June 18, 2024

Vita Nectar

Health is the main investment in life

Christina Applegate, Jamie-Lynn Sigler on Past Eating Disorders

4 min read

Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are opening up about suffering from eating disorders that began in their teen years.

“I just deprived myself of food for years and years and years,” Applegate said on the newest episode of MeSsy, her podcast with Sigler. “It was f—–g torture.”

The Dead to Me actress, who said she’s “never discussed” her eating disorder in public, says her struggles with food and body image stretched back to childhood, when she recalled a neighbor boy calling her fat.

When she was 15 and just beginning her 10-year run on Married With Children, she says, her mom put her in Weight Watchers. “She was always competitive,” recalled Applegate, 52. “If I got down to 110 [pounds], she’d be like… ‘How’d you do it?’ And the reason was, I had an eating disorder. I would eat five almonds in a day. And if I had six, I would cry and I wouldn’t want to leave the house. And that stuck with me for years and years and years.”

As her character Kelly Bundy on Married with Children, Applegate was often in short skirts and revealing tops and “I wanted my bones to be sticking out, so I didn’t eat,” recalled Applegate, who said she was suffering from anorexia at the time.

Applegate and Sigler’s podcast, MeSsy.

Wishbone Production

Her condition alarmed the cast and crew of the show: “It was very scary to everyone on set because they were like, ‘Christina never eats.’ They talked to me about it.”

Later she says, she was so small that her size 0 clothing needed to be taken in to make it fit. “But to me, I was enormous,” she said.

Sigler, 42, says her own issues began as a teen when “all my friends were talking about food and calories,” she recalled. “I just started taking note.”

Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Christina Applegate, photographed for PEOPLE in March 2024.

John Russo

Her struggle intensified after she shot the pilot episode of The Sopranos in 1997 and saw herself on the screen. “I was the fullest I had been ever. I didn’t look like any other young woman on any other show that I’d seen,” she said. “There was a year between the pilot and the first episode and during that time, I had the eating disorder.”

Sigler says she was suffering from exercise bulimia, where she would compulsively exercise after eating. And she would chronicle everything she consumed. “Every notebook, if you had a notebook from my sophomore and junior year of high school has like little numbers on the corner of it, just calculating food and calories,” she said.

Christina Applegate with Married With Children castmates David Faustino, Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal in 1998.

Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty

When Sigler came back a year later to shoot the show’s first season, “they almost fired me because of how thin I was,” she says, adding that at one point, she was down to 80 pounds. “They were like, ‘whoa, no, no, no, no, no!” The show was so supportive and loving and they just wanted me healthy,”

Jamie-Lynn Sigler on The Sopranos in 2007.


Applegate, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021 and has since become close friends with Sigler, who also lives with the disease, says she was in 30s before she no longer felt controlled by her eating disorder.

But, she says, after the side effects of MS and the medication for the disease caused her to gain 45 pounds, “the demon in my head is coming back really loud and it’s scaring me,” she said. “I need to be aware of it so I don’t start falling into bad habits of hurting myself.”

That “demon” was there, taunting her, when she walked onto the Emmy stage in January, she says. After receiving a rapturous standing ovation, Applegate joked to the crowd of her appearance, “Body not by Ozempic.”

On the podcast, she said that quip was a defense mechanism. “I made jokes at the Emmys because…it was like I could see what they were thinking… and I was so humiliated. The demon is saying these things to me.”

Christina Applegate at the Emmy Awards, Jan. 15, 2024.

Kevin Winter/Getty 

Talking about their fears and struggles, “is a good thing, because nobody was talking about it with me,” said Sigler, who added that for her, “the eating stuff was control, but as soon as I started to just kind of be more confident in who I was… I was able to let a lot of that go.”

Applegate, who recalled getting liposuction on her legs when she was about 26 (“I had a teeny, teeny, tiny, teeny, bit of fat on my leg in the back. And our doctor actually performed this surgery on me.”) says she wants to make sure that her own daughter, Sadie, grows up with different messages.

“I don’t want my daughter to see me not eat,” she said. “I’ve been really clear about… trying not to put myself down… I have bad self-esteem issues and have my whole life. I don’t want that for my kid,”

Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, photographed for PEOPLE, March 2024.

John Russo

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please go to NationalEatingDisorders.org. If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.


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