Sarah Hyland on comments she’s anorexic – she has a condition, is on bed rest

Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland, 26, always manages to impress me in interviews. She’s perky without being annoying, she has an infectious enthusiasm and she just seems like a genuinely nice person. I also really admire the way she handled her exit from a five year abusive relationship, in 2014. She got a permanent restraining order, I’m assuming her publicist talked to US because they had insider quotes about what she went through, and then she gave a brief interview in which she gave some vague quotes about going through some things. She’s not one to get into person details from what I’ve seen, so the fact that she has opened up about her personal medical crisis is significant.

A couple of days ago Hyland posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing a t-shirt of her boyfriend, British actor Dominic Sherwood, a portion of the proceeds of which go to the anti-bullying alliance. That photo is above. People commented that she should “eat a burger” and that she looked too thin and possibly anorexic. In response she posted a long message to Twitter about the fact that she’s sick in bed and can’t exercise or stay healthy with her condition, which she didn’t disclose. The message is long and it’s in two parts on Twitter, which are screenshots of a note she wrote on her phone. Here are some excerpts:

I’d like to address something that has not only been brought up on Twitter but has been heavily discussed by all of you in my Instagram comments. That something is my weight. I normally don’t comment on things like this because it draws attention to those trying to spread negativity but I’m here to explain a few things and spread love. Here goes…I haven’t had the greatest year. Maybe one day I’ll talk about it but for now, I’d like my privacy. I will say this year has brought a lot of changes and with that, physical changes.

I have been told I can’t work out. Which, for me, is very upsetting. I am an activist for activity (and for eating junk food in bed but it’s all about balance right?). I love to be outdoors. I love to be strong. (I’ll be using that word a lot). Strength is everything. Being strong has gotten me where I am. Both mentally and physically. I am not a fan of ‘being skinny’ which many of you have told me that I am too much of. ‘Eat a burger, your head is bigger than your body and that’s disgusting’ and you’re right! I should eat a burger! Cause they’re f–king delicious! But guess what. I do And again, you’re right. No one’s head should be bigger than their body but considering I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass. My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like.

I write this because I’ve been accused of promoting anorexia in, ironically enough, an anti-bullying post. And I want young girls to know that’s not my intention.

I am working hard to maintain my weight by eating as much protein as possible and continue to be strong and healthy. There’s no need to worry. I’ve been down before and I’ll probably be down again in my lifetime but I’m steadfast and solid and will conquer my obstacles.

[From Twitter via E! Online]

Hyland played Baby’s sister in the Dirty Dancing TV movie, which aired last night and has been getting scathing reviews. I love Dirty Dancing and have seen the original dozens of times. I would have watched the remake if it caught my interest but it seemed laughably bad from the few minutes I caught in between watching a much better show. (The Americans, on my DVR.)

Some may accuse Hyland of using her platform to promote Dirty Dancing, but I think this is just a timing issue in that she was bothered by the comments, decided to respond, and it happened to coincide with the show. She deserves the benefit of the doubt here. I’m really interested to know what kind of illness she has. E! reminds us that Hyland received a kidney transplant from her father in 2012 to treat kidney dysplasia, a condition in which the kidneys don’t form properly in utero and which can vary in its severity. Her condition has got to be serious if her doctor is keeping her on bedrest and steroids and I hope she is on the way to recovery. She’s right too, so many people accuse others of eating disorders when we really don’t know their situation.



Oh yeah. I'm a blonde now.

A post shared by Sarah Hyland (@therealsarahhyland) on

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40 Responses to “Sarah Hyland on comments she’s anorexic – she has a condition, is on bed rest”

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  1. Jazzie30 says:

    “…so many people accuse others of eating disorders when we really don’t know their situation.” This.

    • Mrs. Welin-Melon says:

      So much this.

      Someone with Crohn’s Disease

    • SM says:

      This. When I had my son I looked like that. Because breastfeeding was taking a lot of energy out of me. Mixed with the stress of first new born for whom I had to care all by my self (my husband was working 18 hour days because he was responsible for renovation of our appartment in addition to a very full time job with extra hours). I remember even some of my friends thought I was vain and just wanted to be slim after having a baby. I hated looking like a stick so I understand her emotion complitely. I hope she gets well.

    • Kitten says:

      Say it over and over again.

      I LOVED everything about her statement. She seems like such a strong, level-headed young woman. At the risk of sounding trite, I think she’s beautiful inside and out.

    • PrincessMe says:

      I say it every time a topic like this comes up, but people need to lay off other people’s bodies. Discussing fashion is one thing, but a person’s body should be off limits. Whether that body size is considered “desirable” (making it totally acceptable to rip it apart; *insert massive eyeroll) or not. It’s not fair to criticize because you just don’t know what a person is going through. And even if they’re not actively “going through” anything, if you’re not in a position to help/support that person on a personal level, it’s not right to discuss and criticize from your armchair.

