An Examination of Bulimia Nervosa Amongst Australian Celebrities

Check This article was edited and approved for accuracy By Adam Szmerling on July 6, 2023

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can significantly impact an individual’s physical and psychological health. Characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours, this condition can lead to severe health complications and emotional distress including low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Over time these behaviours can become more compulsive and uncontrollable. It is crucial to understand that individuals grappling with this disorder are not alone, and seeking professional assistance is paramount.

Bulimia Nervosa in Australia

More than 100,000 Australians have bulimia nervosa.

70% are female and 30% are male.

Overall more than one million Australians are currently living with an eating disorder.

30,000 Australians are currently living with Anorexia Nervosa

470,000 Australians are currently living with Binge Eating Disorder

380,000 Australians are currently living with other forms of eating disorders

The highest prevalence rates of Eating Disorders in Australia occur in females aged 15 to 29 years

Physical Hunger vs Emotional Hunger

Source: and

Even amongst the echelons of successful Australian celebrities, there are those who have courageously disclosed their personal battles with eating disorders. Their stories serve to raise awareness and foster a more empathetic understanding of body image issues.

The following is an exploration of six Australian celebrities who have confronted bulimia nervosa and emerged as advocates for mental health awareness.

Portia De Rossi

Portia De Rossi, a renowned Australian actress recognised for her roles in television series such as ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘Arrested Development’, has publicly discussed her prolonged struggle with eating disorders. In an interview with ABC News, she described her experience as “excruciating”. De Rossi’s candid revelations underscore the importance of seeking help and breaking the stigma surrounding eating disorders. Her journey serves as a potent reminder of the importance of addressing mental health issues and the crucial role of support in recovery.

Magda Szubanski

Magda Szubanski, a distinguished Australian comedian, actor, and writer, has also been transparent about her battle with bulimia. Szubanski’s struggle with the disorder began during her adolescence and persisted for many years, resulting in significant health complications. Despite these challenges, she dedicated herself to overcoming the disorder and has since become a strong advocate for mental health awareness. Her journey is a testament to the possibility of recovery with the right support.

Sophie Monk

Sophie Monk, an Australian singer, actress, and model, revealed in an interview with The Daily Mail Online that she developed bulimia during her early attempts to break into the entertainment industry. After recognising the detrimental impact on her health, Monk sought help and successfully recovered from the disorder. She now advocates for body positivity and encourages others to embrace their natural bodies.

Emily Seebohm

Emily Seebohm, an accomplished Australian swimmer, has shared her experiences with bulimia, shedding light on the immense pressure faced by athletes to maintain a certain physique. Seebohm’s journey to recovery involved professional help and therapy, which allowed her to address the emotional and psychological issues underpinning her disordered eating. Her story emphasises the importance of self-acceptance and mental well-being in overcoming eating disorders.

Tziporah Malkah / Kate Fischer

Tziporah Malkah, formerly known as Kate Fischer, has openly discussed her struggles with bulimia. Her battle with the disorder began with overeating, which escalated following her parents’ separation. Despite the challenges, Malkah sought professional help and embarked on a journey towards recovery, focusing on developing a healthier relationship with food and her body.

Tammin Sursok

Tammin Sursok, an Australian actress, singer-songwriter, and writer, has also bravely disclosed her struggles with bulimia. Sursok sought professional help to address the emotional and psychological issues that contributed to her disorder, learning to develop healthier coping mechanisms and a more positive mindset. She now advocates for body positivity and mental health awareness.

Eating disorders are complex mental health issues that can have severe health implications and an increased risk of premature death due to medical complications if left untreated. Early intervention is associated with the best outcomes, and professional help is crucial to improving one’s relationship with food and overall quality of life.

What are some treatment options for Bulimia Nervosa?

The current research base suggests that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles, particularly CBTE, are a useful place to begin treating bulimia. CBT involves exploring the link between thoughts, emotions and behaviours to help individuals develop greater insight into how this process is related to their bulimic symptoms.

There is also evidence to suggest that psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective intervention. This approach aims to explore how unresolved difficulties from the past are playing out in the present is at least as effective as CBT in treating bulimia.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Bayside Psychotherapy is able to provide an initial assessment to discuss whether we can assist you with Bulimia treatment or treatment for other eating concerns you may be experiencing.

If you are requiring more immediate assistance with eating concerns please contact Eating Disorders Victoria 1300 550 236 or The Butterfly Foundation 03 9822 5771.

Immediate assistance for any mental health concerns can be obtained from Lifeline 13 11 14.


  1. Portia De Rossi reveals depths of eating disorders in book
  2. Magda Szubanski fights tears as she reveals emotional eating battle
  3. Sophie Monk reveals battle with eating disorder
  4. Emily Seebohm opens up about her eating disorder on I’m A Celebrity
  5. Kate Fischer reveals she has had an eating disorder since age eight
  6. Tammin Sursok opens up about her eating disorder battle
Adam Szmerling

Bayside Psychotherapy was founded by Adam Szmerling in Melbourne, offering counselling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples. Adam's experience with psychotherapy inspired him to help others improve their self-understanding, mental health and wellbeing.

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