Taylor Swift Opens Up About an Eating Disorder She Previously Battled, Says Paparazzi Photos Were a ‘Trigger’

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“I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of the show,” Taylor Swift says in her documentary Miss Americana

Taylor Swift is getting candid about an eating disorder she previously battled.

In her new Netflix documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, Swift, 30, opens up about the challenging time in her life, sharing that paparazzi photos were a “trigger.”

In the film, Swift says that when she’d see “a picture of me where I looked like my tummy was too big, or … someone said that I looked pregnant … and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.”

Swift’s eating disorder grew increasingly concerning after it began affecting her performance on tour.

“I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of the show, or in the middle of it,” Swift says in the documentary. “Now, I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [enervated].”

Swift further explained her relationship with food during a recent interview with Variety for their cover story, saying, “I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable with talking about body image and talking about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me.”

“But the way that Lana [Wilson] tells the story it really makes sense,” Swift said to Variety of the documentary’s director. “I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience. And my relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.”

Taylor said that she’s since reconciled “the fact that I’m a size 6 instead of a size double-zero,” and said she was completely unaware that anything was wrong back when she was a size double-zero and that she even had a go-to defense ready at the time should the subject be brought up by someone out of concern: “‘What are you talking about? Of course I eat. …. I exercise a lot.’ And I did exercise a lot. But I wasn’t eating.”

According to a press release, the film is a “raw and emotionally revealing look” at the singer “during a transformational period in her life as she learns to embrace her role not only as a songwriter and performer, but as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice.”

In November, Swift first revealed she has been working with Netflix on a documentary about her life over the past few years.

In addition to her personal struggles, Swift revealed earlier this week that her mom Andrea has a brain tumor.

Swift shared the news with Variety, explaining that Andrea had been diagnosed while undergoing treatment for cancer. Andrea’s cancer had returned for the second time while the documentary was filming, Swift revealed last March.

“Everyone loves their mom; everyone’s got an important mom,” Swift told the magazine. “But for me, she’s really the guiding force. Almost every decision I make, I talk to her about it first. So obviously it was a really big deal to ever speak about her illness.”

“She was going through chemo, and that’s a hard enough thing for a person to go through,” the singer said.

“While she was going through treatment, they found a brain tumor,” Swift continued. “And the symptoms of what a person goes through when they have a brain tumor is nothing like what we’ve ever been through with her cancer before. So it’s just been a really hard time for us as a family.”

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana will hit Netflix on Jan. 31.

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.

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