After her mother’s death, Jennette wrote that she was glad she was too upset to eat. “At least I feel thin and valuable and good about my body,” she wrote, “my smallness.” But when she went out to dinner with friends not long after, she ate everything she ordered and downed a bottle of sake. Realizing later that she could just throw it all up, she recalled feeling “victorious,” thinking it was “the start of something good.”
Drinking heavily to aid her bulimia became a habit. As filming on Sam & Cat wound down in 2014, she just started to assume she’d have a bulimia-induced heart attack. “It’s hard to admit it,” she wrote, “but a part of me actually wishes I would. Then I wouldn’t have to be here anymore.”
She realized she was bingeing and purging five to 10 times a day and taking eight or nine shots of alcohol each night. Identifying red carpet anxiety as one of her triggers, her eating disorder therapist started accompanying Jennette to events—which for awhile followed a pattern: Binge food backstage and cry in the car on the way home.
Eventually she fired that therapist over text, still uncomfortable delving into her childhood trauma. The bulimia continued and Jennette’s teeth started to rot. Spitting out a molar in the bathroom on a flight to Sydney, Australia, to do press for Netflix—followed by the Uber driver playing Ariana’s “Focus on Me” in the car upon her arrival—was a wake-up call. Her next therapist assured her that relapses were normal en route to long-term recovery.