Dim the Spotlight on… Audrey Hepburn [#4]

THIS IS A NEW SERIES WHICH CONSISTS OF ME LOOKING BACK AT ARTISTS I LOVE AND HAVE INFLUENCED ME THAT ARE UNFORTUNATELY NO LONGER ALIVE.


If you don’t know who Audrey Hepburn is, then where were you all your life? She was dubbed the most beautiful woman year after year. And, well, look at her!

This is the person in question in the late 1950s. Now you recognise her? Perhaps you might know her from this photo then…

I have seen her most popular movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is where this photo is taken from, just last weekend and… wow. I can see why people loved her. Her energy, charisma and chemistry on camera with her costars was undeniable.

What some might not know, however, is that behind the cameras, she battled clinical depression and a speculated (therefore not diagnosed) eating disorder.

Let’s get on with it shall we?

Rough Upbringing

A teenage Hepburn bravely ran missions for the Dutch resistance and dramatically escaped from Nazi soldiers herding her off to a labor camp by hiding for a month in a rat-filled cellar, living on scraps.

Although she binged on Belgian chocolate as a youngster, her wartime near-starvation drove Audrey Hepburn to “resent” food: the beginnings, of an eating disorder that would affect the wafer-thin actress for the rest of her life.

“I decided to master food; I told myself I didn’t need it,” Hepburn said of her war years. “Of course, I took it to an extreme. I forced myself to eliminate the need for food.” For years after, she suffered survivor’s guilt, haunted by images of friends and neighbors being dragged off to die.

More on this later.

Love and Depression

While she went on to fame and an Oscar in such movies as “Roman Holiday” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” she was trailed by depression as a result of several miscarriages and her failed marriage to actor Mel Ferrer.

Also chronicled in the book Audrey Hepburn: An Intimate Portrait is her affair with a then-married William Holden, whom she dumped after finding out he had undergone a vasectomy and would never be able to provide her with children. Her second marriage to Italian psychiatrist, Dr. Andrea Mario Dotti, was short-lived, a victim of Dotti’s incessant philandering.

The ED that wasn’t?

One of the biggest sources for the rumor that Audrey Hepburn suffered from anorexia and possibly even depression is her youngest son, Luca Dotti’s, Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen (excellent book with personal insights, by the way). In this book, he states that for much of her life she was very underweight, weighing only 88lbs. He also said that she had very strange eating habits, that were part of her disorder.

Wolders, Audrey’s last partner before she died, totally dismisses the claim about Audrey being anorexic by saying that it is “absolute bullsh_t, she had a good metabolism.”

Even Audrey’s second ex-husband Dotti, a psychoanalyst who specializes in these types of eating disorders, agrees with Wolder by saying she always maintained a “healthy but disciplined diet, based on her youthful training as a ballet dancer.” – Source People Magazine 1994

Up until Luca Dotti’s book was released, most people thought her slender figure was due to her intense ballet training. Ballet dancers are usually slim and slender, and often have boyish figures. It was not unbelievable that this was a natural result of the training and exercise that Audrey Hepburn went through in order to become a dancer.

Audrey Hepburn Anorexia ?

As said above, as a child, Audrey was known for her love of chocolate. She was said to have loved Belgium chocolate so much that her mother had the kitchen staff hide her favorite treat. Audrey herself was even known to have said that chocolate was her one and only true love. It is hard to believe that a child who loved chocolate so much would grow up to be naturally thin. As several people, have pointed out, at the very least Audrey Hepburn had a strange relationship with food. While there is little concrete evidence that she was anorexic, she certainly had some known strange behaviors when it came to what and when she ate.

Reasons that prove Hepburn was NOT anorexic

  • Her closest family members, two sons, two ex-husbands, and last recent partner who spent time with Audrey the most claim that she was not anorexic
  • Her close friends and people who she hung out with on the sets of movies claimed that she always ate pretty good portions and had a good appetite, especially for spaghetti
  • She was a ballerina. In other words, she was an athlete. This is not just some hobby of hers, she trained to become a prima ballerina as her career
  • She was very energetic and didn’t complain about having chronic fatigue, which a lot of anorexic people complain about having

And that’s basically it!

Did Audrey Hepburn have an eating disorder? And why do you think so?

Let me know in the comments below 🙂 See you in the next one

XXX

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20-something years old. Blogger. Aspiring writer. Teacher's Assistant.

2 thoughts on “Dim the Spotlight on… Audrey Hepburn [#4]

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