LeAnn Rimes versus Christina Hendricks: Body Wars

Rimes and Hendricks in swimsuits reveal two sides of body image debate.

June 1, 2011— -- Two stars flashing some skin in their swimsuits this past weekend have reignited the body image debate.

"Mad Men" actress Christina Hendricks was applauded for showing ample curves and cleavage in a black one-piece, while country crooner LeAnn Rimes Cibrian was forced to defend her thin frame in a stringy two-piece, insisting that her flat stomach showed off her "abs not bones."

On her website Hollywood Life, Bonnie Fuller asked: "Who's hotter in a swimsuit? Christina Hendricks spillout curves or LeAnn Rimes' ultra lean limbs?"

As of Tuesday afternoon, readers had chosen Hendricks by an overwhelming 82 percent.

Rimes has been on the defensive about her weight in recent months. While honeymooning in Mexico with her new husband, actor Eddie Cibrian, the 28-year-old singer posted a picture of herself in a blue-and-white string bikini on Twitter.

She drew an immediate response from fan Amy Paterson of Glasgow, Scotland, who wrote: "Whoa, you're scary skinny! Sorry don't mean to offend but that's a lot of bones showing through skin. ... "

Paterson later tempered her remark with, "Maybe it's just the pic. It just looks to me like your hip bones were protruding. Again, didn't mean to offend, I am a big fan x."

But the remark drew Rimes' ire. "Those are called abs, not bones love," she tweeted.

She went on to add, "Thx but this is my body and I can promise you I'm a healthy girl. I'm just lean. Thx for your concern but no need to be."

Worries about Rimes' weight were first raised in March, along with speculation that Rimes was feeling the strain of her impending wedding. Rimes and Cibrian were married in April after famously splitting from their spouses.

Rimes claimed photographs of her had been doctored to show a thinner profile.

"Maybe it's time for a nude pic so peeps can see how I look nowhere near what these stupid pics are trying to make me look like, LOL #joke," she wrote on Twitter.

"I don't care about the dumb articles. I know how healthy I am. Maybe those people should start taking care of themselves ... inside and out," she said.

The singer began tweeting details about meals she ate.

Then, in April, more questions were raised when Rimes performed the national anthem at the NCAA basketball championship while wearing a white Dolce & Gabbana dress that revealed her stick-thin arms and legs.

Fed up with the fuss, Rimes tweeted, "Dear lord! I do not work out too much nor do I starve myself. I'm so over this and moving on."

Unfortunately, her fans aren't ready to change the subject. And now Rimes is being compared to Christina Hendricks, the curvy star of "Mad Men."

Writer Liz Jones of the U.K.'s Daily Mail applauded Hendricks for "bringing curves back from extinction."

The 36-year-old actress with the Boticelli-like curves, milky white skin and red hair was photographed last weekend poolside at a resort in Lake Como, Italy.

Hendricks' voluptous figure has been the subject of intense debate since she burst on the scene. There's even been speculation about whether her breasts are real.

"It's so bizarre that people are constantly asking if my breasts are real or fake," she told the Mail's You Magazine. "They're so obviously real that anyone who's ever seen or touched a breast would know."

She's had her detractors. Last year, The New York Times infamously quoted a stylist who said, "You don't put a big girl in a big dress," referring to Hendricks' ensemble at the 2010 Golden Globes, and initially ran the critique alongside a disorted image of her.

The actress told Health magazine last year that she's had to fight negativity about her weight throughout her career.

"All those times I had agents who were like, 'You have to lose some weight,' and all of a sudden, people are celebrating it," she said. "It's like: 'Oh, thank you! Thank you for letting me be me.'"

Named Esquire's sexiest woman in the world in 2010, Hendricks finally gets what all the fuss over her figure is about and accepts that she has become a role model around the world.

She told the Mail: "If there's anything to be learned from me it's that I'm learning to celebrate what I was born with, even though it's sometimes been inconvenient."