Actress Portia de Rossi is known in Hollywood for her candor, wit, sunny disposition and unflinching honesty. The 'Ally McBeal,' and 'Arrested Development' comedienne's memoir 'Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,' was released just last month and is already a bestseller and has been praised by critics and fans alike.
Portia sat down with GlobalGrind to discuss the making of her memoir, her struggles with an eating disorder, the pressure to be perfect in the industry and her relationship with wife Ellen DeGeneres.
Your book really made an impression on us and we are excited to get your personal insight into your thinking and thought process around it. What was the moment that you actually decided to sit down and write the book?
I don’t know if there was one particular moment where I realized that I wanted to write this memoir because I didn’t know what I was going to write about until I actually started to think about all the things in my past that contributed to me suffering so badly with the disorder.
I was motivated because I’ve been living my life more openly and honestly in the last few years, and every time I thought about my past I would cringe and not want to deal with it. I realized it’s the things that you want to forget that hold the key to you growing as a person. So I thought I should go back explore it and figure out what’s happened to me and why I got to that point.
Were you approached to write the book?
I was. When I was asked to write a memoir I really didn’t know what to write about, I didn’t know whether my struggle with my sexually contributed to my struggle with my eating disorder, and I didn’t know how to write a memoir about those two things without telling my full story, and that’s why it became a memoir.
Did you realize this as you were writing the book?
Before I sat down to write it I realized I had a certain level of expertise in something that a lot of people struggle with. I knew if I could tell my story in a way that would make people understand the disorder a little better or to make people suffering feel like they are not completely alone and isolated, that was something I could contribute and do for other people. But it wasn’t 100 % altruistic, I wanted to go back and heal myself. I wrote it for my own self-discovery and my own personal journey but knowing that if I could tell the story well and make it understandable, it would benefit other people.
What kind of environment did you put yourself in to be able to write, open up and express yourself?
I married the most amazing, honest, beautiful woman that you could ever meet. That’s my environment. I’ve been living with somebody who has been so encouraging of me growing in a spiritual and personal way. This book would never have happened without her because she has shown me what it’s like to never lie and to not be ashamed of the experiences you’ve had in your past. If you have experiences that are abnormal, it’s your duty to share them with other people because you can heal yourself and heal others. My environment was perfect to be able to write something so intensely personal because I was supported by her and my family the whole way.
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