah were incredibly heartbreaking, particularly one in which she says she was treated cruelly on a photoshoot in which she didn’t fit into the clothing. She also described how she would erratically exercise on the spot by running and jumping to try and burn off the calories from whatever bit of food she had eaten, including a few sticks of gum or some morsels at Thanksgiving with her family.


Portia de Rossi sat down with Oprah for an emotional interview about her anorexic past to air Monday.

“It wasn’t that I was proud of it,” she said. “But it was certainly a recognition for my self control. I definitely had some pretty amazing willpower to get down to 82 pounds. And that’s what I was holding on to. I didn’t think about anything else.”

Portia reveals that she ate only 300 calories a day at the height of her disorder, and E! reports that she attributes her food issues to anxiety over being gay.

[From The Huffington Post]

We know her story has a happy ending, and that she found love and acceptance from her now-wife, Ellen DeGeneres. When Ellen and Portia discussed their relationship, I actually got misty-eyed.

Ellen explained on Oprah that she understood that Portia had a severe eating disorder, but didn’t realize how bad it was until she read parts of the book. “I knew it had been bad, but I didn’t know what it takes to get to that point. The insanity of the repetitious behavior and the loneliness and the hiding.” Ellen added that she hopes Portia helps others by revealing such personal and painful information. She said “She saves me every minute of the day. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” It’s clear that Portia feels the same.

You can watch videos of Ellen’s segment and Portia discussing her over-exercise on Oprah.com.


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38 Responses to “Portia de Rossi ate 300 calories a day, weighed 82 pounds”

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  1. Arianna says:

    i really truly LOVE them together this is beautiful

    I can’t imagine thinking like that, obsessing every second of every day. and looking at that one photo makes me feel nauseated

  2. Sarah says:

    Oh my, she was so skinny in that picture. Scary skinny. I’m glad this story has a happy ending though. I love them together, they look truly honestly happy and that’s great!

  3. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Yea Ellen and Portia just make me melt. They are so happy together and good for each other. Poor Portia I couldn’t even imagine that kinda struggle.

  4. sapphire says:

    I am so glad she found happiness. You know, the women that were all on Ally McBeal had serious issues regarding weight-I remember Courtney Smith saying in an interview that she was dissed for not fitting into a size 2.

  5. dorothy says:

    Nice couple.

  6. chasingadalia says:

    Those two are too damn cute.

  7. Stephy2585 says:

    Glad there’s a happy ending 🙂
    That show (ally mcbeal) featured alot of too-thin women…
    Whoever cast the women must have had a low weight requirement or something.

  8. Kay says:

    Someone’s got a book to sell.

  9. forevermore says:

    Did she REALLY celebrate Thanksgiving with her family in Australia??? Thinking not…she said Christmas.

  10. sickofit says:

    This is why i would not watch Ally McBeal back in the days. i could not handle all the bones on the screen. There is a serious difference between slim and almost dead skinny. and this show had all the girls on the skeleton side…

  11. Tess says:

    Next book…post divorce.

  12. tooey says:

    I love how the Oprah show kept talking up Portia’s “secret” to promote the interview. What secret? Anyone who saw that header photo when it was originally published back in the day knew Portia was anorexic. Along with Calista Flockheart. I’m glad Portia is better and I’m glad she’s speaking honestly about her issues and letting everyone know how F*ed up you have to be to attain that kind of skinny.

  13. Majosha says:

    Congrats to Portia for overcoming such a dangerous and demoralizing disease. I absolutely love her as an actress. In fact, I’m still mourning the loss of “Arrested Development.”

    On a side note: how does one even stay upright on only 300 calories a day? The amount of abuse the human body can endure without completely shutting down never ceases to amaze me.

  14. sharylmj says:

    Good for her to put herself out there like that. She is obviously in a great place in her life. She looks beautiful and happy. I love these two.. I hope they have a long and happy marriage. I bet her motives are true and wants to help others with body image and being OK with whoever you are.

  15. Delta Juliet says:

    Amazing how beautiful she is now and how absolutely scary she looks in that pic. Wow. Acceptance and love can do wonders for a person.

