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Katharine McPhee has defended her husband David Foster after he sparked backlash with a comment he made about her postpartum body.
On Tuesday, the musician shared a photo of his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s son in February, in a bikini to Instagram. He captioned the photo: “What baby!” along with a music note emoji.
The comment prompted criticism from some of Foster’s followers, with one person accusing the 72-year-old composer of “perpetuating the unhealthy narrative that women need to be back to or smaller than their pre-pregnancy size”.
“Have you ever thought that maybe a body is supposed to change after growing and birthing another human being…” one person commented, while another said: “Such a misogynistic comment.”
Others claimed the message was especially “tone-deaf” considering McPhee’s previous struggles with disordered eating. The American Idol alum, who has been open about her past eating disorder, revealed during her pregnancy that she was fearful of a “relapse”.
“What an insensitive comment to make about your wife who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past,” someone else wrote.
Following the criticism, McPhee, 37, addressed the “dumb” backlash and defended her husband with an Instagram post of her own.
“I’m sorry but we are not sorry. And for all of you who can’t deal with it maybe this helps. I’ve struggled with weight my whole 20s and 30. I’ve gone up and down 10 times over. Does that make you feel better? There is nothing wrong with that - most people do,” she captioned another photo of herself in a bathing suit on Wednesday.
In the lengthy post, McPhee then addressed her postpartum body, with the singer stating that she lost the “baby weight” she gained during her pregnancy “without dieting” and without pressure from anyone to do so.
“Diets are the worst and I’ve had zero pressure from anyone,” she continued. “I’ve let my body do its thing and found a great workout. That’s it. And guess what? I’ll probably gain weight again at some point too. Who cares? BUT people freaking out about what my husband captioned seriously get a life… Stop being so offended by what people post who have zero impact on your life and move on.”
McPhee concluded the post encouraging people to view Foster’s comment as a compliment, writing: “Maybe you should have more of an attitude of like, let’s say… ‘Oh that’s nice he thinks his wife is hot.’”
“I cannot with this overly sensitive society right now. But as Taylor Swift said haters gonna hate,” she added.
The post prompted messages of support from McPhee’s friends and fans, with one person writing: “You look incredible and yes the haters will be haters. Enjoy your amazing supportive husband and beautiful baby boy,” while another said: “Block out the noise! You look great.”
However, others were critical of McPhee’s handling of the controversy, as one person noted that the backlash stemmed from concern for her health and wellbeing, writing: “Or you could see it as other women being concerned for you postpartum, but okay.”
Another person acknowledged that the singer herself recently shared her concerns about the impact her pregnancy would have on her eating disorder struggles while explaining why Foster’s comment could be “triggering”.
“I love and support you and him and your family, but come on. I mean COME ON. You say the world’s overly sensitive, but you’re still in recovery from your ED. You spoke about worries of it coming back during your pregnancy. So yes the caption ‘what baby’ knowing how you’ve struggled so much with weight and an ED was out of touch,” they wrote. “And again, as someone in recovery how do you not see how triggering that is for other mothers who also are in recovery?”
Prior to giving birth to the couple’s first child together, McPhee revealed during an appearance on Dr Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy podcast that 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”.
“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,” she said at the time.
The couple, who share a 35-year age difference, met on the set of American Idol in 2006. They tied the knot in 2019, two years after it was reported they were dating.
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.