Everything Brittany Snow Has Said About Her Experience With Anorexia

Beautiful, (sometimes) blonde, and petite, Brittany Snow may appear to be just an average Hollywood star on the outside, but she's proven herself to be anything but. In her acting roles, the 36-year-old has demonstrated her diverse range in recent projects like the thriller "X," comedy film "Hooking Up," and TV drama "Almost Family" (via IMDb). She's also flexed her singing skills in all three installments of the comedy musical "Pitch Perfect."

Go deeper into Snow's acting career and you'll find that she was once a young starlet starring in hit movies like "Hairspray" and "John Tucker Must Die." She rose to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s, an era where celeb culture was hyper-fixated on thinness. As Slate noted, many of the top A-listers at the time had waifish frames, and the media frequently reported on (and speculated about) the weights and eating habits of the rich and famous. Though she didn't grab the same attention that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen or Nicole Richie did for their ultra skinniness, Snow, too, was struggling with the overwhelming pressure to have the "perfect" body.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Brittany Snow began dieting as a child actor

Brittany Snow's first major acting role was as Susan Lemay on the soap series "Guiding Light" when she was just a preteen (per IMDb). It was around this time that the budding star began following fad diets to try to prove herself to the older actors she looked up to — which soon spiraled into an eating disorder. She told People in 2007, "When I started losing weight, I got compliments from people I looked up to on the show. Soon, I was addicted to getting results."

Snow began restricting how much she ate, as well as limiting herself to only eating "healthy" foods. People around her knew that she was trying to lose weight, but they were unaware of just how dangerous her eating habits had become: "A misperception about anorexia is that you don't eat. Not true. Maybe you eat just 500 calories a day. It would be easy for me to say, 'Why didn't my parents notice?' But I didn't want them to. I made sure to eat half a sandwich around my parents," the actress explained to People.

However, "Guiding Light" viewers soon started to show concern for her frail frame, which prompted an intervention from the show's producers. Still, the young actress continued aiming for lower and lower weight goals.

Brittany Snow's physical and mental health suffered throughout her eating disorder

While a teenage Brittany Snow was focused on losing weight, her physical and mental health were taking a nosedive. She opened up to People about how she lost her period from losing so much weight, a sign of poor health according to Healthline. She also experienced anxiety and depression and began engaging in other forms of self-harm in addition to her anorexia.

In a 2017 interview with Shape, Snow looked back on her struggles with body and self-image, saying, "When I was growing up, I had a big issue with working out and dieting. I wanted to be like the girls I saw in fitness magazines so badly. I thought that was the ideal of happiness . . . I wish someone had told me back then that the way a woman looks in a photo has nothing to do with who she is." Though Snow was working out for hours a day and eating far below the recommended number of calories a day, leading to extreme weight loss, she was still dissatisfied with her weight. And that's when she knew she needed to make a change.

Therapy – and Sophia Bush – helped her overcome anorexia

At 16, Brittany Snow read a magazine article about a model who recovered from disordered eating and self-harm, which inspired her to do the same. As she told People, "That article saved my life." Snow first opened up to her dad about her struggles, who encouraged her to eventually get help from a therapist. She was then diagnosed with anorexia, exercise bulimia, depression, and body dysmorphia. Therapy was a crucial step, though it wasn't an easy one. "Being anorexic doesn't necessarily mean you're on the brink of death. It can mean that you were once at a dangerous weight and that mentality is still with you. [The therapists] try to teach you how to eat normally. Gaining weight was scary. But I felt better," she recalled.

Treatment, along with a two-year break from acting, helped the young star win her battle against her eating disorder (via The Daily Pennsylvanian). She also credited fellow actress Sophia Bush for helping her follow healthy workout and eating habits. "We would work out together and then [my "John Tucker Must Die" co-stars Sophia Bush and Arielle Kebbel] would pull me off the treadmill, and Sophia would be like, 'Maybe you should eat this!'" she told People.

Brittany Snow continues to work on her body image and mental health

Brittany Snow battled anorexia for years before she opened up about her experience and got professional help. Today, she's reclaimed her physical and mental health, though her relationship with her body continues to be a work in progress. When discussing her character in the movie "X," a stripper named Bobby-Lynne, earlier this year with S Magazine, Snow explained, "I'm definitely not as confident with my body and with myself as she is . . . [S]omething that I took away from the experience [of playing her] is that being sex-positive, liking your body, and having agency over your body and what you look like isn't necessarily a bad thing."

The star also got candid in a video for the Child Mind Institute, where she admitted that she still struggles with anxiety and depression. However, she's learned to embrace these struggles, saying, "I feel everything all the time, and although that's overwhelming, it's also super strong."