At the height of her Pussycat Dolls success, Nicole Scherzinger was secretly battling bulimia. In her Behind the Music special, which premiered on Sunday, the singer opened up for the first time about her eight-year struggle with a severe eating disorder.
"I did it every day for, like, years. Every time I had a second to be alone," Scherzinger, 34, confessed. "I hated myself. I really was so disgusted with myself and so embarrassed. I felt so alone. I was in a group, and I never felt so alone in my life."
Fellow Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, who was interviewed for the VH1 special, said that all of Nicole's bandmates had figured out that she was bulimic. "We saw the scars on her fingers, on her knuckles from when you stick your finger down your throat," Roberts explained.
Scherzinger can trace her eating disorder back to an early Pussycat Dolls photo shoot, for which she was instructed to wear "a bra and underwear and some garters," and nothing else. She had a breakdown on the spot and locked herself in the bathroom.
"I was like, I can't do this… I was not comfortable with my body," she recalled. (Watch the clip below.)
The singer never spoke publicly about her struggle, because she never wanted to "play a victim" or hurt her family. But now that she's recovering, she sees bulimia as an addiction that spiraled out of her control.
"I never did drugs, but doing things to myself was my addiction," she told VH1. "It's like when I got off stage, I was on this high, and I'd come back to my room and I'd be alone, so I would just do things. My bulimia was my addiction; hurting myself was my addiction."
Scherzinger is currently working on her second solo studio album — although, in another Behind the Music bombshell, she claimed that the Pussycat Dolls albums were essentially solo albums.
"I probably did 95 percent (of the singing). On my own," she said. "I'll never forget I finished the album, PCD, and [the producer] and I brought the girls into the studio and we played it for them. It was the first time they'd ever heard the music. Do you understand what I'm saying? We played the album for the Pussycat Dolls. It was the first time they'd ever heard the songs."