ET Online

Lucy Lawless Interview
5 February 1999

Click here to view the screen captures from this interview

"There was no part of it that would help me in my life. No part of it." -- Lucy Lawless

Millions of people tune in to watch LUCY LAWLESS in her crusade to fight evil in her series, "Xena: Warrior Princess." But when she was 17, Lucy was fighting her own private battle. She talks with ET about her experiences with bulimia, common sense, and today's obsession with thinness.

<Picture>ET: You're such a wonderful representation for women.

Lucy Lawless: Thanks!

ET: A long time ago, you said, "I don't want to be a role model."

Lucy: A long time ago, I used to be very uncomfortable about that whole role model thing. It's strange for a girl from the suburbs in a city at the bottom of the world to be suddenly hailed as something larger than life. It was a little bit overwhelming. But it's been better. Like everybody, I just try to live my life the best I can everyday.

<Picture>ET: Are you careful about what you say now?

Lucy: I should be a lot more careful about what I say!

ET: For example, when you talked about the bulimia...

Lucy: Yes.

ET: Tell me about the bulimia. Did you have an eating disorder?

Lucy: When this whole matter came about, I had my publicist send me down some info that she had gotten off the Internet. And I read it and thought, yes, yes -- oh, my God! I guess I really did. But for me, it's been a dead issue, totally irrelevant to my life for such a long time. I kind of forgot about it. And then it came up in an interview. I always try to deflect a question when it relates to somebody else's life -- and very clumsily, too. And that was the most unsuccessful attempt to draw attention away from the whole subject. I tried to downplay it, and I mucked up, really. So, yes, I did, and I'm certainly not an expert on the subject. I haven't thought about it in a long time. I can't generalize about it now, because my experience may well not be anybody else's. But people should get help. It leads to a very, very serious problem if you don't nip it in the bud.

<Picture>ET: How did you handle it?

Lucy: I think common sense prevailed, and a bit of straight talking. Parents that didn't stint from coming forward.

ET: Did someone catch you?

Lucy: No, I was sitting with my parents and my mother asked. I've got the greatest parents in the world, and they were there for me. And eventually, you make it go away. There was no part of it that would help me in my life. No part of it.

ET: For you, was it the pressure of the business you were in?

Lucy: Oh, no, I wasn't in this business! I don't know why I started it. My feeling about it is some teenagers turn their angst outward, and they will act it out. And some teenagers will turn their angst inward, and it's no less destructive. And I was a good girl. I didn't want to hurt anybody else. But the fact is, it hurts a lot of people. It hurts a lot of people around you, and it hurts yourself. And I was very lucky that common sense prevailed.

ET: Why do you think in Hollywood that there's such pressure to be thin?

Lucy: I don't know if it's just Hollywood. I don't know, but I'm so glad that I work for producers who aren't interested in that. RENEE [O'CONNOR, who plays Gabrielle] and I are a different kind of body shape that works for the show. It's fantastic! We offer a new paradigm for women. So I hope that there are girls out there who will take heart that strong and healthy is wonderful! Just wonderful!