Jane Fonda says she “led a secret life” while battling an eating disorder throughout her career.
The iconic actress appeared on Wednesday’s episode of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast and got candid about how her bulimia became “a terrible addiction.”
“In my 20s I was starting to be a movie actor. I suffered from bulimia very, very bad. I led a secret life,” the 85-year-old told host Alex Cooper.
“I was very, very unhappy. I assumed I wouldn’t live past 30… I didn’t go out. I didn’t hardly date ’cause I was unhappy and I had this eating disorder. And then I was also making movies that I didn’t very much like.”
Although the unhealthy habits seemed “so innocent” at first, Fonda says her eating disorder quickly started to “take over” every aspect of her life.
“It harms the way you look. You end up looking tired. It becomes impossible to have an authentic relationship when you’re doing this secretly. Your day becomes organized around getting food and then eating it, which requires that you’re by yourself and that no one knows what you’re doing.”
The “80 for Brady” star continued, “It’s a very lonely thing. And you’re addicted. If you put any food in you, you want to get rid of it.”
The pressures from Hollywood — and her family — fueled the Emmy winner’s disorder for years.
Yet as Fonda entered her 40s, she started to feel “worse and worse” and thought, “If I keep on like this, I’m going to die.”
At that point, with a husband, kids and a flourishing career, Fonda realized how “important” her life was and decided to quit “cold turkey.”
“I didn’t realize there were groups you could join. I didn’t know anything about that. Nobody talked about it! I didn’t even know there was a word for it,” the “Barbarella” star explained.
“It was really hard. But the fact is, the more distance you can put between you and the last binge, then the better it is. It becomes easier and easier.”
Although the actress wasn’t able to turn to anyone for help, she eventually got into mediation while in recovery.
“A lot of the cause of it was anxiety-driven, and Prozac helped me deal with anxiety,” she explained. “And then, gradually, I just stopped doing it.”
If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website or call their hotline at (800)-931-2237 to get help.