Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Portia de Rossi

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1439177791

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this searing, unflinchingly honest New York Times bestseller, actress Portia de Rossi shares the truth of her long battle to overcome anorexia and bulimia while living in the public eye, and details the new happiness and health she has found in recent years—including her coming out and her marriage to Ellen DeGeneres.

Now in paperback, the New York Times bestselling memoir from Portia de Rossi explores the truth of her long battle to overcome anorexia and bulimia—“an unusually fresh and engrossing memoir of both Hollywood and modern womanhood” ( Los Angeles Times, 5 stars).

In this groundbreaking memoir, Portia de Rossi reveals the pain and illness that haunted her for decades, from the time she was a twelve-year-old girl working as a model in Australia, through her early rise to fame as a cast member of the hit television show Ally McBeal. All the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, putting her life in danger and concealing from herself and everyone around her the seriousness of her illness.

She describes the elaborate rituals around food that came to dominate hours of every day and explores the pivotal moments of her childhood that set her on the road to illness. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner, ever more in control of her body and the number of calories she consumed and spent.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love and marrying Ellen DeGeneres and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues. In this remarkable and landmark book, she has given the world a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

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By comparing myself to the mannequins, I could take an honest look at how I measured up to that ideal. But mostly I just liked to look at their thin, hard limbs. As I pulled out of the parking garage of my apartment, I checked the time. It was 9:02. It took a long time to drive to work from anywhere in Los Angeles, since Manhattan Beach was far from the city. I didn’t get to finish my workout, as Bean took an inordinately long time to go to the bathroom on the lawn of the garden terrace on the

wanted anything!” “Thanks, Gran!” I yelled back at her. I grabbed a knitted shrug and headed out to the supermarket to find my mother. The sleeves covered up my skinny arms, and with them the evidence that achieving a nice all-over body was an effort. My arms were the only giveaway that my weight should have been something other than it was. If you just saw my waist and my legs, you’d have thought I was in terrific shape. You’d have thought that I was just naturally thin. Besides, my legs

“It’s called Cletis Tout,” who was cast to star in it, “Richard Dreyfuss plays my father!” and where it would shoot, “In Toronto—you’ll have to come visit,” my excited, energetic voice was in stark contrast to the exhaustion I was feeling. Landing the role wasn’t exciting to me, it was merely the end of the long uphill climb of auditions, callbacks, and negotiations. Getting the role was a relief, like the moment of collapse at the top of a mountain before you begin worrying about how to get

to keep going up. Unexpectedly, a voice would sound in my head at the point of my workout where I would usually have quit, telling me to march on, to keep going, that it wasn’t enough. It told me I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t do it long enough, that there was still a long way to go before I could rest. The drill sergeant voice accompanied me everywhere, recorded all the missed moments when I was sitting but should’ve been standing, moving around, doing something. It was hard for me to drive

mission to out me. She stalked me. She waited for me every day in front of my building and followed me everywhere, occasionally making eye contact with me and signing to me that she was watching me; that she knew who I was. I had been photographed by paparazzi before, even followed, but this felt like being a deer in a hunter’s scope. She and her driver were very aggressive and quite scary. The fear and paranoia led to my relationship’s demise as it was impossible for me to leave the house with

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