Yeardley Smith, who Lisa voiced on The Simpsons since 1989, has spoken candidly about her two-decade battle with an eating disorder.
Smith says her inner struggle with perfection caused her to develop bulimia.
“I had an eating disorder for 24 years…from age 14 to 39. I’m 57 now,” Smith said. PEOPLE†
“Eating disorders are incredibly isolating, and you practice your disorder in private. It’s very ritualistic. It’s very secret, it’s not social like drinking. Not to say one is worse than the other, just different.”
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Smith went on to say that her 40th birthday was her turning point, when she realized she couldn’t live like this any longer.
“So I pulled up my socks and said, ‘Okay, I really need help,’” she said. “I told myself I can do this forever and always alone. Obviously I can’t, so I need help.”
The voice actress entered an outpatient recovery program and attended group therapy eight hours a week.
Smith said at the time that she felt like she didn’t deserve anything good in her life.
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“The fear is rooted in a deep shame for who you are, how much you have not lived up to your expectations or those of other people. That your body is not the shape and size it should be that you see in the magazines, that I see it in my industry. It’s really a punishment.”
Smith said she has been able to embrace self-love and inner peace since her recovery.
“So now I feel like food is really good. I’m not afraid of food. There are a few trigger foods that I really stay away from.”
If you, or someone you know, need support regarding eating disorders, please call: Butterfly Foundation at 1800 33 4673. In an emergency, call 000.
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