Nearly 25 years after Audrey Hepburn’s death, new details have emerged about how the actress managed to remain 110 pounds over her entire adult life.
Over time, there has been much speculation that the Oscar winner had an eating disorder.
However, the latest cover of People magazine, on newsstands Friday, is revealing the secret story behind the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star’s slender frame: She experienced extreme starvation while growing up in Holland during World War II at the age of 11.
“By the end of the war, she was very close to death,” her son, Luca Dotti, told People. “She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5‘6” and weighed 88 pounds. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence."
Some have wondered whether the effects of her harsh upbringing stayed as she rose to fame as an actress.
“People think because she was skinny that she had an eating disorder, but it’s not true,” Dotti added. “She loved Italian food and pasta. She ate a lot of grains, not a lot of meat and a little bit of everything.”
Hepburn’s romantic partner, Robert Wolders, who was with her from 1980 until her death, told People that the Charade star did not diet, but did enjoy exercise, Scotch and chocolate.
The 5-foot-7-inch actress died in 1993 of appendix cancer in 1993. She was 63.