Portia James DeGeneres, known professionally by her colleagues as Portia de Rossi, is an acclaimed actor and model, best known for her role as the witty calculated lawyer “Nellie Porter” on the hit television series Ally McBeal, along with other successful programs like Arrested Development, and the now cancelled juggernaut Nip/Tuck.
In a recent docuseries titled It Got Better, de Rossi explores the troubling side to her early modeling career, manifesting plaguing disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, which she says she began to struggle with at only 12 years old.
“I felt tremendous responsibility when I was 12 years old and I was put on a catwalk. My modeling agents had told me to go on a diet. So I didn’t eat for 10 days before then.”
In the second season of her docuseries, which had some episodes featured on Entertainment Tonight (E.T.), she further mentions:
“Everything became about what I looked like. I’m a little kid and posing, trying to be sexy and strutting around while all the other models are making fun of my bushy eyebrows. [So] when I got in the car after the event, I’d just open a bag of my favorite candy, and just put my whole head in it, and think ‘sh_t, what have I done? I just undid two weeks worth of dieting’ so then I’d vomit.”
This is not the first time de Rossi has made her eating disorders public and sought help for them. In 2010, she composed a memoir intuitively titled Unbearable Lightness, exposing her conflicting struggles with her weight and sexuality.
When consulted about her memoirs, she responded with:
“I abused my body. I had bulimia, I would use a fen-phen (A drug used as a dietary supplement). I wanted to talk about all that.”
In 2000, de Rossi courageously sought treatment for her persisting eating disorders, after dropping to a staggering 82 lbs. Then, in 2014, she checked into a rehab facility located in Malibu for one month, in efforts to alleviate her drug and alcohol abuse.
The model/actress married to the daytime television superstar Ellen Degeneres finished off the docuseries featured on E.T. with, “I erase the feelings with food, erase the food with vomiting, but you’re still left with the shame.”
Photo: Film magic