Gemma Oaten reveals she nearly died four times during anorexia battle

·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:   Gemma Oaten attends the Gold Movie Awards 2020 at the Regent Street Cinema on January 9, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Gemma Oaten has opened up about battling an eating disorder. (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Gemma Oaten says she nearly died four times during her long battle with anorexia.

The former Emmerdale star said she lost 13 years of her life because of the eating disorder, and was so ill at times that she almost died.

The actor opened up about her struggles in a candid interview with Love Island’s Dr Alex George, which is set to air on ITV’s Lorraine.

According to the Daily Mail, Oaten tells Dr Alex: “I lost 13 years of my life and nearly died four times. I don't want that to happen to anybody else.

Read more: Gemma Oaten reveals anorexia caused heart attack in her late teens

"It's not about food - food is the symptom, it's not the cause."

Oaten, who played Rachel Breckle on the ITV soap from 2011 to 2015, said a misconception is that people choose to have eating disorders.

Watch: Tess Holliday Revealed She's Recovering from Anorexia

“An eating disorder is not a choice. I definitely didn't choose it,” said the 37-year-old.

She went on: “I had no idea what was going on. Sadly, it wasn't until being in the depths of therapy and really starting to understand what an eating disorder was that I was actually able to address it."

Gemma Oaten poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'The Crown' in London, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Gemma Oaten found fame on 'Emmerdale'. (Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Oaten has spoken about her battle with anorexia before, and in 2019 shared that she started suffering from the illness when she was just 10.

“One year later I was admitted to a children's psychiatric unit and told if I didn't drink water, let alone eat, I would be dead in 24 hours,” she told The Express.

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The star is the patron of voluntary organisation SEED Eating Disorder Support Services.

Watch: Dr Alex George taking break from work

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