Emmerdale’s Gemma Oaten ‘nearly died four times’ amid 13-year anorexia battle
Former Emmerdale actress Gemma Oaten has spoken out about her tragic battle with anorexia – and has revealed she "nearly died four times" as a result of the disorder.
In an emotional feature airing on ITV's breakfast chat show Lorraine on May 13, Gemma speaks to Love Island star and NHS medic Dr Alex George about her near-death-experiences she had whilst suffering her devastating health problems.
The actress, 37, takes Dr Alex to her old school in Hull, Yorkshire, as part of the feature which will air during Mental Health Awareness Week.
The TV star, who played Rachel Breckle on the soap, explains to Dr Alex: "I lost 13 years of my life and nearly died four times. I don't want that to happen to anybody else.
"It's not about food – food is the symptom, it's not the cause."
Powerfully, she continues: "When you're encompassed by an eating disorder, which is a health illness, the misconception of it is that you chose to have an eating disorder.
"An eating disorder is not a choice. I definitely didn't choose it."
She also said: "I had no idea what was going on.
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"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."
Earlier this year, Gemma, who is also an eating disorder expert, gave a powerful interview on Loose Women where she also spoke about her personal experience with eating disorders.
The star has now urged her social media fans to tune in and watch her Lorraine feature which airs on Thursday.
Taking to Twitter, she has urged fans to watch the show tomorrow morning and stressing its importance for all those affected by eating disorders.
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In her tweet, Gemma said: "Please watch @Lorraine tomorrow with @DrAlexGeorge.
"This is a huge moment not just for my parents @SeedSupportUK & I, but for ALL those affected by eating disorders."
She followed up by thanking Lorraine Kelly and Dr Alex for giving her a platform to talk about the health issue, writing: "Thank you @Lorraine @DrAlexGeorge for giving many a voice when they've felt forgotten and unheard."
"Our @SeedSupportUK eating disorders educational toolkit is needed more than ever. This matters."
She also attached the Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 hashtag to both her tweets – #MHAW2021.
For those who may need help, SEED Eating Disorders Support Services can be contacted on 01482 718130.
Lorraine airs on ITV weekdays at 9am.
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