Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Shallow Hal' Body Double Claims She Nearly 'Starved to Death' After Filming

Ivy Snitzer is opening up about the toll the role took on her life and her mental health.

Ivy Snitzer says appearing as Gwyneth Paltrow's body double in the 2001 comedy Shallow Hal seriously impacted her mental and physical health.

Snitzer, 42, recently opened up to The Guardian about her experience, and how it led to her struggling with body image issues and developing an eating disorder.

In Shallow Hal, Paltrow starred as Rosemary, an overweight woman who begins a relationship with the titular Hal (Jack Black), who has been hypnotized to only see women's inner beauty. Paltrow wore a bodysuit and prosthetics for scenes where she needed to appear overweight. However, Snitzer -- then 20 -- was cast as her body double for closeup shots.

Snitzer recalled how she met with the Farrelly brothers, who directed the film, and got along with them well, and was cast almost immediately. She also had nothing but fond memories of the production itself, and her time on set.

"It was so exciting. It was just fun to be part of a movie," she said. "There are so few people who actually get to do that."

Snitzer said that the crew "treated me like I really mattered, like they couldn't make the movie without me" and made sure she was "comfortable" with everything going on.

She was also encouraged to walk the red carpet at the film's premiere -- which was the only time she's watched the movie -- and she said it was a fun experience at the time.

Vince Bucci/Getty Images

In the wake of the film's release, Snitzer said she began getting a lot of unwanted attention -- both from trolls and critics who accused her of promoting obesity and from people sending her love letters and unsettling presents.

In the years that followed, Snitzer decided that fame wasn't something she was interested in, and she decided to change her figure. In doing so, she underwent gastric band surgery. However, the band unexpectedly slipped, and Snitzer's life was in serious jeopardy.

"[I was] technically starving to death," Snitzer said, explaining that she didn't have health insurance, and when she finally got a job, she had to wait three more months for her insurance to kick in, so she could afford to see a doctor. During that time, she lived off of nothing but liquids.

"I was so thin you could see my teeth through my face and my skin was all grey," she said. "I was just so b**chy all the time. I kind of alienated a lot of my friends."

Ultimately, after a series of complications and additional setbacks, doctors were forced to perform a gastric bypass operation, meaning she's missing a portion of her stomach and has to monitor her food intake closely.

According to Snitzer, the desire to get the ill-fated procedure in the first place stemmed from the societal pressure she felt about being overweight.

When asked why she underwent the procedure, Snitzer said, "Because I was supposed to! If you're fat, you're supposed to try to not be."

While Snitzer said she actually felt "empowered" by being cast in the film, and doesn't blame the movie itself for her body image issues, she admitted that, during filming, she began to eat healthier out of a sense of obligation.

"I hated my body the way I was supposed to," Snitzer said. "I ate a lot of salads. I had eating disorders that I was very proud of."

To lose weight, after the film, Snitzer said she aggressively restricted her calories, and would often purge, and generally tried to lose weight in harmful ways. However, ironically, the medical complication with her gastric band and her near-death experience forced her to shift her perspective.

Years later, Snitzer is healthy, she owns an insurance agency in Philadelphia, she's married and the couple share a 13-year-old daughter. And while she says she's got no interest in rewatching the film, she doesn't hold any ill-will toward her time on set.

"I love that it’s a cool thing I did one time," Snitzer said. "It didn’t make me feel bad about myself. Until you know, other people started telling me I probably should have felt bad about myself."