In Little Mix’s new autobiography, Our World, Thirlwall says she developed the eating disorder at age 13 after being bullied at school and dealing with family problems at home. With her grandfather’s death as the tipping point, she started to monitor her diet to a frighteningly unhealthy extent.
“My periods stopped, and things were getting out of control, but I don’t think I really cared about what was happening to me,” the 23-year-old wrote, according to NME. “I felt so depressed at the time that I just wanted to waste away and disappear.”
Thirlwall said anorexia made her “stubborn,” and she refused to acknowledge she had a problem until she wound up in the hospital.
“Anorexia is self-destructive, so when people are trying to tell you something, you get it into your head that they’re against you and you’re not going to listen,” she explained. “It took going to hospital to make me realise that it wasn’t a game. It was something really serious. The clinic were quite tough at first and spelled it out to me: ‘You’re destroying your body, and if you keep doing this you’re going to die.’”
Seeing a friend suffer from the same illness, Thirlwall said, “shocked me into making a change,” and she was able to get healthy again through therapy, regular hospital visits, and support from her family and friends.
Speaking out about such a personal struggle couldn’t have been easy, so props to Jade! Here’s hoping her story encourages any fans struggling with the same issues to seek help.
Little Mix’s Our World — released on the heels of their new single “Shout Out to My Ex” — is available now.