Billie Piper says she suffered mental health issues working 18-hour days as a teen

Ellie Abraham
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Actor Billie Piper has revealed that she suffered mental health issues when she was a young performer.

Piper rose to fame at just 15 years old as a singer. At the time she was the youngest female artist to have a single that went straight to number one in the charts with Because We Want To.

Speaking on Fearne Cotton’s podcast, Happy Place, the 38-year-old recalled how working 18-hour days left her with a “lack of control” that eventually led to an eating disorder.

She said: “I don’t know anyone who worked as hard as I did at 15.

“It was a combination of burnout, the trauma of becoming really famous, being disconnected with my family, a lack of control in my life – hence the eating disorder.”

Piper described finding fame during her formative years having a toll that “negatively impacted” her life.

She continued: “I also felt I was a teenager and changing emotionally and psychologically so much.

“When I think of the life I lived as a child, with an 18-hour working day and never seeing my family, I see how it negatively impacted my life.”

In February, Piper penned a candid essay for Elle UK in which she spoke about collapsing in 2000, aged 18, in a club in Covent Garden.

Piper wrote: “My ‘dramatic turn’ – as I liked to call it – was a result of days of Diet Cokes and Marlboro Lights fuelling a very active eating disorder, cystitis that crept up my back and into my kidneys, a goblet of sweet white wine and a mind and body dissociation that I feared for the very first time.”

A second hospitalisation at age 34 introduced Piper to a psychotherapist. The actor said therapy has now helped her recognise her patterns of behaviour.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.

NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.

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