Words hurt. Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado revealed during a Wednesday, September 28, appearance on the Today show that Donald Trump’s insults about her weight contributed to her eating disorder. See what she had to say in the clip above.
Machado, 39 — who won the Miss Universe crown in 1996 — told Today’s Natalie Morales that the Republican presidential nominee, 70, used to call her a slew of painful names including “Miss Piggy," "Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Eating Machine.”
“All the time,” the beauty queen — who was only a teen during her reign — explained. “That was really normal for him, in that moment.”
Trump bought the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 1996 and brokered a deal with NBC in 2002 that gave the network half-ownership over the organization. In June 2015, NBC removed the real estate tycoon from the TV station’s roster of talent after he made controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.
The ex-Celebrity Apprentice host’s cruel comments about her body took a toll on Machado’s confidence and caused her to develop an unhealthy relationship with food for years to come.
“You know, with 18 years old, when you are growing up, that was horrible for me,” the former Miss Venezuela — who suffered from bulimia and anorexia — told Morales. “My self-esteem [was] on the floor.”
As viewers saw during the Monday, September 26, presidential debate, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton brought up Machado’s story when making a statement about Trump’s misogynistic attitude toward women.
“Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a U.S. citizen,” the former first lady, 68, proudly told her rival during the political showdown, “and you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”
Machado (who is not being compensated by the Clinton campaign) appears in a new ad, which also details her embarrassing interactions with the real estate tycoon — who once forced her to work out in front of reporters and camera crews.
Trump — who told Howard Stern in the ‘90s that Machado gained 55 pounds after winning Miss Universe — retaliated against Clinton and the Latina beauty (who insists she only gained 18 pounds) by fat-shaming her during a September 27 interview on Fox & Friends.
“She was the worst [Miss Universe] we ever had," he scoffed. "The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible. She was a Miss Universe contestant, and ultimately a winner, who they had a tremendously difficult time with as Miss Universe."
He added, "She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude. We had a real problem with her."
During her chat on Today, Machado noted that Trump has not changed since she first met him two decades ago. “That same person I knew, I see in each one of his speeches,” she stated somberly. “And I see it getting worse and I see it even more harmful and even more damaging.”
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!