This story originally appeared on Motto.
Fans often tell country singer and American Idol season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina that her life looks perfect. But Tuesday, in a Facebook Live interview with Motto, Alaina revealed that she has secretly struggled with an eating disorder.
“I had bulimia for a few years,” she said of her years post-American Idol. “I was really sick. I don’t know that person – I can’t believe that was me.”
The “Next Boyfriend” singer, 21, said that her singular focus on her body made her lose sight of other priorities in her life.
“I just desperately wanted to be thin,” she said. “That’s all I thought. I was obsessed with it, which it was ridiculous because I had everything going for me. I was following my dream. Everything I wanted at the time, I was getting. But I was obsessed with this other thing that was making me unhappy.”
Alaina, who was in her late teen years at the height of her bulimia, said her mom was crucial to her recovery.
“My mom made me look in the mirror every day and say three things that I loved about myself,” she said. “At first, I couldn’t name anything. It was so sad. When my mom made me do that, I looked in the mirror and I literally couldn’t name one thing that I loved about myself.”
Thankfully, the singer no longer finds it difficult to compliment herself. “I really like my eyelashes,” Alaina told Motto. “That is such a stupid small thing, but it can be anything. I like to be funny and outgoing. I try to remind myself of the things that I like about myself that make me who I am.”
Alaina’s second album, which is scheduled to come out early next year, will focus on themes of confidence and self-love.
“It’s all about, no matter where you come from, that you can be who you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve,” she said. “I want people to learn to love who they are. Because that’s the hardest thing in life, being able to see yourself the way other people see you.”
Alaina says her hope is to help other women through her music.
“A lot of my fans are young women that are my age,” she said. “We’re all going through the same problems at the same time, so I just tried to be really honest with that.”