The frontman of Years & Years, Olly Alexander, has spoken candidly about his eating issues for the first time.
The 25-year-old singer, who leads the best-selling electronica band and is a prominent gay role model for young men, revealed he has endured damaging body image issues for ten years.
The Blackpool-born musician has frequently been vocal about his anxiety and being bullied.
Talking at a Facebook Live event organised by BuzzFeed News, Alexander said his problems first emerged at the age of 10 at a local gymnastics class.
“It was the first time I was starting to have an awareness of my body and strength and ‘Older boys, they’re really muscly and they could do things that I couldn’t do’ … I started to have body issues and not eating, like I wouldn’t eat,” he explained.
“I was stuck between this place of being really, really, really skinny and hating it – because I wanted to be muscly like other boys – but at the same time didn’t want to put on weight because that was bad as well. I struggled with it for a really long time actually.”
Alexander said he would skip meals, hate his body image and obsess over what he ate.
But he clarified that he wouldn’t define the problems he faced as an eating disorder, saying, “I wouldn’t want to call it that myself… I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder but I definitely had a difficult relationship with food".
Alexander explained that he has recovered from these problems with the help of therapy and a strong support base and has gone on to explore the root sources of his anxiety.
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