Shocking claims from star’s tell-all book
In her latest book, You & I, as Mothers - billed as part-memoir, part-guidebook - actress Laura Prepon reveals that her mother taught her how to have an eating disorder.
"My mother taught me bulimia. It started when I was 15 and lasted until my late twenties," the former That 70s Show and Orange Is The New Black actress told People, ahead of the book's launch on April 7.
Prepon said she was "a healthy athletic kid". It was only after an open casting call at 15 where she was told to immediately lose 25 pounds (11kg), that the goal of weight loss became a "shared project" with her mother.
Prepon's mother diligently weighed her every morning. Eventually, Prepon dropped down to 105 lbs (47kg). That's when her mother confided: "You can have your cake and eat it too." The 40-year-old actress knew what her mother meant and it became a bonding experience, "a shared secret".
Prepon said that her mother, who grew up in the era of Twiggy and stick-thin ideals, believed that she was doing the best thing for her daughter and equated thinness with success.
Seven years ago, Prepon's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the actress says that seeing her mother lose her sense of self "put me in confrontation with our past and began the path to recovery".
Now that her mother is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, Prepon confesses any anger towards her mother has gone.
"I don't want to be angry with her, especially now, because I don't know how much time we have left. I want those moments when she is present to be good," Prepon said.
LAURA'S BABY HEARTBREAK
Prepon also opened up about terminating her second pregnancy in the new book. She said when she first started writing the book, she was happy to discover that she was pregnant with her second child.
However, at 12 weeks, Prepon was told that the baby had an elevated nuchal translucence - a sign of potential abnormalities such as Down syndrome, heart defects or spina bifida. The elevation was slight at the time, so the doctor wasn't too concerned.
Shortly after the star entered her second trimester, she went on a holiday to northern California with husband Ben Foster and their daughter, Ella. While there she received an email from their genetics counsellor asking her to call when convenient.
"I called immediately," she wrote. "All was clear … What a relief! And it was another baby girl! … We couldn't wait to tell our loved ones about the new addition to our family."
But, minutes later, the counsellor called again and asked that Prepon not tell family or loved ones, explaining that she wanted the actress to get through the remaining sixteen-week anatomy screening before making any announcements.
Prepon said the almost two weeks wait was "torture". When the day arrived, a scan conducted by her doctor immediately revealed something was wrong.
"I burst into tears," Prepon wrote. "I couldn't bear to hear what was about to come out of her mouth. Ben held me tightly." The doctor indicated the baby's lymphatic fluid was outside of her body.
The news continued to get worse: "The brain isn't forming correctly. The bones aren't growing as they should," the doctor told the distraught couple.
"Is there any chance she might be OK?" Prepon asked.
"Laura, the brain isn't growing," her doctor replied, "I'm sorry.
"She told us that further tests could be done, but it was unlikely the baby would survive to full term, and my body was at risk as well."
Armed with that sobering news, Prepon and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy.
Prepon blamed herself for the abnormalities, wondering if she had been at fault eating the wrong foods or working too many hours.
"I was so confused and angry at myself and my body," the actress said. "It was brutal."
She began to heal when she contacted a natural wellness coach who suggested mindfulness techniques.
"Not only did it help me cope with the loss of the pregnancy," she wrote, "it also helps with the daily stresses of life."
The story ends on a happy note. Prepon and Foster welcomed a healthy baby boy in February this year.
Originally published as Shocking claims from star's tell-all book