health

'I'm in one of the world's most popular girl bands. I'm also a recovering anorexic.'

She’s a member of the world’s most popular current girl band, Little Mix, but life before stardom was inexplicably dark for 23-year-old Jade Thirlwall.

Her battle with anorexia, which had a stranglehold on the singer’s life from the tender age of 13, saw her body wither away to a troubling 38kg.

Jade was so suffocated by her illness, she was hospitalised and told by doctors, ‘You’re destroying your body and if you keep doing this you will die.’

 'You're destroying your body and if you keep doing this you will die.' (Image: Instagram/Jade Thirlwall)

The startling revelations make up a chapter of the band's new book, Our World, which documents the womens' lives during their meteoric rise to fame, including Perrie Edwards' tumultuous split from ex-One Directioner, Zayn Malik.

Before Jade, who is of Yemeni and Egyptian ancestry, found herself under the public spotlight, she says it was bullying, family problems and the death of a loved one that propelled her disordered eating.

Loved our @cornetto #MakeAMove secret gig last night wearing @maria_escote styled by @kjnicholls ❤️

A photo posted by jadeameliabadwi (@jadeameliabadwi) on

"My periods stopped and things were getting out of control but I don't think I really cared about what was happening to me," she writes. "I felt so depressed at the time that I just wanted to waste away and disappear."

While people around her encouraged her to get help, the Black Magic singer said her disease made connecting with others problematic.

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"Anorexia is a self-destructive thing and you become stubborn, so when people are trying to tell you something you get it into your head that they're against you and you're not going to listen.

"It took going to hospital to make me realise that it wasn't a game, it was something really serious."

A photo posted by Little Mix (@littlemix) on

Seeing a friend suffer from the same illness spurred Jade into action, and she began to visit the hospital weekly as well as consult a therapist.

While recovering from an eating disorder is a life-long exercise, Jade assured fans that she is now back to full health, and says her most difficult days changed her outlook on life and strengthened her.

Little Mix first rose to prominence after winning Britain's X-Factor in 2011. They have gone on to establish themselves as the world's leading girl group under Simon Cowell's direction, with their latest hit Shoutout To My Ex currently sitting at number one on UK and Australian pop charts.

If you or a loved one is suffering from disordered eating, Mamamia urges you to contact The Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673.

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