If you’ve ever envied the bodies of slender singers and actresses and thought they had the perfect lives to accompany their perfect figures, think again. Yet another star has opened up her private struggle with an eating disorder. On a recent episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” former Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger revealed her eight-year struggle with bulimia.
The Hawaiian-born star and former X Factor judge revealed that her eating disorder began in 2003 when she felt pressure to slim down for the revealing outfits she and other members of the group had to wear for performances.
“I got my outfit, and my outfit was a bra and some underwear and some garters,” Scherzinger said. “I was sweating in the back room and I was like I can’t go out there. I can’t do this.”
Scherzinger, 34, recalled it was all new to her and she was incredibly scared. In addition, she was not comfortable with her body.
Other members of the Pussycat Dolls took note of her struggles early on and noticed that she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. “She didn’t see a perfect figure when she looked in the mirror,” recalled one of the group members. “She said she saw thick thighs and chubby knees and she wanted blonde hair and different lips and a different nose.”
This initial breakdown triggered the start of a full on eating disorder that Scherzinger kept private for nearly a decade. “I guess it was like my addiction, right? I never did drugs, but kinda doing things to myself was my addiction. It’s like when I got offstage, I was on this high, and I’d come back to my room and I’d be alone, so I would just do things,” she said. “My bulimia was my addiction. Hurting myself was my addiction.”
“It’s tough to talk about it. It’s embarrassing,” she said. “I never spoke about it. Like I said, I never want to play a victim, and I never wanted my family to hear about things from me because I think it would break their heart, you know?”
Though Scherzinger was the lead singer in the number one female group in the world, she was simultaneously hitting rock bottom in her personal life. “I hated myself,” she said. “The music is what saved me. It’s the only thing I can rely on.”
Her identity struggles began early on when she was 7 years old and her mother told her she’d been adopted. “I think that’s what started at the young age with some of those insecurities. Having someone leave you as a young child, that does have an effect,” she said, adding that she started hiding her emotions because she felt abandoned by her real father.
Thankfully, music came into her life around the same time when she got her first boom box with a Whitney Houston tape in it. She began singing and performing almost immediately thereafter. Though she appeared confident and comfortable on stage, in real life she she was still very shy and afraid. She also endured teasing and bullying growing up, and it wasn’t until she became a back-up singer for an indie rock group that she really came into her own.
However, it wasn’t long after leaving the group that she secured her position in the Pussycat Dolls, which is when her struggle with her eating disorder began. It’s not uncommon for people struggling with bulimia to get blisters on their hands and scars on their fingers from the acid that comes up from the stomach. These and other outward signs led to the other members of the Pussycat Dolls to quickly find out about her greatest struggle.
“There were times when her collar bones were sticking out. “It’s the kind of disease that takes a toll on you. It takes a toll on your hair and your teeth and your skin,” a group member recalled. “It was like watching someone you love deteriorate before your eyes.”
Now in recovery, Scherzinger is currently in the studio recording her sophomore solo album, which is scheduled for release in 2013. The star admits it’s a raw and very emotional album that really expresses who she is and tells her true story. “Music is my therapy,” she said. “It’s my prescription, I call it.”
photo: Danny Moloshok