In the past couple of years, Dove Cameron has become a Disney Channel role model starring in the show Liv and Maddie and the network's original movie, Descendants. However, she wasn't always as confident as she is today. The 22-year-old opened up for the first time ever about her battle with anorexia and what helped her overcome it.
"I've never said this before, but I had such a bad case of anorexia. I was so badly down that hole. I was not eating for days sometimes," she shared with StyleCaster. "But it was because I thought I needed to be absolutely tiny to be loved. I genuinely thought I needed to be as skinny as I possibly could to be loved and appreciated and good enough."
And she wasn't the only one going through this, either. Dove explained that many of her friends in the industry struggled with the same disorder, but never wanted to talk about it. She said, "I started to watch some people that I knew personally go so far down the not-eating hole of trying to be so skinny. Because that's such a thing in Hollywood. We never want to say it, but it's such a big thing. Girls try to be as thin as possible. Not all of them, but a lot of them."
It was only when Dove heard these other stars tell their young fans that all they needed to do was "watch what they eat and run" to get the same kind of thin frame is when she really got upset. "That's a blatant lie. That’s not okay," she explained. "That's not a role model. I realized that if I was going to be a role model then I needed to live like the girls that I needed when I was young."
And while it hasn't been easy, Dove said she has "worked really hard" to get to the place she's at today — mentally and physically — so that she can be a real, healthy role model for the teens who look up to her. She said, "If someone wants to go on my Instagram and tell me that I am not as thin as I used to be, or I have a zit here, I don't care about what that angry person has to say. What's important is the freedom and the quality of my life."
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association by calling 1-800-931-2237.