Olly Alexander opens up about his body image struggles

‘I started to have body issues and not eating, like I wouldn’t eat... I struggled with it for a really long time’

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Olly Alexander
via @ollyyears / Instagram

Olly Alexander has spoken out about his body image struggles in a new interview with Buzzfeed

Speaking ahead of his first ever Wembley show on Friday, the Years & Years frontman revealed that he suffered from eating issues for over a decade – adding that he skipped meals, obsessed over what he ate, and hated his own reflection.

“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,” he explained, during the Facebook Live event. “I struggled with it for a really long time actually.”

According to Alexander, the problems began at a local gymnastics class when he was 10-years-old. “It was the first time I was starting to have an awareness of my body and strength and (thought), ‘Older boys, they’re really muscly and they could do things that I couldn’t do’,” he shared. “I started to have body issues and not eating, like I wouldn’t eat.”

Despite the severity of it all, though, Alexander stressed that it probably wasn’t an eating disorder, adding, “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”. He added that a “good support network” and “years of therapy” eventually helped him move on from it.

Given that 10 million men in the USA will reportedly suffer from a significant eating disorder in their lifetimes, this is clearly a serious issue – though, sadly, one that’s rarely taken very seriously

Watch the full interview, which also sees the “Desire” singer discuss HIV and gender binary norms, below:

Live backstage with Years & Years' Olly Alexander in conversat...

Live backstage with Years & Years' Olly Alexander in conversation with BuzzFeed’s Patrick Strudwick at Wembley Arena.

Posted by BuzzFeed UK on Saturday, 9 April 2016

It’s not the first time the singer has opened up about his mental health. Just last year, Alexander discussed his “positive” experiences with depression and anxiety in an interview with The Guardian’s Owen Jones. “The likelihood is that you or someone you know closely will suffer from a mental health condition in your lifetime,” he explained. “It’s like any other part of your body – your mental health gets sick, and it needs treatment.”

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