After hitting rock bottom while struggling with an eating disorder that warped her relationship with food and her body, Kesha is ready to open up about her experience. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the 30-year-old singer revealed harrowing details about her battle with anorexia and bulimia, and what made her finally choose to embrace recovery.
Even before she made it big on the pop charts, Kesha says she had a troubled relationship with food. “I really just thought I wasn’t supposed to eat food,” she said. “And then if I ever did, I felt very ashamed, and I would make myself throw up because I’d think, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I actually did that horrible thing. I’m so ashamed of myself because I don’t deserve to eat food.”
As her career progressed, Kesha’s eating disorder worsened. She recalls the people around her unknowingly enabling her by complimenting her shrinking figure. “I was slowly, slowly starving myself,” she said. “The worse I got and the sicker I got, the better a lot of people around me were saying that I looked. They would just be like, ‘Oh my gosh, keep doing whatever you’re doing! You look so beautiful, so stunning.'”
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My mom used to follow me around singing the song "the cover of the rolling stone" and I have covers all over my childhood walls STILL. This is heart-achingly so special. Thank you to everyone who made this happen. @rollingstone @peggysirota @samanthaburkhartstylist @vittoriomasecchia
Kesha says she reached a breaking point when she was at a dinner party and experienced extreme anxiety that someone was going to notice her disordered behaviors. “I just had all this mounting anxiety. And then finally I was like, ‘Fuck. This. Shit. Fuck this shit. I’m hungry!'” she said. “I remember just shaking because I was so fed up, so anxious, and I was just mad that I had let myself get to that point.”
After her breakthrough, Kesha called her mom, who flew with her to an inpatient treatment facility specializing in eating disorders. But the path to recovery wasn’t easy. “I didn’t know how to even eat. At that point, I’d forgotten how to do it,” Kesha said. “I just remember crying into a carbohydrate, being like, ‘I can’t eat it. It’s going to make me fat, and if I’m fat, I can’t be a singer because pop stars can’t eat food—they can’t be fat.'”
And though Kesha didn’t go into much detail about her ongoing recovery (she told Rolling Stone to “see [her new] album Rainbow“), she says she’s in a better place than she was a few years ago. She recalls a time after the Grammys when a friend reminded her just how much she’s overcome. “It made me look at the whole thing totally differently,” Kesha said. “Oh, wait. I did just take my life into my own hands and choose life over a slow, painful, shameful self-imposed death. And I need to stop just being so fucking mean to myself.”