Celebs Who've Been Body Shamed By Their Own Family

The following article contains references to eating disorders, child abuse, and suicide

For decades, the entertainment industry has favored an impossibly restrictive beauty ideal. Up until very recently, women who aren't svelte were virtually non-existent in showbiz; or, if they did make an appearance in the media, it would be as an object of ridicule (see: young Monica being body shamed in "Friends"). Even now, some critics argue that Hollywood has a long way to go when it comes to representing people of different sizes. 

But in recent years, there's been increased awareness over the importance of body diversity in the media, thanks to the rise in the body positivity movement. As such, celebs are becoming more vocal than ever when it comes to being ridiculed for their looks. Subsequently, numerous stars have opened up about being body shamed by the public. Selena Gomez, for instance, has recently found herself a target of haters due to fluctuations in her weight, and she never fails to clap back in her quintessentially classy style. But being body shamed by total strangers on social media is one thing; being shamed by one's own family is quite another.

Sadly, many stars have had to contend with toxic remarks from family members. Families are supposed to have our backs no matter what; it is, therefore, especially painful when a family member makes an overly personal remark. However, the following celebs are fighting back and refusing to let the haters grind them down. Let's take a look at celebs who've been body shamed by their own family.

Jenna Bush Hager faced cruel comments from her grandmother

Jenna Bush Hager is the granddaughter of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. In 2019, she joined the "Today" show, taking over from Kathie Lee Gifford as host of the rebranded "Today With Hoda and Jenna." In contrast to the longstanding negative public perception of the Bushes (namely via Bush Jr.'s foreign policy, which has arguably had an indelible impact on the Middle East), Hager has used her platform to exhibit a lighter side to the Bush clan. For instance, she's more than happy to let viewers know that she usually opts to go commando.

In a 2023 episode of "Today With Hoda and Jenna," she gave a deeply personal account of being body shamed by her own grandmother. Barbara admonished Hager for wearing a bikini as a teenager, telling her that she was too chubby to show flesh. As a result, Hager avoided wearing bikinis for years. However, she said that her grandmother later apologized and conceded that she was merely reiterating the toxic comments that her own mother would tell her. 

It's rather sad that Barbara would make such comments, considering that she was constantly ridiculed over her appearance: notably, she was the frequent butt of gags insinuating that she resembled the president's mom, rather than his wife (famously, Borat once joked that Barbara was Dubya's father). However, Hager said she has learnt to overcome body shamers and no longer sets weight loss goals for herself.

Jamie Spears allegedly mocked Britney's weight

As any Britney stan knows, the pop princess has been routinely body shamed by the public. It was during Spears' public mental health struggles in the 2000s that her body became the subject of particularly pernicious tattle. But it wasn't just the media targeting Spears for her supposed weight gain. Her own father, Jamie, often mocked her weight.

For 13 years, Spears was under the care of Jamie, her conservator. During this time, Spears alleges, Jamie body shamed her. "I was always being told I was fat and never good enough... The psychological damage from my dad and EVERY SINGLE F***ING person who went along with it [the conservatorship] will always be there," she commented on an Instagram post in 2022. In a since-deleted YouTube video, she also revealed that the body shaming began when she was just a child.

Spears' allegations have been corroborated by Jacqueline Butcher, a former friend of the family. In a profile by The New Yorker, Butcher recounted the horrific body shaming that Jamie would allegedly inflict upon his daughter. "Jamie said, 'Baby,'" Butcher recalled, "and I thought he was going to say, 'We love you, but you need help.' But what he said was 'You're fat. Daddy's gonna get you on a diet and a trainer, and you're gonna get back in shape.'" Now that Spears is free from the conservatorship and the control of her father, we hope she has found some inner peace.

