Laura Prepon’s relationship with her mother is complicated.
While discussing her new book -- “You and I, as Mothers," out April 7 -- the “Orange Is the New Black” star opened up the ups and downs they’ve had, specifically addressing the eating disorder she grew up with.
“My mother taught me bulimia. It started when I was 15 and lasted until my late 20s,” the 40-year-old actress told People.
“I always thought of myself as this strong, confident woman but it became a compulsion that would completely debilitate me,” she added.
The “That ‘70s Show” star remembered being “a healthy athletic kid” as a teenager when she was told at an open casting at a modeling agency to drop 25 pounds. Losing weight then became a “shared project” between her and her mom.
“My mom started weighing me every morning and taking my measurements,” Prepon explained, recalling how “proud” her mom was when she hit 105 pounds.
Bulimia became “a shared secret” between them. Prepon’s mother had been bulimic in college and met her husband when she lost weight, creating a false equivalence that “being thin equaled success.”
“I think she was trying to help me in her own way,” Prepon reasoned.
Now that her mother is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, she has been forced to confront their troubled past so that they can enjoy what time they have left together.
As she has healed her body and found self-acceptance and a healthier way of life, Prepon has also become a mom in her own right. In fact, she shares two children -- daughter Ella, 3, and a son who was born last month -- with husband Ben Foster.
For more information on eating disorders, including warning signs and how to find support and help, visit the National Eating Disorders Association.