Portia De Rossi Opens Up About Eating Disorder On 'Oprah'

Actress says it was 'cathartic' for her to write 'Unbearable Lightness' memoir.

Hollywood can take a turn for the dangerous, and Portia de Rossi knows the downside all too well. On Monday (November 1), the 37-year-old actress appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to promote her new memoir, "Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain," which chronicles, among other topics, her struggle with an eating disorder.

Reading a portion of the book, de Rossi gave viewers a glimpse into her tale by recalling her early memories of when she began to binge and purge.

"It was very cathartic for me to write," she said of the memoir. "It was very difficult for me to write. There were a lot of tears shed on that keyboard."

The Australia native opened up about how desperate she was to be thin, admitting, "I remember starting that diet, thinking ... 'I'd rather die than fail another diet.' "

The actress also detailed some of her lowest lows, including a 300-calorie-per-day diet that led her to weigh a staggering 82 pounds. "It wasn't that I was proud of it, but it was certainly a recognition for my self-control. I definitely had some pretty amazing will power to get down to 82 pounds. And that's what I was holding on to. I didn't think about anything else."

De Rossi told the host that she got a wake-up call from her brother after eating Christmas dinner with her family one year. "He broke down. I'd never really seen him cry before, and he just said to me, 'You're going to die,' " she recalled. "It was the first time that I ... it just woke me up. It was the thing that led to me thinking about getting better."

The actress said that, shortly after her brother's plea, she collapsed on the set of a movie and was later told by doctors that many of her organs were close to failing. In a pre-taped video segment, Ellen DeGeneres spoke about her wife's personal struggle.

"I look at her and just think, 'How did you not know how amazing you were?' It's heartbreaking. I didn't know that person. I met her after she had gone through that. I knew she had suffered with eating disorders, but nobody really sees the ugly, deep, dark places that she takes you in that book," she said.

Fortunately, the actress is now past her dark days with DeGeneres by her side. The actress took Oprah viewers inside her personal ranch, where she revealed that her focus on horses and nature brought her new insight and put less emphasis on her appearance.

What did you think of Portia's revelations on "Oprah"? Let us know in the comments.