  16. Atticus says:

    I saw the interview and she was so lovely in it…very frank and emotional and vulnerable, very brave of her to speak out about her extremely painful experience. She and Ellen are just gorgeous together – such obvious, genuine, unconditional love between them. Wish them both all the best. They seem like the real deal.

    Tess, comments like yours really bum me out. I know it’s a celeb gossip site called “CeleBITCHY” but the constant cynicism is really tiring.

  17. Roxanne75 says:

    ugh….this is total marketing for her book. Everyone thinks they have a story but why everyone needs to write a book these days I don’t get.

  18. hatsumomo says:

    When the do split, it just wont be a surprise.

  19. Green is Good says:

    I hope Ellen DeGeneres has an iron-clad Pre-Nup.

  20. original kate says:

    gah! “ally mcbeal” is my most hated show: a bunch of anorexic,neurotic women mooning around over a bunch of unattractive baby-men, bad, bad music and ridiculous plotlines. and don’t even get me started on that fawking dancing baby. sadly i saw alot of it because my then- roommate loved it. i also remember courtney thorn-smith saying years later that the women were basically all in an unspoken competition to see who could be the skinniest and the producers were fine with them starving themselves.

  21. ! says:

    I love reading these comment threads so I can make a mental note of whose future comments to completely disregard. I’ve counted at least 3 so far. Keep it up. I love it when you soulless jerks show your true colors.

  22. MyCatLoves TV says:

    It is like alcoholism…you fight it the rest of your life. God bless Portia for pulling herself out of the other side of this terrible disorder and be willing to talk about it. If it were just about making $$$ from a book, there are less painful and personal ways to do so. Unless you’ve been there, I know it is hard to understand. I am happy she and Ellen found love…I am cheering them on!

  23. Tess says:

    @ Atticus

    I understand what you’re saying and will make an effort to tone down the cynicism because i’m truly not a pessimistic, downbeat killjoy.

    I think my inner grinch breaks out at times when there is an undiluted glut of gaa gaa swooning over some celeb who is momentarily swimming along in one of life’s ephemeral sweet spots. But point well taken.

  24. HBIC says:

    Glad to see Portia get this disorder under control. Unlike alcohol or smack, you will always have/need a relationship with food. That makes overcoming any eating disorder that much more difficult. And what’s up with the snarky comments? I saw some of the interview and it didn’t seem exploitive and appeared done well; this coming from a non-O fan. Its early folks, dial down the bi)@ch factor.

  25. guilty pleasures says:

    Hear, hear on the dismissing of the snarkers!!
    These two seem genuine, both lovely and successful people, no ugly drama for either. Only the drama of living under a magnifying glass called Hollywood, and coming to terms with what will, very soon, be known to be normal.
    Good for Portia to overcome her disorder. Good for both of them to be a golden beacon of what will be accepted as de rigeur in the near future.
    a hetero black female.
    (although both Ellen and Portia could broaden my horizon!)

  26. Henriette says:

    I like Ellen and hope that this time, her partner is as good as she appears. I remember back when she was with Anne Heche and it turns out that chick was nuts AND a cheater. I worry that Portia might be a gold-digging user and I truly hope she’s sincere and loving and has signed an iron clad prenup just in case.

    I always thought of Portia as “that ugly chick with the pretty hair” when she was on Ali McBeal but now she looks good. Healthy weight helps, but I think she also might have had a few surgeries.

  27. Riley says:

    I hate to admit that I have the same reservations about Portia. For one thing she changed her name to Portia. Uggh. Also, I think Alexandra Hedison (who Ellen dated post Anne Heche) seems like such a cool, interesting person, and I like how she kind of went on with her life post Ellen. I think Ellen may have kind of cheated to be with Portia but I could totally be wrong about that. I love Ellen but she definately has a “type”– blond and crazy. I think Alexandra was probably way too low key and normal for Ellen. Anyway, it is not Portia’s fault that I favor Alexandra, but I do.

  28. hatsumomo says:

    I dunno what it is with me lately, but I just dont buy the typical story of self abuse and low self esteem issues and suddenly you’re married to Ellen Degeneres and everything is peachy now. I admit I am too jaded for that.
    And besides, while everyone is sitting in a group fap to these lovebirds, you forget they are a hollywierd romance. It wont last and Im sure alot of y’all know it but just too stubborn to admit it.

