updated 11/02/2010 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/03/2010 AT 8:00 AM ET
Looking at a photo of herself back when she weighed 82 pounds, Portia de Rossi can now admit she was sick.
“But at the time, I thought, ‘Okay, my arms look awful so I should cover them up, but my legs look pretty okay now,” says the actress, 37. “I didn’t think I was crazy to only eat 300 calories a day. That made perfect sense to me.”
In a new memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, de Rossi comes clean about the years she spent battling anorexia and bulimia – after landing her breakthrough role on TV’s Ally McBeal in 1998 – and the pressure she felt to hide the fact that she was gay.