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‘Modern Family’ star Julie Bowen reveals teenage eating disorder: ‘I was starving’


“Modern Family” star Julie Bowen is revealing her teenage struggles with an eating disorder.

The 52-year-old actress stopped by “The Tamron Hall Show,” where she highlighted the similarities she sees in herself and her sons: Oliver, 15, and 13-year-old twins Gustav and John, whom she shares with ex-husband Scott Phillips.

She explained that one of her sons is “always trying to color inside the lines and get the A+” just like she did at that age — only with her body image.

“I think [as a teen] I interpreted being messy or making mistakes or having an ass or, like, a little fat coming out of the top of your jeans [as] a symbol that you couldn’t contain yourself,” Bowen reasoned on Thursday’s episode.

'I was starving!': Julie Bowen, 52, of Modern Family fame reveals she had an eating disorder when she was a teenager
Bowen said she sees similarities between her teenage self and one of her teenage sons.

“That you were too much, and that to be good meant staying inside the lines — literally and figuratively. Keeping it tight. Keeping everything tight. And that’s my attitude, was tight. And by the way, that is not fun. It’s not a fun way to live,” she added.

Looking back, the “Happy Gilmore” star thinks she was struggling with puberty and “not liking that feeling of changing.” She said she ended up in a facility to get help.

“We didn’t talk about anything, and it just sort of felt like… dirty,” she said about taking care of her body. “And I realized, when you’re really starving, you don’t have any feelings. It’s kind of amazing. The body goes, ‘We don’t have time for that.’ So I think it was a coping mechanism.”

Julie Bowen at the 2022 Baby2Baby Gala held at Pacific Design Center on November 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Bowen attends the 2022 Baby2Baby Gala at the Pacific Design Center on Nov. 12, 2022, in LA.
Variety via Getty Images

Bowen also recalled the “nasty” way her body was analyzed in the media just months after she gave birth to her twins in 2009.

“I was lucky enough to get a little bit of fame and recognition before everybody had a cell phone in their pocket and a camera all the time,” she laughed before sharing a terrifying example.

“I had my twins in 2009, and I was in Hawaii. We were shooting ‘Modern Family.’ It was less than a year later, and I still had, like, the baby gunk,” Bowen remembered.

“I was working. I was breastfeeding, and I jumped in the ocean with my husband at the time wearing a bikini — no one was around — and by the time we got up to the room, there had been paparazzi, like, in the rocks hidden away, and it was the nastiest. Like, ‘What is wrong with her? This is disgusting.’”

Julie Bowen attends the Second Annual "The 24 Hour Plays" New York Benefit After Party on September 9, 2002.
Bowen attends the Second Annual “The 24 Hour Plays” New York Benefit After Party on Sept. 9, 2002.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty
'I was starving!': Julie Bowen, 52, of Modern Family fame reveals she had an eating disorder when she was a teenager
Bowen as a young actress before appearing on “ER” and “Lost.”

As part of her press tour to promote JB SKRUB, her new skincare line geared toward teenage boys, Bowen revealed on “The View” this week that she “finally got her stomach fixed” when “Modern Family” ended in 2020, 11 years after giving birth to her twins.

They ripped it open, the twins just ripped it,” she said, pointing to her stomach. “And I said, as soon as ‘Modern Family’ is done … I’ll get it fixed. But it was 11 years!”

“You look snatched! You look good,” said co-host Sunny Hostin, who recently came clean about her own plastic surgeries in an attempt to destigmatize them.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, you can get help. Call the National Eating Disorder Association helpline at (800) 931-2237 or visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.


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