  29. hatsumomo says:

    But good on Portia for gaining some weight! She looks a helluva lot better!

  30. LindaR says:

    I saw the Oprah interview and thought that some of the tears were contrived. Either that or Portia needs some meds to control her emotions a bit better. When watching people like her on TV, keep in mind that she knows she is being watched by millions of people. She is an actress and every move she makes is well thought out. I am not being bitchy or cynical. I am being realistic. How f**ked up is a person that needs to tell her kind of story for all the world to hear? Very. Is she still struggling with an eating disorder? You bet she is. And is she any different than any other person with an eating disorder? Well, different than most because she is also craving an inordinate amount of attention regarding her disorder. Most people keep things like that private and only tell an intimate circle of supporters.

  31. Cheyenne says:

    Some of those stick-skinny fashion models live on 500 calories a day plus a pack of cigarettes to take the edge off the hunger. The scary thing is they don’t have a clue as to how emaciated they are when they look in a mirror.

  32. fizXgirl314 says:

    You know, I feel for these stars and everything… but, you’re a grown adult… at some point, if someone insults you or insinuates something that is hurtful (which will happen in life) you don’t develop an eating disorder, you tell them to go “fuck themselves” whether it’s in your head, out loud or whatever… I’m starting to think that these actors and celebrities are nothing more than mere shells of human being who crumble and succumb to pressure at the drop of a hat… nobody (at least not many) seem to have enough understanding of who they truly are to stand up to anything… It’s just… lame… sorry, grow up… take some of these really confident women like Meryl Streep or Sandra Bullock or something and have some philosophy in life that doesn’t depend entirely on how people perceive you… just sayin’

  33. Mizz Tickles says:

    Lisa Nicole Carson is my favorite Ally McBeal actress. Lucy Liu was pretty amazing too.

  34. Darlene says:

    I watched the whole episode and I was riveted. I thought her interview was so genuine and so honest; I was very moved. I will definitely read the book.

    She and Ellen are in the middle of a wonderful relationship. I suppose they have as much chance as anyone at making their marriage work. My parents are about to celebrate 50 years; I wish them the same. I love them as a couple.

  35. Atticus says:

    @ Tess – mutual understanding between us! I definitely hear you on the “undiluted glut of gaa gaa” – awesome line that I might have to plagiarize. 🙂

    Some stars might be starved for attention (Lohan…Kardashians) but I didn’t see anything contrived about Portia’s appearance yesterday. I just wanted to give her a big hug.

    fizXgirl314: that was my reaction, too – if I was at a fitting and some bitch hollered about my being a size 8, I’d tell her to F off. But just as in real life, everyone has a different temperment. In public or in private, different people handle the same situations in totally different ways. It’s just easier to lump all celebs into one group and hold them to a different, unrealistic standard. Some of them can handle that pressure, some of them can’t.

    I consider myself to be pretty balanced and thick skinned, but put me under the pressure and scrutiny these people – PEOPLE, human beings with feelings – face on a daily basis…pretty sure I would have my moments of batshitcraziness, too.

  36. california angel says:

    Most people who suffer from eating disorders don’t know what’s going until it is too late and things have gone way out of control. Regardless of whether she is promoting a book, she is also bringing attention to a serious issue, a disease that KILLS, and affects everyone around the person suffering. It’s serious and painful and horrible and NO ONE would put themselves out there like that just to promote a book. Have some respect!

    Edit: When I finally decided to go to the hospital and a doctor told my mother that I would die in 6 months if I didn’t get my act together, I definitely wasn’t doing it for attention. My BMI was 17, my blood sugar was at coma-inducing levels, my blood pressure was 80 over 50. It’s no joke! I had NO idea that I was malnourished and would NOT have lived had I not decided to speak up and consult the help of a professional. If her book inspires people to get help, then that’s what matters, if she makes $ on the side, good for her.

  37. Crash2GO2 says:

    “And besides, while everyone is sitting in a group fap to these lovebirds, you forget they are a hollywierd romance.”

    How so Hatsumoto?

  38. Confuzzle says:

    Meh Mandy Rogers bonked her way up the showbiz ladder just like Icequeen Kidman. Crap actress, married money.