ACTRESS Portia DeGeneres says the shame of being a lesbian drove her to anorexia, with her weight plummeting to 40kg.
In an exclusive interview with Women’s Weekly, the Australian actress, who is married to US TV host Ellen DeGeneres, admitted she struggled with her sexual identity and eating disorders for many years.
The star - who was married to documentary filmmaker Mel Metcalfe from 1996 to 1999 before coming out publicly as a lesbian - said her weight began to plummet as she rose to fame on the TV series Ally McBeal playing Nell Porter.
"It took a long, long time for me to think I had a problem," she said.
"I was around 90 pounds (40kg) and I remember feeling very afraid of food every night. I didn’t want to walk past pizza restaurants because that would make me remember what it was like to eat pizza, and I was truly afraid that I was going to be overcome with the urge to binge and that if I started bingeing then I just wouldn’t stop."
The Arrested Development star, who was born Amanda Lee Rogers and used the stage name Portia de Rossi before changing her name to Portia DeGeneres, said when she met Ellen DeGeneres backstage at a rock concert she was still coming to terms with her sexuality.
The talk show host had invited the willowy blonde back to her house with a group of friends after the show but the actress declined because she was "terrified" of dating a star and being discovered as a lesbian.
"I had such a long way to go before I could even be seen in public with a woman, much less be seen in public with that one," Portia DeGeneres said in the interview, laughing.
Three years later, in December 2004, the two reignited and a romance blossomed. They married on August 16, 2008.
Portia DeGeneres said she and her wife would love to move to Australia and described the opposition of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to gay marriage as "disappointing."
The former University of Melbourne law student tells of her struggles and romance with Ellen DeGeneres in her new autobiography Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain.