Florence Welch reveals her anorexia makes her feel she doesn't 'deserve to eat'

Florence Welch performs live on stage at the iHeartRadio Album Release Party with Florence + The Machine at iHeartRadio Theater on May 2, 2022 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)
'Anorexic thinking is still part of my life, even though the anorexia itself isn't,' says Florence Welch. (Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Florence Welch, or Florence + the Machine, has opened up about how her anorexia has – and still does – affect her emotionally.

The singer, 35, said the lingering effects of her eating disorder make her think that she "doesn't deserve to eat" or "deserve to feel comfortable", in an interview with Rolling Stone UK.

With her lyrics previously alluding to the fact that happiness is an 'uneventful subject' as far as making music is concerned, writer Tara Joshi asked whether she can now accept it and enjoy it without assuming it will affect her ability to create art.

"I think part of it is long-term recovery from eating disorders," Welch began.

"So much of that is rejecting nourishment – 'I don't deserve to eat, I don't deserve to feel comfortable.'

"Anorexic thinking is still part of my life, even though the anorexia itself isn't."

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Watch: Florence Welch says she came close to eating disorder relapse in lockdown

Explaining how this manifests in her personal life, she added, "And so, with emotional intimacy, which is kind of like being fed, sometimes you can be like, 'No, that's too much, I don't need it.'"

She instead finds it easier to be vulnerable with the world, rather than a potential significant other. "Being intimate on such a grand scale is such a safe way to do it," she explained.

"But actual intimacy, actual commitment? I really struggle with it. You can spend your whole life craving love, and when someone gives you real wholesome love, loving the real you, you're like, 'Why would you do that? I'm disgusting!'"

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Florence Welch attends the 10th Annual LACMA Art+Film Gala presented by Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Florence Welch urges people to keep talking about mental health and to not be ashamed of thoughts that come up. (Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

This comes after Welch, who has been sober for eight years, opened up about her experiences of addiction and eating disorders, and the challenge lockdown put on her mental health.

"When you're sober it is unfiltered reality all day every day. You don't get a brain break," she told British Vogue.

"I really f***ing empathise with anyone who did relapse in those two years because I think it was probably the closest I've ever thought about it."

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Again explaining how the eating disorder can affect her thoughts, she explained, "There were moments when I was like, 'Should I be starting to cut back on my sugar? Or should I do a cleanse?' And that for me is just a slippery slope.

"Anorexia provides a feeling of certainty, because you're just like, 'I'm going to control this'.

"Luckily, I have people I can talk to and that's one of the most important things for anyone – to keep talking about it. And not to be ashamed if those thoughts come up."

Welch said it was "a miracle" she didn't fall back into her old patterns with food during lockdown.

For support, contact eating disorder charity Beat's helplines, which are open 365 days a year from 9am–midnight during the week, and 4pm–midnight on weekends and bank holidays, or via its one-to-one web chat.