Inside Lisa Rinna’s daughter’s struggle with anorexia

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is the name of the show, but the series highlights more than just the women themselves. Viewers also get to know the Housewives’ children and spouses. In March 2018, Lisa Rinna’s daughter Amelia Gray Hamlin came forward to share her journey with anorexia. According to E! News, Amelia was 16 years old at the time and posted two photos of herself wearing bikinis. The first was from that day and the second was from a year prior when she was struggling with an eating disorder. She wrote, “Once I got the help that I needed, shortly after the second photo was taken, I began to try to love myself for me.”

Amelia explained, “I went through this journey not for attention, not for people to [pity] me, but to help. I am on this earth to help people, and I know that. One in 200 women in the US suffer from anorexia. And I want to help.” She emphasized that the more recent photo wasn’t of “the perfect girl,” instead revealing, “I have a lot of health complications after starving myself for so long so it’s going to be a journey that I go through for a large part of my life.” One of those complications includes her Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis, which she described as an “extreme challenge.”

In June 2019, Amelia told Glamour she did not “plan to ‘come out'” with that Instagram revelation, but she’s continued to be very open about her struggles.

Sharing her story prevented Amelia Gray Hamlin from relapsing

In an essay for Glamour in June 2019, Amelia Gray Hamlin reflected on revealing her eating disorder in an Instagram post a year earlier, saying, “just writing it down helped me a lot.” She wrote, “The photo of me in the white bikini that I chose to accompany the post has become my infamous anorexia photo.” However, she wasn’t allowed to share it sooner because her mom Lisa Rinna felt Amelia “looked unhealthy” and didn’t want her daughter exposed to “a flood of public shaming from the internet.” While Amelia acknowledged the picture she shared was from one of her “worst moments,” she wanted to show how much progress she’d made.

At the time she went public with her struggles, Amelia admitted she was still in an “extremely vulnerable” place. The model revealed, “In the wake of my anorexia, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that screws with your thyroid. My body was reacting to being starved for so long.” As a result, she has to take two pills every day, confessing, “Obviously that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s hard knowing I did this to myself.”

Even though she has put herself under a microscope by sharing her battle with anorexia so publicly, Amelia said, “But if I’m being honest, if I hadn’t come out about my eating disorder when I did, I probably would have relapsed.”

Lisa Rinna has been unfairly blamed for Amelia Gray Hamlin's struggles

Amelia Gray Hamlin credited mom Lisa Rinna for being part of her “strong support system” in her June 2019 Glamour essay. Unfortunately, there are some outsiders who don’t see it that way. Amelia shared, “it seems as though the body shamers have flocked to my mom’s comments section. She really gets the heat of the body shaming related to me—people tell her my eating disorder is her fault, that she caused me to be anorexic.” She revealed, “To have people saying she didn’t do enough hurts my heart so much. If they could only see how much I rejected her help and how much I pushed her away—it hurts me for her.”

During the Season 9 Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion, which aired in July 2019, Andy Cohen asked if Amelia “picked up” any tendencies based on Lisa’s relationship with food. According to Daily Mail, Lisa answered, “Probably, yeah,” admitting, “Do I have any food issues? I probably do ’cause I’m in this business.” After sharing she works out between three and five times weekly, Lisa insisted, “I’m just consistent. But I’ve been the same weight ever since I was 20? But I’m not bulimic, I don’t believe I’m anorexic… I’ve gone to therapy. I can’t blame myself, but again, I blame myself.”

While Lisa didn’t take offense to Andy’s question, both she and Amelia were triggered the next season when Garcelle Beauvais questioned their dynamic.

Lisa Rinna and her daughter clapped back at Garcelle Beauvais

During an August 2020 Real Housewives episode, Lisa Rinna said her mom Lois loves her dancing Instagram videos. Garcelle Beauvais commented in one of her confessionals that episode (per Us Weekly), “I love that Lisa’s free enough to do the videos and be dancing, but the dancing nearly naked is not a choice for me if I had a daughter that had body issues.”

After that episode aired, Lisa posted a video of Amelia dancing and wrote, “I’d say she’s #Thriving #MotherOfTheYear.” According to the Comments by Bravo IG, Amelia responded, “My question is why would your dancing videos make me ‘feel bad’???? Who was she trying to body shame?? Am I fat? Why would that make me sad????? Body shaming is real. And not okay. You can call my mom too skinny or me too skinny but if we called you too big???? Hunny it’s the same thing.”

On the Skinny Confidential podcast (via Us Weekly), Amelia said, “I think it just really breaks my heart when people blame it on [my mom] because, you know, it really isn’t her fault that she was born in such a slim figure.” When she heard what Garcelle said, Amelia thought, “Wow, like, am I that much bigger than my mom to the point where I have to feel bad because she’s so skinny?” Garcelle and Amelia have never met, making Amelia feel she “probably knows nothing about” her story.

Amelia Gray Hamlin has been accused of fabricating a storyline

In July 2020, Amelia Gray Hamlin posted a screenshot from a fan who accused her of “lying about being anorexic” to get “more air time.” According to People, Amelia wrote, “I seriously can’t believe I’m being accusing of lying about anorexia to get more ‘air time’ sorry but I’m forced to be on the housewives by my mom. Ask anyone it’s the last thing I want to do. I couldn’t care less about air time.” 

A day later, Amelia clarified her remarks in an Instagram Story, writing (via Entertainment Tonight), “CAN EVERYONE PLEASE CALM DOWN AND STOP!!! My mom is so so amazing. She ‘encouraged’ me to be on the show in my opinion.” She continued, “I should have said ENCOURAGED NOT FORCED!!!! THAT WAS THE WRONG CHOICE OF WORDS.” Ultimately, she emphasized, “All I was trying to say was that I’m not just on this show for a f**king story line you guys chill.”

Us Weekly reported that Amelia said during an episode of the Skinny Confidential podcast that she restricted her diet to eating soup and drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper for a 25-day period. Her family brought her to a doctor who told her, “Basically at this rate in about four months, you’re going to be 45 pounds and you’re going to be dead.” That realization inspired her to “snap out of it” and change her routine.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association’s Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or chat with one of their helpline volunteers on NEDA’s website.

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