More Celebrity Food Addicts

Kirstie Alley, 1994

Last time, Childhood Obesity News caught up with the continuing influence of the archetype of celebrity weight fluctuation, Oprah Winfrey. Erika Nicole Kendall, author of A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, remarked on an episode of Oprah’s show about a book called Women, Food, and God:

Women hiding food in their houses… eating in shame? ‘I just make a pie crust dough, and eat it out of my tupperware… my husband doesn’t even know I do it.’ For real? C’mon. That’s not indulgence. That’s an addiction. Trust me. I know. This is coming from someone who used to hide chips, donuts, those little 4-packs of Starbucks, a small bakery, half a convenient store and perhaps a 2 liter of soda pop to wash it down… all under her bed. You might even find a bottle of ranch dressing in my closet. I’m just sayin’. I know.

Country music singer Wynonna Judd has been confiding in Oprah in front of the cameras since fall of 2003, describing her dependency on food as “severe.” Like the ordinary citizens who were later featured on Oprah’s network TV show, Judd checked into the residential treatment center Shades of Hope. When the songstress was interviewed by Larry King, she described her problem:

It was consuming a lot of my life… I mean food to me is what alcohol is to the alcoholic and the struggles up and down. You know the business. One minute you’re number one. The next minute you’re number zero. And I had just been using food for every emotion I had. If I was joyful, we’d go out to eat… it became too much, so I did something about it.

The food addiction of actor Kirstie Alley has been extensively written about here, but there are a couple of quotations that didn’t fit into previous posts. This is what she told interviewer Kathy H. Cusimano:

I’ve had a 30-year-career. All along I’ve been told, when I weighed 135 pounds, that I was too fat. The industry is psychotic. And it’s men-driven psychosis. I don’t really think about it in terms of acting, because I never stopped acting. [But] I’m not saying I’ve never lost a job.

After one cycle of regaining weight, Alley told Oprah Winfrey about her emotional anguish:

I’ve hated myself. You beat yourself up.

Long-established film star Omar Sharif, when he was interviewed by Stuart Heritage, related the following bit of autobiography:

I was a fat little boy when I was 10 years old! My mother, who didn’t speak any English at all said: ‘I know, the only thing is to put him in an English boarding school. The food will be so horrible that he’ll lose his weight.’ That’s how I became an actor. There was also a theatre at the English school I went to. So I lost my weight, I became thin, I learned to become an actor and I learned English very well. All this was because my mother didn’t like looking at her fat son.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Women, Food, God… and Oprah?,”, 05/13/10
Source: “Interview With Wynonna Judd,”, 03/10/06
Source: “Kirstie Alley Wants to Get Skinny — Again,” Yahoo! Shine, 03/19/10
Source: “Kirstie Alley’s Weight Struggle,”, 04/30/09
Source: “Omar Sharif on Lawrence of Arabia,” The Guardian, 11/15/12
Image by Alan Light.

One Response

  1. Many people have found help with Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, a 12-step group that is free to all who wish to stop eating addictively. Some have been diagnosed as morbidly obese while others are undereaters. Some were severely bulimic, others have harmed themselves with compulsive exercise, or have had the quality of their life impaired by constant obsession with food or weight. We tend to be people who, in the long-term, have failed at every solution we tried, including therapy, support groups, diets, fasting, exercise, and in-patient treatment programs. If you would like more information about FA, please check out our website,, If there aren’t any meetings in your area, you can contact the office by emailing fa@foodaddicts org, where someone will help you.

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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