Exclusive: Katharine McPhee on Her Battle with an Eating Disorder
July 27, 2006

She's known to the country as the beautiful runner-up from "American Idol," but Katharine McPhee showed a very different side of herself when she sat down with her sister and "Extra's" special correspondent, Adriana McPhee.

For the first time, Katharine opened up about her treatment for bulimia. "It was very strict," she said. "Very disciplined, but it was a blessing."

It was back when Katharine was auditioning for "Idol" that she knew she had to face her problem.

"It definitely took me a couple months [to tell people]," Katharine admitted. "I remember late at night I went in the kitchen and my mom had said something about food missing, and I kind of made a joke out of it. She was like, ‘You're joking.' And I said, ‘No I'm serious.' I kind of acted like a little kid so she would take care of me."

Adriana said that she and Katharine's mom, Peisha, a respected vocal coach, has always taken care of them. Peisha encouraged Adriana's love of stage and singing and Katharine's "Idol" dream.

And it was Peisha who led the charge to get Kat into an eating disorders program.

"I remember the first day I sat down with the other girls," Katharine said. "I cried at the table, it was just too overwhelming. It was just going face to face and seeing all the other girls struggling at the table. I actually wanted to eat it as fast as I could to get out of there."

Now Katharine wants to send a message to girls everywhere, which is why she and Adriana taped an emotional segment for an upcoming show with Dr. Keith Ablow.

Kat now believes that if you change your mindset about food, your body will respond. She described one of her current typical days to Adriana: "What's it like, well I can eat whatever I want! If some see me eating a plate of French fries, I'm very happy to be eating fries."

Katharine credits her mom and dad with her recovery. "I was blessed to have parents who took it in stride," she said.

She's also grateful for her fans who have stood by her. And when Katharine's recent voice trouble kept her from joining her fellow "Idol" contestants on tour, they still kept in touch.

But now Kat is ready to rejoin the tour, and most importantly, she's healthy.

"I try to wake up and say thank you God for everything you've given me," Kat revealed. "And if I can help somebody get help and go work on their eating disorder, than that's great."


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