Billie Eilish's parents encouraged her to cover her body

When she first shot to fame, Billie Eilish was known for her penchant for oversized clothing. Famously, she broke the internet in 2021 when she debuted her newly dyed blond locks and figure-hugging clothing in Vogue. Detractors were quick to accuse the songstress of selling out by revealing her body, totally forgetting that Eilish was a literal child when she launched onto the pop scene in her baggy attire. "Suddenly you're a hypocrite if you want to show your skin ... Showing your body and showing your skin — or not — should not take any respect away from you," she told the magazine of embracing her curves as a form of emancipation.

Unfortunately, this backlash was not confined to the public. Although Eilish is super close with her parents, they've sadly contributed to the body shaming and inadvertently made her feel bad for wanting to show some skin. In an interview with V Magazine, she opened up about the shame her parents inculcated. "[Even] from my parents, [the] positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element," she explained. "Like, 'I am so glad that you are dressing like a boy, so that other girls can dress like boys, so that they aren't sluts' ... I can't [overstate how] strongly I do not appreciate that, at all." The singer highlighted the importance of women and girls rejecting antiquated slut-shaming and celebrating their bodies without being reduced to the sum of their parts.

Zosia Mamet says her mom exacerbated her eating disorder

"Girls" star Zosia Mamet, who is the daughter of esteemed playwright David Mamet and actor Lindsay Crouse, has been open about her eating disorder struggles. She first went public about her illness in 2014, penning an essay for Glamour in which she detailed how her father helped her get the help she needed to recover. Noticeably absent from the deeply personal essay was any mention of Mamet's mom.

In a later Glamour article, she revealed that her mom's inadvertent microaggressions exacerbated her disordered eating. A svelte dancer, Crouse was obsessed with thinness. "When I was growing up, my mother was always on some sort of diet, and everything I was fed was nonfat or sugar free," Mamet recalled. "When I was hungry, her first response was, 'Are you sure?' I dreaded shopping. My mother would say to me, 'Zosia, let's look in the husky section.'" Although she emphasized that her mom did not cause her eating disorder, Mamet highlighted the myriad subtle ways in which mothers may unconsciously instill body negativity into their daughters. Subsequently, she emphasized that women can overcome such body negative notions, namely by eating when hungry and rejecting any associated notions of guilt. "And when we look in the mirror, we can think of what we would say to ourselves at 12," she added. "I would tell my younger self she's beautiful just the way she is. I hope my mom is telling herself the same thing."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Ariel Winter was allegedly body-shamed by her mom

When she first shot to fame as Alex Dunphy on "Modern Family," Ariel Winter was embroiled in a bitter legal battle with her mom, Chrisoula Workman. In 2012, Winter's sister, Shanelle, fought for custody over the then 14-year-old amid allegations that their mom was abusing her. Winter alleged that her mother frequently body shamed her and called her fat. Workman denied the allegations. "I have never put Ariel down or told her that she is overweight ... Since birth, I have loved and cared for Ariel," she said in court documents obtained by TMZ.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winter detailed the contradictory nature of her mom's body shaming antics. On the one hand, Workman allegedly berated Winter for her weight and subsequently restricted her food intake, but on the other she sexualized her from a young age. "People thought I was 24 when I was 12," Winter said. "If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes."

Workman responded to the claims with yet more body shaming, telling In Touch that she does not approve of her daughter wearing revealing outfits. "She does not need to do this. She is beautiful with her clothes on," Workman said. If Winter's allegations are true, then her mom's response may be seen as a form of gaslighting whereby she blames her daughter for the very thing Winter is accusing her of.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Rihanna's dad ordered her to go on a diet

Rihanna is known for having a strained relationship with her father, Ronald. Speaking to the Mirror back in 2007, she revealed that she grew up in a discordant household in which her dad, who struggled with substance misuse, would routinely argue with her mom. Unfortunately, her father has also been known to body shame his daughter.

