Portia de Rossi Gets Emotional Recalling Early Struggle With Bulimia at 12 Years Old

Portia de Rossi
In an episode of It Got Better, Portia de Rossi tears up while recalling one of her early experiences with bulimia as a 12-year-old model Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Portia de Rossi is living proof that it gets better. After years of struggling with eating disorders and body image issues, the Scandal actress is now happy, healthy, and successful — making her the perfect subject for the online docuseries It Got Better.

Entertainment Tonight got an exclusive clip from de Rossi's May 13 episode, in which she opens up about her long history with bulimia and anorexia, starting with when she was a child model.

"I felt tremendous responsibility when I was 12 years old and I was put on a catwalk," the Arrested Development star, now 42, says in the video. "My modeling agents had told me to go on a diet. So I didn't eat for 10 days before then."

Her insecurities only grew from there. "I get up on this catwalk, and I'm a little kid, and I'm posing and trying to be sexy and strutting around," she recalls, "and all the other models are making fun of my bushy eyebrows."

Afterward, she says, she sought comfort in food. "I got in the car after that event, and just opened up a bag of my favorite candy and put my whole head in it," she says. "And I think, 'S–t, what have I done? I just undid two weeks worth of dieting.' I mean, I'm 12 years old. So then I vomit. Erase the feelings with food, erase the food by vomiting…but you're still left with the shame."

Tearing up a little, she adds, "It makes me emotional just thinking about that day. Ugh. It's just horrible."

Watch de Rossi's episode of It Got Better on Wednesday.

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