Debra Messing honored at Glamour Magazine's
Debra Messing honored at Glamour Magazine's "Women Of The Year 2001" award ceremony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 10/29/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

Brutal toll of star’s extreme weight loss

Debra Messing says she was "too skinny" during the filming of her beloved sitcom Will & Grace, after dropping from a size 8 to a size 2 during the show's initial eight-season run.

Messing, 51, spoke at length about her role as Grace Adler on Jameela Jamil's "I Weigh" podcast, saying that when she started on the show in 1998 she "couldn't fit into clothes" and she would leave fittings "hating my body and hating myself."

Messing on a 2001 red carpet. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Messing on a 2001 red carpet. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

 

"I thought, 'My life would be so much easier, and it would be easier on everybody trying to do their job, if I just lost weight,'" said Messing, who went on to star in Smash and The Mysteries of Laura. "So I started doing yoga every single day and I did one of those meal delivery services. I started to get smaller and then I was a 6, and they were like, 'You're losing weight, you look amazing!'"

Jamil contextualised the show's 1998 debut as the "the height" of Hollywood's unrealistic beauty standards, noting that "the physique of the '90s" was to be "wildly" thin.

Messing looking very thin at another 2001 event. Picture: SGranitz/WireImage
Messing looking very thin at another 2001 event. Picture: SGranitz/WireImage


Messing agreed, saying: "I was lucky enough to be invited on the red carpet to the Emmys and the Golden Globes, and that was the same time that Ally McBeal was at its height and Calista [Flockhart] was the 'It' girl and Portia de Rossi also was so-so slim, and she's spoken openly about her anorexia, so it's all within sort of the same theme. I would try to fit into these gowns and of course they weren't sample sizes, and it was like, 'OK, we have to let out the seams, etc.'"

A dangerously thin Portia de Rossi, 2000.
A dangerously thin Portia de Rossi, 2000.


"I was way too skinny," Messing said. "But, you know, going in for those fittings, I fit into everything. And all of a sudden, I literally could fit into anything that was high fashion. So all of a sudden, everything seemed to open up for me, because I was a 2."

But then Messing said she got sick.

"My body just could not hold out. My adrenals crashed, I was exhausted and it just became clear to me that I couldn't be healthy and a size 2 at the same time," she said.

Messing also starred in the recent Will & Grace three-season reboot.

 

Happy and healthy: Messing in 2018. Picture: Craig Barritt/Getty
Happy and healthy: Messing in 2018. Picture: Craig Barritt/Getty

 

This story originally appeared on Page Six and is republished here with permission.

Originally published as Brutal toll of star's extreme weight loss

Calista Flockhart at the 1998 Emmys.
Calista Flockhart at the 1998 Emmys.


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