Laura Prepon Reveals How She Overcame Bulimia
photo: Splash News

Content note: This article contains discussions of eating disorders.

Actress Laura Prepon made us laugh, cry, and use Sharpie markers as eyeliner in Orange Is The New Black. And while her character, Alex Vause, was a tough cookie behind bars, Prepon is revealing a tender side to her life story: She survived bulimia so she could be a good example for her children.

1

She opens up in a new interview.

Prepon shares her story in a new interview with People. She describes how she developed bulimia as a teenager — and how it was spurred on by her mother. "My mother taught me bulimia. It started when I was 15 and lasted until my late twenties," she said.

2

Bulimic behavior was shared with her mother.

A modeling agency told Prepon that she needed to lose weight — and weight loss became a "shared project" with her mother. "My mom started weighing me every morning and taking my measurements," said Prepon. Her mother praised her when her weight dropped to 105 lbs.

3

Now she understands where her mom's disordered eating comes from.

Like so many women in previous generations, Prepon's mom believed being thin was necessary to achieve beauty and success. "She was bulimic in college. And after she lost weight, she met my father. So to her, being thin equaled success." It's a story so common, but no less painful.

4

She had to work on mending their relationship.

For Prepon, healing her relationship with her body was one part of the equation. But healing her relationship with her mother was a different story — and came through more health issues, when the learned that she'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. "It put me in confrontation with our past and began the path to recovery," said Prepon.

5

Now she's cherishing the time they have left.

Of course, honestly addressing toxicity with a parent can be incredibly healing, but Prepon has realized that she doesn't have the option. She's chosen to make peace with that fact. "I don’t want to be angry with her, especially now," said Prepon. "I don’t know how much time we have left. I want those moments when she is present to be good."

6

Today, Prepon has a much healthier relationship with food.

Prepon loves food. On her Instagram page, she shares videos of herself in the kitchen, preparing family-friendly meals that look so tasty. She even wrote a book called You & I, As Mothers. It's filled with her favorite recipes for working moms. "I want to have an open conversation and help others feel less alone," she said to People


Note: If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with eating disorders, you can always reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association helpline by calling 800-931-2237. They are available by phone or online chat.