'America's Got Talent's Jackie Evancho Speaks Out on Her Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Anorexia Struggle

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Jackie Evancho
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America's Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho, who at only 10 years old placed second in the famed competition show, is opening up about her lifelong battle with anorexia and current treatment for osteoporosis. 

In an interview with People, the now 22-year-old singer got candid about health, her struggle with an eating disorder and her motivation through music. 

Evancho revealed that her anorexia came to a head when she was hospitalized after a car accident in January 2021 that left her back broken in two places. "They were abnormal breaks, breaks that you see in 80-year-olds," Evancho told the magazine. "That's how I learned that my eating problems created osteoporosis. So now I'm a 22-year-old with osteoporosis."

The "A Case of You" singer explained that she checked in to an inpatient facility in October to combat her anorexia and attempt to heal her injuries from the car accident. "I had to eat [for my bones] to heal, and that really messed me up with my eating problems, because I was gaining weight to heal," Evancho said. "Once I finally healed, my disorder said, 'OK, now you've got to be really hard on yourself to get all of that out of you... and then some.'"

Getting candid about the origins of her anorexia, Evancho explained that she started restricting her diet at just 15 years old. "I noticed that I looked a little bigger to myself, so I asked my mom, 'Do I look fat?' And she was like, 'No, no, that's just baby fat,'" Evancho remembered. "So I decided that I was going to start to mildly diet and start working out regularly."

She continued to explain how the disorder affected her day-to-day health, saying, "When I started to go days without eating, in my head I said, 'I know that this isn't normal,' " Evancho said. "I felt exhausted, moody, tearful, but after a bit of time, I started to feel nothing."

Evancho began outpatient treatment for her eating disorder at age 17. During an interview with ET in 2019, the singer credited therapy for helping her recover. As she said at the time, "They teach you self-love and positive affirmations, and you're like 'huh, maybe I will use this,' and it does make it easier."

However, in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, her anorexia was intensified. "There weren't distractions during COVID," Evancho noted. "The urge to restrict what I'm eating, on top of eating because I'm bored, and panic because I have this distorted view of myself in the mirror... it made everything really difficult."

Now, Evancho is making strides to heal her body and overcome her disorder. "I'm still struggling, but I'm fighting, which is good because a year ago I was giving in to it completely, and that's so dark and painful," Evancho said. "I'm not healthy yet, but I have been able to implement healthy coping skills and better eating habits."

Following the release of her People interview, Evancho candidly addressed her fear about publicizing her story.

"I know that a lot of you don't know my truth very well. I took a big step in doing an interview that I did not hold back in," Evancho wrote in an Instagram post. "It's scary to tell your truth, especially if it's more dark than you'd like to admit, but it's also freeing."

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or call 1-800-931-2237.

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