Celia Imrie opens up about her struggles with anorexia as teenager

Celia Imrie says acting with her friends is a 'helpful extra'

The Calendar Girls and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel star, 68, was admitted to hospital at ­14, weighing just 4st. She said it was the brutal ­honesty of a nurse at Great Ormond Street that made her ­realise she could cure herself. Celia told the podcast of radio presenter Andy Jaye she was a patient at the London ­children’s hospital at the time. 

She said: “I was very young actually, I was in Great Ormond Street and a staff nurse said to me, ‘You do realise you are taking ­up the bed of a really sick child, don’t you?’

“Now for me, that was the best thing she could possibly have said. Because it was a real wake-up call, it was like being hit on the head with the reality of it all.

“I feel sad for my darling mother because of all the worry I put ­­her through.

“Actually, I would love to have that time back again because I’m afraid to say, from my point of view, it is something that you ­initiate yourself, you carry out yourself and you are the only ­person that can get yourself better.

“I’m not trying to dismiss it because it’s a very grim thing to go through.

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“But you have to understand – anybody that’s suffering from anorexia – that I’m afraid you got yourself there and you truly are the only person that can get ­yourself out of it.

“There are some people who are very badly ill. It’s one of those things that you can cure yourself but only you can. And I would urge anybody to understand that.

“I’m not dismissing it, I’m not saying that it isn’t a horrible position to find yourself in, but I ­promise you, you can get yourself out of this.

“That is my experience. People will disagree with me, but I’m just saying what happened to me.”

Celia, who also appeared in TV shows such as Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV and Dinner-ladies, added: “It takes time to get yourself well again, but you can – and I’m living proof.

“When I was ill I didn’t really ­listen to anybody and possibly if somebody saw me now they wouldn’t believe that I have been in that situation.

“But I have, and I’m very proud that I am able to live to tell the tale that all is well.

“And I’m enjoying every minute of life that I’ve ­got left.”

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