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- American recording artist; singer and songwriter
David Foster has been accused of “perpetuating the unhealthy narrative that women need to be back to or smaller than their pre-pregnancy size” after praising his wife Katharine McPhee’s postpartum body.
On Tuesday, the musician shared a photo of McPhee, who gave birth to the couple’s son in February, wearing a bikini and sitting in the grass, to Instagram. He captioned the photo: “What baby!” along with a music note emoji.
While some of Foster’s followers joined in on the praise for McPhee’s appearance, others criticised the 72-year-old composer for being “out of touch” with the compliment and contributing to unrealistic body expectations for women.
“Yeah, let’s perpetuate the unhealthy narrative that women need to be back to or smaller than their pre-pregnancy size postpartum,” one person commented.
Another said: “Such a misogynistic comment,” while someone else added: “David, you could have just said ‘my beautiful wife’. God forbid she would have any leftover baby weight that you’d have had to look at.”
Others said Foster’s comment was especially “tone-deaf” considering McPhee’s past eating disorder, as the American Idol alum, who has been open about her past struggles with disordered eating, revealed during her pregnancy that she was fearful of a “relapse”.
“The biggest challenge for me through the pregnancy was really the body issue stuff just suddenly came up in a way that hadn’t been present in a long time,” she said during an appearance on Dr Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy podcast, which she recorded before she gave birth.
She continued: “I have felt really stable in my life in the last four or five years, and my weight has been sort of more consistent. But feeling like there was a relapse after getting pregnant was really shocking and upsetting and concerning for me.”
On Instagram, many acknowledged the singer’s past struggles, with one person claiming that it made Foster’s comment “especially gross”.
“This is extra weird given the eating disorder background but okay,” someone else wrote.
While many of the comments were critical, other fans defended Foster from the backlash on the basis that he “obviously meant it as a compliment,” with the user adding: “He loves her. Just be happy for them.”
Foster has not addressed the criticism, however, the post was met with a comment from his wife, who shared three shocked face emojis.
Foster, who was married four times previously, and McPhee, 37, met in 2006 when the singer was a contestant on American Idol. The pair, who share a 35-year age difference, were reported to be dating in May 2017, before later announcing their engagement in July 2018. The couple tied the knot on 28 June 2019 and later welcomed their first child together, son Rennie, in February.
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.ukor call 0845 838 2040.