Laura Prepon’s “Raw and Honest Guide to Motherhood” wouldn’t be complete without some raw and honest memories about her own mother.
In her new book, You and I, as Mothers: A Raw and Honest Guide to Motherhood, the Orange Is the New Black star opens up about living with bulimia for over a decade and how her mother, Marjorie Prepon, enabled the eating disorder when the actress was a teenager.
Speaking to People to promote the book, the 40-year-old said:
“In order to have a real conversation about motherhood, we need to talk about what’s really going on, the stresses, the anxieties, how we were mothered. We need to share the truth.”
The That ’70s Show alum remembered reading several books on motherhood after the birth of her daughter Ella in 2017, but always felt something was missing in them. She said:
“I needed a voice to connect to.”
So when Prepon set out to become a voice to other mothers, she wanted it to be as authentic as possible — which meant revealing very painful memories involving her mother. She explained:
“My mother taught me bulimia. It started when I was 15 and lasted until my late twenties… I always thought of myself as this strong, confident woman, but it became a compulsion that would completely debilitate me.”
It all started, unsurprisingly, when Prepon went to an open casting at a modeling agency at 15 years old. The 5’10 actress says she was “a healthy athletic kid” at the time, but was immediately told by casting agents to lose 25 lbs.
Laura told her mom she wanted to give it a try, causing her weight loss to become “their shared project.” She remembered:
“My mom started weighing me every morning and taking my measurements.”
Prepon recalls feeling how “proud” her mom was of her when she dropped to 105 lbs — at which point their shared project got even less healthy.
The actress remembered:
“That’s when she told me, ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’ … I knew exactly what she was talking about… It was a bonding thing we would do together. A shared secret.”
In hindsight, Prepon believes her mom thought being thin would help her career. She explained:
“She was bulimic in college, and after she lost weight, she met my father. So to her, being thin equaled success… I think she was trying to help me in her own way.”
While their relationship was strained for years, Prepon said she “began the path to recovery” with her mom after Marjorie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago. She says of their current relationship:
“I don’t want to be angry with her, especially now, because I don’t know how much time we have left. I want those moments when she is present to be good.”
Of course, Prepon also had to walk the path to recovery for her own body.
She said she started to focus on self acceptance and good health and nutrition so that she could be a healthy mom for her kids, adding:
“Healing meant learning about my own body, especially when I wanted to have children.”
Today, Laura and her husband Ben Foster are the parents of 3-year-old Ella and a baby boy who was born in February.
Her new book hits shelves on April 7.
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