26 Stars Who've Struggled With Body Confidence
Despite the pressure to be perfect, here are 26 celebrities that have bravely battled body confidence issues in the public eye — and have spoken out on their experiences.
If you struggle with body-confidence issues, you aren’t alone. According to recent studies, 97 percent of women and 20 to 40 percent of men struggle with body image. For celebrities living in the limelight 24/7, those numbers are likely much higher. These 26 actors, musicians and athletes have struggled with self-esteem and body confidence and are bravely sharing their experiences, strength and hope with us. Read on to learn how these famous folks started loving themselves and their bodies, despite working in industries that pressure them to be perfect.
1. Julianne Hough
The “Dancing with the Stars” judge-turned-actor’s struggles with body image started in high school and intensified when she landed in Hollywood. “I did a film where I basically was told I was fat every day, yet I was the skinniest I’d ever been,” Hough recently told Redbook. Her confidence-boosting trick? “Now, when I’m self-conscious, I’ll do something completely crazy or goofy to get out of my own head — something fun that reminds me of the freedom I felt as a kid before all that happened.”
2. Demi Lovato
The singer and actress battled an eating disorder, substance abuse and self-harm for several years before learning to love herself and her body. “When I’m really down, I do a positive self-affirmation,” Lovato told People. “I talk positively to myself in the mirror. As awkward and uncomfortable as it can be, it can be really self-assuring. I also talk to people around me. But getting in the gym makes me feel the best I possibly can, so I make sure I get that in.”
3. Ariel Winter
Ariel Winter went through puberty while starring on “Modern Family” and got targeted by body shamers at a young age. “The first season I was very thin, no breasts, no hips,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “The next year I had huge boobs and a butt.” She tried to appease her critics by losing weight and dressing differently, but it didn’t make a difference, so she decided to embrace herself instead. “Why can’t people just let other people feel good about themselves and do what they want?” the star ranted in a recent social media post, after being bullied about an outfit choice. “Wear whatever you want, people! As long as you feel good about yourself, that’s what matters.” Preach.
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4. Aly Raisman
The Olympic gold medalist was bullied for her muscular arms in her youth, which negatively impacted her self-esteem for many years. Now Aly Raisman appreciates her body and wears tank tops with pride. “You can’t let someone dictate the way you feel about yourself,” she told Today. “It just makes me mad that I was so insecure about it for so long because my arms made me one of the best gymnasts in the world, so I would never do anything to change that.”
5. Dwyane Wade
He may be one of the most successful players in the NBA, but that hasn’t made Dwyane Wade immune to body-confidence issues. “I was just never comfortable until about four years ago, when I started feeling comfortable with my body overall,” the NBA champion told ESPN The Magazine. “As you go through life, you get more comfortable with yourself. It’s like everything else with life — you change, you grow. People might think it’s simple, but for me it was hard to even feel comfortable walking around naked when it’s just me and my wife.”
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6. Chrissy Metz
“This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz recently told People she started Weight Watchers at the age of 11 and has spent most of her life struggling with her weight like her onscreen persona. However, when she turned 30, her mindset changed. “I had this epiphany that my life is my own and my choices are my own,” she told the magazine. Going on “a bit of a spiritual journey,” she decided to put aside others’ opinions and to “focus on who I am, business or no business, actress or no actress. And things just kind of started falling into place. There definitely was a shift.”
7. Jennifer Lawrence
In her younger days, the Oscar winner was told she would get fired if she didn’t lose weight. “They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked and told me to use them as motivation for my diet,” Lawrence told Harper’s Bazaar UK. Recently someone reminded her of the occurrence, thinking she had gotten over it. “They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me. ‘You really still care about that?’ Yeah. I was a little girl. I was hurt. It doesn’t matter what accolades you get…. If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, ‘You can go f**k yourself.’”
8. Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson’s weight has been a media topic for years, but after gaining weight during her pregnancies, the star revealed she was her hardest critic. “Raising Maxwell makes me realize that I don’t want her to see me beat myself up for things like food choices or numbers on a scale. I don’t want her to learn anything like that from me,” she explained in a guest blog post for Parents.com. She hopes her daughter will learn “to value herself, listen to herself and tune out the world,” adding, “I want her to know her value, rather than spending her energy fighting negative voices from within.”
