Most women struggle to shed a few pounds to look good in a bikini, but a string of celebrities are fighting back over claims that they have lost too much weight.
Kate Hudson is the latest to defend her self against the charge of being "dangerously" thin. The Hollywood actress, and daughter of Goldie Hawn, won a libel action against The National Enquirer yesterday, after it suggested she had an eating disorder.
Hudson won undisclosed libel damages at the High Court in London after the magazine claimed she had endangered her health by deliberately starving herself. She was able to pursue the legal claim in England, where libel laws are considered more advantageous to the plaintiff, because the American gossip magazine has a UK edition.
The 27-year-old actress took action against the title after it published a story with the headline: "Goldie tells Kate: Eat something! And she listens!" It claimed that Hawn had confronted her daughter over photographs that showed her looking "painfully thin". The article was accompanied by a picture of Hudson looking frail and gaunt, taken in mid-August 2005.
Her solicitor, Simon Smith, told the judge she had always maintained this image was not a fair reflection of her, as other photos taken only days earlier showed her looking healthy and radiant.
The Enquirer quoted an anonymous source as saying that Ms Hawn had grown concerned as her normally glamorous and curvaceous daughter "started shrinking before her eyes". When she saw the photo in question, the source claimed, Hawn decided to confront her.
Mr Smith said the allegations were completely untrue and embarrassing and offensive to the actress, who was concerned about the impact on her career.
After giving birth to her son in January 2004, Hudson worked hard to regain her figure in time to appear in the film The Skeleton Key, Mr Smith said. While this entailed losing a considerable amount of weight in a short space of time, throughout the rest of her adult life, her weight had never fluctuated more than a few pounds.
He added that although she ate healthily and continued to pursue a regular fitness regime with the help of a personal trainer, she was not a fitness fanatic and considered it more important to be healthy and happy, particularly during pregnancy.
American Media Inc, publisher of the Enquirer, apologised for the deep distress and acute embarrassment caused by the allegations, which it now acknowledges were false.
Hudson, who was not in court, said in a statement: "The allegations I sued over were blatantly false. I felt I had no choice but to set the record straight by challenging them in court."
Hudson, who is married to Chris Robinson, the lead singer with the Black Crowes, is the daughter of Hawn and a musician, Bill Hudson. She has appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair three times and her films include How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days and Almost Famous.
Marcelle D'Argy-Smith, the former Cosmopolitan editor, said that while there was pressure on celebrities to stay slim, the suggestion that they have an eating disorder was highly undesirable. "It's one thing to be slim, it's another to have a disease. It's pretty unattractive," she said.
"Slender women have always been lovely. But you become outraged if someone is saying you've got anorexia. It's like the difference between having huge sex appeal and being a sex addict. You become one of the sick, instead of enviably slim.
"To be called unbelievably skinny is everybody's flashpoint. Magazines cross that line and they're going to get sued. It's a judgement call you're not allowed to make."
n A Big Brother contestant, Nikki Grahame, has confessed to suffering from anorexia, but told this week's Heat magazine that she recovered with the help of breast implants from the NHS.
Slimline stars in the spotlight
Anne Diamond, a former Celebrity Fit Club participant, is the latest to attack Mrs Beckham's weight, describing her as "thin and gaunt". But the queen of WAGs maintains she "eats like a pig" and that her slim figure is down to self-discipline.
The leading light of television's Desperate Housewives denied she had a disorder after she was photographed jogging near home and accused of looking too thin. "The only thing I'm guilty of is being too athletic and refusing to eat garbage," she said.
The star of Mean Girls said in Vanity Fair in January that she had suffered from bulimia, but she later retracted this. She has since spoken of her desire to regain her sexy curves.
Lionel Ritchie's daughter has said she is too thin and is worried teenagers might imitate her. She is seeing a nutritionist to help add weight.
The slender star of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 has insisted she is not suffering from anorexia. But speaking at the film's premiere, she said that her grandmother and great-grandmother had suffered from the disorder.Reuse content