In 2012, Ronald chatted to Heat magazine (via Marie Claire) about his daughter. But rather than praise RiRi's immeasurable talents and achievements, he decided to mock her weight. "I actually thought she was a little fat the last time I saw her," he said. "But when I saw her at this year's Grammys, I thought she was back to her normal size. I used to joke with her, 'Robyn, [Rihanna's first name], you're getting too fat.'" Considering that Rihanna is known for her svelte frame, her father's comments are toxic to say the least (he also went on to praise Chris Brown, who had previously been charged with viciously assaulting Rihanna).

In an interview with Vogue, RiRi addressed pervasive body shaming, revealing that she tries to ignore the haters and instead embrace her body whatever size she is. "I accept all of the bodies," she said. "I'm not built like a Victoria's Secret girl, and I still feel very beautiful and confident in my lingerie."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Iskra Lawrence says her family body-shamed her

British model Iskra Lawrence first shot to fame in the 2010s. Famed for her efforts to counter diet culture on social media through her unapologetically body positive posts, she was hailed as one of the BBC's 100 Women of 2016. Accordingly, she has been vocal about the abuse she's faced throughout her life as a midsize person.

In 2016, Lawrence opened up about the body shaming that her own family has inflicted upon her. "I remember family members telling me you can't wear those type of boots that cut off on your calf because your legs look too big and it makes your legs look fat," she divulged in a video for RunwayRiot. She noted that such remarks were particularly painful since she was already being bullied about her body at school, as well as within fashion circles as an aspiring model. Her home was thus supposed to be a refuge, but it ended up being yet another source of cruel ridicule. Subsequently, she advised those who suffer body shaming at the hands of their families to speak out. "Those comments when I was growing up really hurt me ... If you are experiencing this in the home ... be open and just say, 'That actually hurt me. You stepped over the line. Can you please talk to me in a more positive way next time?" she said. 

With over 5 million followers on Instagram, Lawrence is proving all those haters wrong, killing it as a body positive role model.

Bing Crosby allegedly fat-shamed his son Gary

With all the controversy surrounding momagers and stage moms in recent years, let's take some time to reflect on the original toxic Hollywood parents. One of the most notorious alleged child abusers was Bing Crosby. Crosby proved a particularly pernicious force due to his wholesome public persona, starring in child-friendly fare such as "White Christmas" and the "Road To..." franchise alongside Bob Hope. Moreover, the likes of Crosby existed at a time when there was little awareness raised about the perils of toxic parents.

However, his son, Gary, opened up about what it was really like being Bing's son in his memoir, "Going My Own Way." As a 1983 People profile highlights, Bing gave cruel nicknames to all his kids, with "Satchel A**" and "Bucket Butt" being the names he bestowed upon Gary. "I had a big broad a** on me as a kid that used to annoy the hell out of my father," Gary revealed. Accordingly, his father weighed him every day until he turned 18; if Gary had gained so much as a pound, Bing would brutally beat him with his belt. Gary explained that the beatings only stopped when, as a high school footballer, he became rugged enough to instill fear into his frail father. Although some of Gary's siblings denied the allegations, others corroborated them. "I'm glad he [wrote] it," said his brother, Lindsay, who sadly died by suicide in 1989. "I hope it clears up a lot of the old lies and rumors."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Jennifer Aniston was never good enough for her mother

Jennifer Aniston is widely regarded as "America's Sweetheart." But for all the love she receives from the adoring public, she was largely unloved by her own mother, the late actor Nancy Dow. Reflecting on her relationship with Dow, Aniston revealed that couldn't live up to her mother's notions of physical perfection. "She was very critical of me," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn't. I never was ... She was also very unforgiving."

In a 2018 interview with The Sunday Telegraph (via People), Aniston explained that she could identify with the title character of her film "Dumplin,'" a teenager who is body-shamed by her own mother, a former beauty queen. "She was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like," she said of her mom. "I did not come out the model child she'd hoped for and it was something that really resonated with me, this little girl just ... wanting to be loved by a mom who was too occupied with things that didn't quite matter." The actor added that she had learnt to reject unrealistic idealized beauty standards, embracing her authentic self.

