Three weeks ago, Katie Couric came under fire for some blunt remarks she made about the Duchess of Cambridge’s weight. Now, to settle the score, the newscaster is making public her own previous struggles with bulimia.
During the first episode of her new talk show, “Katie,” Couric responded to an audience question about who would be a “dream guest” for her. Couric answered that she would love to have Kate Middleton on the show, but immediately added that the princess has been “getting too thin.”
"I think it would be interesting to interview Kate Middleton because she has comported herself so well since she has been thrust in the limelight," Couric said, quickly tacking on the controversial warning, "I think she needs to eat more because she’s so thin.”
Critics quickly sounded off against Couric, accusing her of “body policing” Middleton, which led to speculations, like those of the Daily Mail, that the remarks were likely to cause ire at Buckingham Palace. Couric is currently a special correspondent at Buckingham Palace and has previously been granted interviews with both Prince Harry and Prince William.
William and Harry’s deceased mother, Princess Diana, who Middleton is often compared to, famously suffered from an eating disorder. In public interviews, Diana revealed that she became bulimic shortly after becoming engaged to Prince Charles. She said that the pressure of being part of the Royal Family was the culprit for her disease.
But on the most recent episode of her show, Couric revealed that the issue is a personal one for her as well. In a Monday taping of “Katie,” she surprised audience members by making the candid disclosure that she suffered from bulimia throughout college and two years afterward, from the ages of 18 to 24.
Couric welcomed singer and "X-Factor" judge Demi Lovato on the show to discuss her ongoing battles with the disease, and she also had a medical expert on hand. Lovato, now 20, went to rehab in 2010 for treatment for an eating disorder and other self-abusive behavior.
"Treatment was so difficult at first, I remember walking around saying 'I'm in prison!' They needed to have those strict rules in order for me to understand how sick I was,” she told Couric. "I also had somebody watching over me every single time I ate. And if I didn't finish what was on my plate, and often times I would cry because I physically couldn't stomach it, and if that happened, I would have to have little consequences, nothing horrible, just not being able to go to the cafeteria to eat."
Lovato credits the treatment with saving her life, but she says that she has still not fully recovered from the disease.
Couric also interviewed Dr. Cynthia Bulik, Director of the University of North Carolina’s Eating Disorder Program, to discuss the patterns of behavior in bulimia patients, and she opened up about her own battles with food.
"Dr. Bulik, I imagine that these things are very familiar to you. I wrestled with bulimia all through college, and for two years after that," said Couric. "I know this rigidity, this feeling that if you eat one thing that's wrong, you're full of self-loathing and then you punish yourself, whether it's one cookie or a stick of gum that isn't sugarless, that I would sometimes beat myself up for that.”
Couric says that she has made a full recovery, and no longer punishes herself over food, although she does sometimes have unhealthy thoughts.