Former Anorexia Sufferer Celia Imrie Brands Anorexics 'Self-Absorbed'


Actress Celia Imrie has said that sufferers of anorexia are ‘self-absorbed’.

The 'Calendar Girls’ and 'Bridget Jones’s Diary’ star, who was herself anorexic as a teenager, made the comments in an interview with the magazine Psychologies.

“If I met a younger person with anorexia, I would shake them,” she said.

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“I’d say it’s a waste of life, we’ve only got one and you’ve just got to get on with it. I think it’s part of the self-absorbed generation and it bothers me. Also, it’s utter hell for the people around you.

“I wish I could have those days back to give back to my mum, because I put her through a nightmare.”

Imrie, 63, battled the condition at 14, dropping to just four stone, with doctors believing she would die.

“Everyone expected me to die and as I’ve never done what is expected of me I decided to get better,” she added.

The remarks echoed those of broadcaster Baroness Bakewell, who recently courted similar controversy by blaming eating disorders on 'narcissism’.


She said that such complaints never arise where there is little food, such as countries suffering drought or refugee camps, but later apologised for the comments.

Channel 4 physician Dr Christian Jessen defended her on Twitter, however, saying that some sufferers do display traits of narcissism, adding: “[Joan Bakewell] was a victim of the usual Twitter Offended. She was actually right.”

Criticising Imrie’s comments, a spokesperson for eating disorder charity Beat said: “Dismissing anorexia or other eating disorders as arising from personal vanity and self-absorption is not only incorrect, it also adds to the stigma and misunderstanding already commonly experienced by those affected and their families.

“We understand that Miss Imrie’s comments are from her personal experience, however it is unfortunate that her words could be unhelpful for those currently struggling with the disorder.

“There is a growing consensus among professionals in the NHS and researchers worldwide that eating disorders are likely to be caused by a genetic predisposition, triggered by a traumatic event or experience, not a lifestyle choice or a phase which someone can 'snap out of’.”

Image credits: Reuters/PA