When the new issue of Us Weekly hits newsstands this week, it will feature a cover story about [url id="http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/the_hills/series.jhtml"]"Hills"[/url] star Stephanie Pratt's struggle with bulimia. But now Pratt says that she was battling an eating disorder long before she joined the MTV show's cast.
" 'The Hills' did not make me bulimic," she told MTV News Wednesday night. "It was my own issues with self-esteem, and if anything, my life on 'The Hills' has only helped me get healthy, 'cause I know how lucky I am to have this job and to have the chance to be a role model."
Stephanie said she wanted to shed light on eating disorders to help parents recognize whether their children have the same problem.
"My mom and dad were very hands-on parents," Pratt said. "They were never on vacations or anything like that, and I did everything right under their noses — I did drugs, I threw up my food — in the same house as them. And for them to never see that, my mom was just like, 'What did I do wrong?'
"If she had known the signs of what to look for, I could have been helped a lot earlier," she continued. "I'm so thankful I got professional help and I'm healthy now, but I just really wanted to do this to help all of those moms to see those signs in their daughters. [Bulimia is] such an ugly, ugly word. I wish I could have danced around it and said I had eating issues, but this isn't an article for me to shine."
Pratt said she spent a lot of time ashamed of her body-image issues and never discussed them with her castmates, including her brother, Spencer. But now she's happy she can come clean about her former problems.
"I'm the latest castmember to come on the show, and I look up to all of them, and I'm definitely not going to be like, 'Oh, Lauren, you're so great, but I'm a disaster,' " she said. "And so I kept it a secret, and that's when it's bad. The more I can stress about being honest, [the better]. Again, you are as healthy as your secrets."
[This story was originally published on 6.18.09 at 12:16 p.m.]