Speaking to Allure in 2022, the "Friends" star divulged that she had ultimately forgiven her mother for all the cruel things she said to her, suggesting that it was Dow's acrimonious separation from her husband (the late actor John Aniston) that fueled her toxic behavior.

Ashley Graham's dad told her to lose weight

Hailed as the first plus size supermodel, Ashley Graham has been breaking barriers in the notoriously myopic fashion world. In 2017, she became the first plus size woman to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated, as well as the first to walk a Michael Kors runway show. Therefore, Graham has no time for body negativity, particularly as she has had to endure toxic admonishments from her own family.

Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she opened up about being body shamed by her own father. "The really hard moment was when my dad said, 'Honey, if an agent is telling you to lose weight, then maybe you should lose weight,'" she recalled. "I was 15, standing in our living room having a moment I will never forget. I never had a parent tell me to lose weight and it hurt." While she conceded that her father simply wanted her to succeed, the hurtful comments had a lasting impact. Thankfully, her mom countered this criticism, telling Graham that she is a strong woman destined for great things. And she was right: Graham has gone on to have a phenomenal career. Had she listened to her father's advice, she likely wouldn't be known as the unique and inspirational figure she is today. 

During an appearance on "Good Morning America," the model warned parents against commenting on their children's bodies: "Parents need to know that they are shaping the future of their children. Words have power."

Jennette McCurdy's mom encouraged her eating disorder

In 2022, former Nickelodeon child star Jennette McCurdy released her harrowing memoir, "I'm Glad My Mom Died." In it, she describes the horrific abuse she endured at the hands of her late mother, Debra. During an appearance on "Red Table Talk," she opened up about the pervasive body shaming her mom inflicted upon her, detailing the contents of a letter that Debra wrote after seeing a photo of her daughter on TMZ. "You look pudgier too," she said, reading the letter from her mom. "It's clear you're eating your guilt. Love, Mom ... P.S. send money for a new fridge."

Due to her mom's body shaming, McCurdy developed an eating disorder. In an interview with USA Today, the former actor said that, rather than getting her daughter the help she needed for the serious illness, Debra encouraged her anorexia. "I definitely would not have been able to confront or face my experience of eating disorders had my mother not passed away... because my eating disorders were so endorsed and supported and encouraged by her," she said. At the age of just 11, Debra put her daughter on a diet, teaching her all about calorie restriction so that she could maintain her adolescent body for the supposed benefit of her career. Following her mother's death in 2013, McCurdy said she felt free for the first time in her life. No longer plagued by Debra's toxic influence, she sought therapy for her eating disorder and is now in recovery.

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Khloé Kardashian was mocked by her whole family

Of all the Karjenner sisters, Khloé Kardashian has arguably faced the most body shaming. In an episode of "Revenge Body," she divulged that her own family pressured her into losing weight. "'Khloe, you got to lose weight cause you're really hurting the brand,'" she recalled family members telling her, adding, "I understand that was coming from my management side of my family, but it does hurt." Indeed, she has been shamed by her family on numerous episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

Kourtney once shamed Khloé for eating snacks, remarking that she had gained a few pounds (unbeknownst to Kourtney, her sis was pregnant at the time). On another occasion, Khloé's brother, Rob, body shamed her on the reality series. "I'm just telling you, people think that you're big," Rob told his sister. She hit back at her brother, telling him that she doesn't feel the need to go on restrictive diets. Fans praised her response on social media, noting that Khloé has inexplicably been branded "fat" for years.

In an interview with Health, Khloé vowed that she would never instill these body negative notions into her own daughter, True, instead teaching her body positivity from a young age. "When it comes to food — I had so many issues," she stated. "It wasn't from one person, I guess just from society or how people critiqued my body. So, I don't play when it comes to True."