9. Chris Pratt
OK, so he may be in the best shape of his life, but Chris Pratt wasn’t always being hailed for his six-pack. He revealed in a 2017 Vanity Fair interview that he lost out on a role in “Moneyball” because he was “too fat,” which inspired him to get into shape. “I do know what it feels like to eat emotionally, and … to be sad and make yourself happy with food,” the actor confessed during a 2014 press conference. “And then to be almost immediately sad again and now ashamed and then to try to hide those feelings with more food. I know what it’s like to have body image issues.”
10. Ashley Graham
Kickass, supersexy size 16 Ashley Graham is one of the highest-paid supermodels in the world, but she had a lot of people tell her she wasn’t going to make it because of her size. She attributes daily positive affirmations to changing her life. “Just to have overcome so much and to be able to tell young girls that you are enough no matter how much cellulite, back fat or belly rolls you have, it doesn’t matter,” she said in a recent interview. Take a cue from Ashley and copy her body-positive mantra: “I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful, I can have and do whatever I want.”
11. Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek has been a sex symbol for decades, but recently admitted her self-esteem has worsened with age. “Well, I am entering my 50s so your body confidence isn’t that good,” the actress told InStyle UK. “I think it depends on the day for everybody. There’s some days you say, ‘This is it,’ and you love it. Then there are days when you go, ‘This can not be it! Is this really it?’ So I think it’s up and down all the time!”
12. Lady Gaga
The Grammy winner revealed in 2012 that she has struggled with bulimia and anorexia since the age of 15. After being trolled by online bullies for her 2017 Super Bowl halftime performance body, the singer spoke up in a powerful way. “I heard my body is a topic of conversation, so I wanted to say I’m proud of my body, and you should be proud of yours too,” she wrote on Instagram. “No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions.” Brilliant.
13. Wentworth Miller
After becoming the subject of body shaming, the “Prison Break” star opened up about his struggles with body image and depression. “In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life. I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to.” While the images taken during his heaviest point were very hurtful at the time, they have become a form of empowerment for him. “Now, when I see that image of me in my red T-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle,” he wrote.
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14. Blake Lively
For one of the fittest stars in Hollywood, it took having two children to learn to really love her body. “The past few months, I’ve learned to love my body in every iteration. And it’s a challenge,” Lively told Vogue in 2017. “It’s something that I have to remind myself every single time I put on an outfit that doesn’t fit like it used to — or doesn’t fit at all!” Blake suggests focusing on positives rather than negatives to improve self-esteem. “You have to learn to forgive yourself, to say, ‘I’m working. I’m a dedicated mother. I’m a good friend. I’m a great wife.’ Try not to beat yourself up about it.”
15. Jessica Alba
While many people struggle with body confidence when they are at their heaviest, Alba admits she was unhappiest about her body when she was at her skinniest. “I was a lot more critical of my body when it was probably pretty awesome,” she told Health. After giving birth to two of her children, she became more accepting of herself. “I was more willing to wear short skirts after I had my kids. I never wore them before. Ever. I was so self-conscious,” she continued. “Now I’m a lot more confident in my skin — because who cares? At the end of the day, it’s so much time spent on something that really doesn’t matter that much.”
RiRi, who admitted to E! she does “pick on” her body like most other women, doesn’t let body shamers get the best of her anymore. The fashion icon, who was majorly trolled for her curves in 2017, chooses to work with her body on a day-to-day basis instead of against it. She recently told The Cut she’s had “the pleasure of a fluctuating body type” and focuses on flattering her figure with fashion. “I really pay attention every day when I go into the closet about what’s working for my body that morning. I feel like that’s how everyone should go after fashion, because it’s an individual thing,” she said.
17. Sam Smith
When his career first started out, British singer Smith was far from confident about his body. “When I was shooting my first music videos, I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked, so I was trying to control the way the camera moved,” he told V Magazine. “I got a bit obsessive. I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day. Now I’ve gotten to a place where I really love my stretch marks and I just enjoy my body.” Today the crooner trains himself to avoid media that supports unrealistic beauty ideals.
18. Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling admits she struggled with body confidence in the past, but she now refuses to define her self-worth by the way she looks. “Maybe [it’s] because I have professional confidence that comes from my business, but calling me chubby cannot hurt me in the way it does so many, many girls, millions of women…. When I was younger, I already went through that,” the candid actress told The Guardian. Instead, she focuses on her personal and professional accomplishments. “I know it’s much harder to do the things I’ve done than it is to lose weight and be thin.”
19. Serena Williams
Now one of the best athletes in the world, Williams was not always confident in herself. “When I was young I thought I should be built more like an athlete — long and lean — not with a womanly figure,” she revealed to Fitness. “But then people my age started coming up to me…. They could relate to me. That was really motivating. So I learned to be proud of my curves and to embrace my large boobs and my butt.” Over the years Williams has continued to be a beacon for body confidence. “I love my body, and I would never change anything about it,” she told Self.
Queen Bey’s struggle with body image inspired one of her biggest hits — and became a body-confidence anthem. “I wrote ‘Bootylicious’ because at the time I’d gained some weight, and the pressure that people put you under, the pressure to be thin, is unbelievable,” she told Shape. “I was just 18, and you shouldn’t be thinking about that. You should be thinking about building up your character and having fun, and the song was just telling everyone just forget what people are saying. You’re bootylicious. That’s all. It’s a celebration of curves and a celebration of women’s bodies.” You go girl.
21. Ed Sheeren
The Grammy winner struggled with self-esteem until he took a healthier approach to life. “I was never really happy with my image, and then I realized it was because I was eating fried food and drinking beer every day. You don’t have to kill yourself by getting into shape. Just eat right and don’t drink every day,” he said during a 2014 interview. And while Hollywood is famous for body image pressures, the star has a very pragmatic approach to it all. “There’s enough fat people in the industry and there’s enough skinny people in the industry and there’s enough ginger people in the industry,” he explained.
The singer has been very vocal about the eating disorder that landed her in rehab in 2014. Her self-confidence struggles started in her teens, but were majorly aggravated by online bullying and the alleged abuse endured by her former producer Dr. Luke. “It became a vicious cycle: When I compared myself to others, I would read more mean comments, which only fed my anxiety and depression,” she wrote in a Teen Vogue essay. Seeing photos of herself along with the “catty commentary” fueled her eating disorder even more. “On behalf of anyone anywhere who struggles with body image, stop it. My body is not your business,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post in response to trolls.
23. Gabourey Sidibe
“My first diet started when I was 6 years old,” Sidibe, whose weight has been a topic of conversation since she starred in “Precious,” told Oprah. “One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body….” Sidibe wrote of her struggles in a 2017 memoir, explaining why she decided to undergo bariatric surgery. “It has taken me years to realize that what I was born with is all beautiful,” she wrote. “I did it so I can walk around comfortably in heels. I want to do a cartwheel. I want not to be in pain every time I walk up a flight of stairs.”
24. Adam Rippon
Olympic figure skater Rippon’s body-confidence struggles started in his youth when his then-coach told him to lose weight. He spent the next several years basically starving himself so he could look like younger skaters Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou. “I looked around and saw my competitors. They’re all doing these quads, and at the same time they’re a head shorter than me. They’re 10 years younger than me, and they’re the size of one of my legs,” Rippon told the New York Times. He started working with a sports dietician in 2017, who taught him to see food as fuel and not a foe. He is now more mindful when it comes to eating, no longer feeling “guilt” for eating food.
25. Camila Mendes
“Riverdale” star Camila Mendes recently revealed she is “done with dieting” after struggling to be happy with her body for several years. “At some point in my life, I allowed my obsession with being thin to consume me, and I refused to make room in my mind for any other concerns,” she wrote in a recent post on social media. “I’m done believing in the idea that there’s a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort. Your body type is subject to genetics, and while eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly will make you healthier, it will not necessarily make you thinner, and the current system fails to make that distinction.”
26. Karlie Kloss
Kloss’ height may have helped launch her career as a supermodel, but at one time it was something she was insecure about. “My sisters have always been these gorgeous glamazons, and I’m, like, this tall, skinny stick in the family,” she told W magazine. “It used to be something that I really disliked about myself, being tall and lanky, but it turned out to be the greatest asset I have — how uniquely weird I am.” Now more confident about her herself, she is able to “be the woman” she wants to be. “Being comfortable with yourself allows you to take risks and accomplish so much more,” she recently told Elle.