health

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Justin Trudeau, has spoken of her private health battle.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, former television host and wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has spoken about her struggle with bulimia to mark the country’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Speaking to a crowd on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Grégoire Trudeau said her experience battling an eating disorder in her youth was peppered by questions of “Why me?”

“I remember feeling ashamed, thinking, “Why am I suffering from this?” On the surface I had it all,” she told the crowd.

“I kept reading about what it was to be a bulimic and saying, ‘This is the last time I’m doing this to myself.’ I started to tremble because of too much binging and purging and thinking, ‘What is this.'”

Grégoire Trudeau has always been a passionate advocate for mental health and eating disorders, using her platform to ensure they are given the time in public discourse they deserve.

Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
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In her speech, she touched on a question posed by a journalist some years ago, who asked her whether she was ever ashamed of telling her story.

"Ashamed? The moment I started sharing my story, obviously I had begun on my road to recovery. The response and the people who were opening up towards their own struggles to me and to other people around them was the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received," she said.

When the 41-year-old was 17, she said she found herself struggling with her relationship with food, developing an eating disorder that would envelope and define her late teens and early 20s.

At a speech in April 2013, well before her husband became Prime Minister, a then 38-year-old Grégoire Trudeau described the moment she realised she needed help, calling on her mother to help her navigate the struggle.

Kasey Chambers speaks to Mia Freedman about her experience with an eating disorder. Post continues below. 

“She held me in her arms and she said, ‘We will get you into treatment. Your father and I will be there for you,’” she said. “At that moment I felt like 2,000 pounds were lifted off my shoulders.

“I am proof and there are others who can tell you it is possible to recover.”

Late last year, one of the world's most popular First Ladies penned a powerful admission in the Huffington Post on why her family seek to be consistently open and transparent about their mental health.

"I speak openly about this experience, because it is not a secret. Mental illness should never be a secret, and the difficulties in facing them, as well as the power it takes to overcome and get back on your feet, should never be a secret," she wrote.

"Some still don't even recognize eating disorders as mental illness -- they absolutely are, and this confusion proves that we need to do more to create a shared understanding of mental health."

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