  2. slowsnow says:

    This poor woman has a debilitating kydney disease. They had to accomodate her scenes to her level of tiredness in Modern Family.
    It’s very dangerous to label people based on a photo. The internet has the best and the worst of humanity for sure.
    I hope she’s doing good.

    • NtSoSclBtrfly says:

      She as a renal patient should not be eating a high protein diet if her kidneys are not fully functional.

      • Tata says:

        That was my thought too… It is the only thing that strikes me as a little odd about her statement.

  3. detritus says:

    Anti-rejection medication is incredibly serious.
    My dad’s been on different types for the last year, and he’s lost a ton of weight from an already slender frame. This could just be complications with organ rejection.

  4. Dorothy#1 says:

    I do wonder what he illness is. On a few episodes of modern family she looked much heavier than normal. Still amazing beautiful but definitely not how she looked before or now.

    • Chelsey says:

      I noticed a difference this season in her appearance as well. Her face seemed puffy. Hope she is doing well, poor girl.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        She mentioned at one point she is on prednisone, which makes you retain water.

    • Delta Juliet says:

      Anti-rejection meds and steroids will do that to a person.

  5. justcrimmles says:

    She doesn’t look anorexic. She’s clearly wearing an oversized shirt, her arms are kind of hidden in the sides, and she’s not exactly a big woman anyway. Plus, having a rounder head/face seems to make that more apparent.

    I like Sarah, I like Hailey Dunphy, and I hope her recovery is speedy and not mired in more of this bs.

  6. QQ says:

    I really Like her for whatever reason, so I hope she’s OK, she’s gone through a LOT for someone so young, I also always likes how it seems like the Modern Family People really like and support each other and do things like trips and weddings together

    • cindy says:

      She really is so young to have gone through so much. I would guess that it has matured her beyond her years (in a good way). I don’t know anything about kidney transplants, maybe it has to do with that. I hope she gets better soon.

  7. Loo says:

    It’s obvious she’s having health issues, why can’t people just be compassionate instead of attacking her?

    • Tippet says:

      I agree. She’s sick, period, so be nice. I’d also like to point out that anorexia is a real and serious health issue too, and sufferers deserve compassion. There seems to be this shaming thing around anorexia, like she’s “forgiven” if it’s kidney disease, but not if it’s anorexia. People can be really awful.

      • Tata says:

        This! Anorexia is not a choice. There should be no shame whatever is going on.

  8. kaye says:

    “My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like.”

    THIS, so much. I am similarly fighting through a yet totally diagnosed neuromuscular condition and during the throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks phase, my doctors put me on all kinds of meds that made me GAIN a ton of weight and it has been disheartening to deal with the fall-out (in terms of attention, comments and external pressure, along with the internalized demoralization of the weight not going anywhere even with an uptick in exercise and diet stuff)

    all to say: it is a nice reminder that sometimes we can’t control everything.

  9. Katie says:

    I feel her pain. When I was 16, I lost 50+ pounds in 6 months. I ate and ate and ate but nothing stayed down. Within a 3 month span, I had my gallbladder taken out and a hernia repaired. I went from 175 to 110 real quick. And EVERYONE …family, friends, my teachers accused me of being anorexic. And I got many “eat a burger” quotes. It really hurt. I ate like 5 times a day…not my fault the food didn’t want to stick. Society needs to stop body shaming. No one knows everything about anyone. Nor is it our business. I’m almost 34 now and I have gained some of the weight back (too much for my liking lol) and now I get the “are u pregnant ” comments. You just can’t win!!!!

  10. Eleonor says:

    I wish her a full recovery.

  11. Lucy says:

    Gosh. Poor Sarah. Having to deal with health issues AND a bunch of f*cktards on social media. I hope she gets through this.

  12. Kristen says:

    I really respect her, and I think she’s very talented and has terrific comedic timing. She plays her character on Modern Family perfectly. I imagine it’s hard to play someone who’s kind of ditzy like that, and do it believably. I hope she’s ok.

  13. Emily says:

    Given the health issues that she’s had to struggle with, I would be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on this issue and accept that she doesn’t have an eating disorder. But the first picture in this post – from her Instagram, no less – really disspells any doubt in my mind. That picture is textbook ‘thinspo’ – the way she’s posing, the skinny limbs juxtaposed against the oversized t-shirt, all of it. I’ve struggled with anorexia since my teens, been hospitalised numerous times for it and I know it when I see it. That doesn’t make me unique btw. Anyone who’s had this disease long enough – any longer than two years – is all too familiar with it. You just know – simple as that.

    I hope she gets the help she needs because the longer you let it go on, the more it becomes part of you. Recovery is always possible but it’s incredibly hard – I’m doing better these days but to say my eating disorder is in the past would be a lie. Hopefully, she’s aware she has a problem – the fact that she’s not acknowledging it publicly is understandable I think. You don’t want to be defined that way or written off as sick. I wish her the best.

