Little Mix star returns to Sheffield hospital where medics told her anorexia would kill her

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall has returned to a Sheffield hospital where she was treated for anorexia – after revealing she was told by doctors weeks before she found fame on The X-Factor that the eating disorder would kill her.

Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 3:03 pm

The singer, 26, who battled with anorexia in her teens, was treated at Sheffield’s Riverside Grange hospital and was finally discharged in 2011 – just before she auditioned for the ITV talent show which catapulted her to fame.

Now she has spoken candidly of her battle and has returned to Sheffield to speak to patients undergoing similar treatment.

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Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall. Picture: PA

Speaking on the BBC Sounds Life Hacks podcast I've Been There: Jade Thirlwall and Anorexia, the singer said auditioning for the show was a 'turning point' in her battle against the eating disorder.

She said: “Anorexia was my own dark secret and I guess I was sort of satisfied with that.

“It was my own thing that I could do to myself and nobody knew about it.

“I obviously became very small and my ribs were sticking out. I was very gaunt and I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes to hide that.

She added: “I got in a really horrible state. The turning point — and the reason why I first told my counsellor — was when I got tired of hating myself so much.

“The second turning point for me was when I was at hospital and the doctors told me that I would die if I kept doing it.”

“To hear somebody say that to you is actually quite scary and I started to realise how damaging it was for my family.”

She believes her issues with food first began following her granddad's death when she was just 13 years old.

After weeks of therapy and visits to Riverdale Grange she was finally discharged in 2011 when she was 18, finding fame on the show just a few months later.

The star first spoke about her struggle with anorexia in 2016, in an extract from Little Mix's book Our World.

The South Shields born star wrote that the death of a close relative was another trigger, but she didn't realise that she needed help.

'My periods stopped and things were getting out of control but I don't think I really cared about what was happening to me.

'Anorexia is a self-destructive thing and you become stubborn, so when people are trying to tell you something you get it into your head that they're against you and you're not going to listen.'

She recently visited patients in Sheffield to tell them about her own experiences and the emotional day was recorded for the podcast.

Her visit was arranged as a surprise for Little Mix fans Marissa and Megan who quizzed Jade on her own struggles with anorexia for the recording.