Laura Prepon says her mother "taught" her how to be bulimic
The 'Orange is the New Black' star suffered from the eating disorder - in which a person self-induces vomiting, purging, or fasting in order to lose weight - for over a decade, and has now claimed she was encouraged to obsess over her weight by her mother Marjorie
28 March 2020
In an interview with People magazine - which also included an excerpt from her new guide for mothers titled 'You & I, as Mothers' - she said: "In order to have a real conversation about motherhood, we need to talk about what's really going on, the stresses, the anxieties, how we were mothered. We need to share the truth.
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"My mother taught me bulimia. It started when I was 15 and lasted until my late twenties. I always thought of myself as this strong, confident woman, but it became a compulsion that would completely debilitate me."
Laura says she was a "healthy, athletic kid" at 15, but after attending an open casting at a modelling agency, she was told to lose 25 lbs.
She told her mother she wanted to give the weight loss a try, and it ultimately became their "shared project".
The 40-year-old actress explained: "My mom started weighing me every morning and taking my measurements. That's when she told me, 'You can have your cake and eat it too.' I knew exactly what she was talking about.
"It was a bonding thing we would do together. A shared secret."
Laura believes her mother thought losing weight would help her daughter, because she had always equated being thin with "success".
She said: "She was bulimic in college, and after she lost weight, she met my father. So to her, being thin equaled success. I think she was trying to help me in her own way."
Laura's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago, and the actress says the health scare has made her re-evaluate their strained relationship, as she wants their time together to be "good".
She added: "Seeing her lose her sense of self was shattering. It put me in confrontation with our past and began the path to recovery.
"I don't want to be angry with her, especially now, because I don't know how much time we have left. I want those moments when she is present to be good."
The 'Girl on the Train' actress has since beaten her eating disorder and now practices good health and nutrition, as she says she wanted to "heal" for the sake of her family.
Laura - who has three-year-old daughter Ella, and a one-month-old son with her husband Ben Foster - said: "Healing meant learning about my own body, especially when I wanted to have children."