    • KB says:

      Have you looked at her other Instagram photos? She doesn’t really do those angles in other photos.

    • Amelie says:

      I am sorry you are dealing with an EA, I can’t imagine what it’s like. But many ailments can cause people to lose weight and look dangerously thin, not just eating disorders. I lost a significant amount of weight when I was depressed about 5 years ago because I started unintentionally skipping meals, I had no energy to cook and simple tasks like eating just seemed to take too much energy out of me (of course I had no energy because I wasn’t eating properly, it became a vicious cycle). I was not anorexic since I had no desire to lose weight, it just happened without me noticing. Other people noticed though and probably thought I had an EA. Don’t base someone’s medical condition on a single picture.

      • Emily says:

        I think there are an abundance of other photos that show her dramatic weight loss. Depression certainly can lead to weight loss but it is rarely going to cause you to plummet from a healthy BMI to what I’d estimate is about 14.2 max currently. I’ve struggled with depression too (eating disorders go hand in hand with depression more often than not). It also, unfortunately, runs in my father’s side of the family so I’m well aware of the physical toll it can take. I’m sorry that people thought you had an ED (I assume that’s what ‘EA’ refers to) and I hope you’re doing well now.

        With all due respect, this is, however, a celebrity gossip blog and pretty much 99% of the comments are speculation. A quick scroll through her Instagram (you’re right – one picture is unfair), just brings up many other pictures I’d categorise as classic ‘thinspo’/early stage anorexia pics. Lots of food pictures (a staple of the thinspo genre – skinny girls digging into greasy fast food is somewhat of a thinspo trope) as well as gratuitous mentions of food:

        As well as lots of poses emphasising how thin she is:

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Sarah has a kidney condition and has had her kidneys replaced. She says that she has been on doctor-ordered bed rest and lost muscle mass as a result.

        While I understand your concern in regards to her possibly having a ED, you also have to consider that she has serious medial issues that have NOTHING to do with ED.

      • Emily says:

        Sure, and I have no doubt that her kidney related issues contributed/caused or in some way exacerbated her weight loss. Of course, she may not have an eating disorder. Time will tell, and as I said, I hope she makes a full recovery, period.

        I do get an odd vibe from many of the comments insisting her drastic weight loss is solely a symptom of her kidney related health issues. “We should take her at her word” conveys a sense that this is about her fessing up and being honest. That having a kidney disease is a valid excuse but not having a serious mental and psychological disorder like anorexia. No matter what she’s suffering from, she deserves understanding and sympathy. Being anorexic is nothing to feel guilty about and I’m saddened to see it treated like some form of leprosy here.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Part of the understanding and sympathy I am extending to her, is to not diagnose her through my computer. She shouldn’t have to give her medical details in order for strangers to respect her health and privacy. Anorexia isn’t leprosy, and it isn’t shameful. But it is a very serious, life threatening condition that I am not going to play with.

  14. BP says:

    Good for her for addressing this despite the rude comments being thrown her way. I believe she is dealing with kidney disease.
    I wish her well on her journey back to health.

  15. Magnoliarose says:

    I take her at her word.
    I have never liked accusing someone of anorexia. If they do have it then they need compassion because that person is suffering. They don’t feel good about themselves and are spiraling toward death. Not a joke. It isn’t easy to come back from either. Glib remarks are cruel and if she did have it then why on earth would she share it? It goes both ways too. It is equally nasty to make assumptions about someone who is carrying some extra weight.
    Sometimes people do have health problems that are scary and confusing. They don’t like the way they look but try to have the courage to participate in life and not hide away in shame. Sometimes they don’t have physical health problems but still feel terrible about their weight and have to work up the nerve to ignore the snide comments and unsolicited advice.

    I hope she is able to get well and have the life she wants. Maybe it will inspire people reading her words to pause before saying something hurtful.

  16. serena says:

    Those comments are just awful and surely not helping anyone. To hear she’s not well, knowing her public health history I’m feel sorry for her.

  17. Lisa says:

    Whatever is causing her weight loss, it’s not really anyone’s business. This is a difficult thing to address and being a private person compounds the issue because it’ll be seen as a cagey excuse. No matter what she says, people are going to call bullshit and misinterpret her words and pull instagram shots to ‘prove’ that she’s flaunting her thinness. It sucks.

  18. Lofi says:

    People need to mind their business when it comes to others bodies and I applaud her for addressing this. I hope she gets better soon because dealing with any illness is awful. Also I hope all of these compassionate comments about not judging people’s bodies stick around when there is a post about a larger person. Just like no one should judge Sarah from appearances you shouldn’t go on a long diatribe about health every time someone overweight is the topic.

  19. Cherryl says:

    You don’t lose weight from not working out. If she’s sick, just say your health made you lose weight. Don’t talk bs about not working out. If she’s not really working out or moving her body at all, she doesn’t need much protein, she needs carbs. This all sounds a little strange to me.