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AGT Alum Jackie Evancho Opens Up About Her Anorexia and Osteoporosis Diagnosis
"I'm still struggling, but I'm fighting."
America's Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho opened up to People in July 2022 about battling anorexia for the last seven years and how the aftermath of a car accident made her want to get help.
The incredibly talented singer came in second place on Season 10 of AGT when she was only 10 years old. After breaking her back in a January 2021 car accident, Evancho was forced to focus on her health.
"They were abnormal breaks, breaks that you see in 80-year-olds," Evancho told People. "That's how I learned that my eating problems created osteoporosis. So now I'm a 22-year-old with osteoporosis."
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), it's estimated that 9 percent of people in the U.S. will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Evancho's struggle with disordered eating started in her teens. "I noticed that I looked a little bigger to myself, so I asked my mom, 'Do I look fat?' And she was like, 'No, no, that's just baby fat,' " Evancho explained. "So I decided that I was going to start to mildly diet and start working out regularly."
This escalated to anorexia when she wasn't seeing the results she wanted. After seeking treatment at 17, the singer struggled to get control of her body image. Once the added pressure of COVID-19 struck, Evancho knew it was time to get more help.
"The urge to restrict what I'm eating, on top of eating because I'm bored, and panic because I have this distorted view of myself in the mirror . . . it made everything really difficult," she said. "There weren't distractions during COVID."
Although Evancho admits she still has a long way to go in her recovery process, she also says her motivation to get healthy is very much alive.
"I'm still struggling, but I'm fighting, which is good because a year ago I was giving in to it completely, and that's so dark and painful," Evancho said. "I'm not healthy yet, but I have been able to implement healthy coping skills and better eating habits."
Ultimately, Evancho says her passion and motivation for making music are what continues to propel her forward.
"Since I was a kid I've put so much blood, sweat, and tears into my career, and to see that sort of fade away because of this demon in my head? No, I'm going to fight this now because you can't take this one thing from me," she said.
Watch AGT on NBC Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET and next day on Peacock.
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