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The Simpsons actor Yeardley Smith on her 24-year bulimia battle triggered by ‘pursuit of perfection’

One of The Simpsons’ best-known voice actors is candid about her 24-year battle with bulimia, revealing how she finally overcame her eating disorder at age 40 after struggling with it for more than two decades.

Yeardley Smith, now 57, is best known for voicing precocious younger Lisa Simpson in the long-running cartoon series — but she’s now turned her voice to a much more serious issue, speaking out about her personal eating disorder issues that have plagued her life from her teenage years.

The Simpsons actor got candid about her struggles in a new interview on the Allison Interviews Podcast in which she reflected on the ways in which she ‘remains a work in progress’.

Recalling her long-running body image insecurities, Yeardley stated: “The thing I’ve struggled with all my life – it’s definitely better now, but there will be times in my life when I’ll be under a lot of stress when it’ll get me back to the grabbing throats – and that is the pursuit of perfection.

Overcome: The Simpsons star Yeardley Smith detailed her longstanding battle with bulimia in a new interview

Overcome: The Simpsons star Yeardley Smith detailed her longstanding battle with bulimia in a new interview

Inner turmoil: 57-year-old revealed she suffered from the eating disorder for 24 years - pictured in 1992

Inner turmoil: 57-year-old revealed she suffered from the eating disorder for 24 years – pictured in 1992

The pursuit of perfection is a zero-sum game because you will never achieve it, and therefore you will never be satisfied with your pursuit or what you actually achieve. [It’s like] the expression: “Perfection is the enemy of good”.’

The beloved voice actor, who has had Lisa’s voice since 1987, continued: “If you get stuck and try to make it into something you consider perfect, you’ll just stay where you are and you won’t be allowed to go. move forward and evolve and continue to grow and learn.

“It will cause a misery unlike anything else.”

Opening up about her particular battle with bulimia, the Emmy winner added, “That’s something I struggle with and it really shows in my body image. I had an eating disorder for 24 years, from age 14 to 39. I’m 57 now… my particular fondness was bulimia.’

Smith revealed that around her 40th birthday, she had to change her way of life as she took the steps to seek treatment.

The Herman’s Head star explained: “I had been in therapy for many years at the time and at that point I would simply lie through negligence. I remember thinking, “I can’t live to be 40 and yet [be doing this]†

Famous Talent: The voice actor has played the character of Lisa Simpson since 1987 - pictured in 2000

Famous Talent: The voice actor has played the character of Lisa Simpson since 1987 – pictured in 2000

Private struggle: Emmy winner stated she battled the condition, 'from my 14th to my 39th' - pictured in 1992

Private struggle: Emmy winner stated she battled the condition, ‘from my 14th to my 39th’ – pictured in 1992

Making a change: As the star approached her 40th birthday in 2005, she took steps to overcome her fear of food - pictured in 2012

Making a change: As the star approached her 40th birthday in 2005, she took steps to overcome her fear of food – pictured in 2012

“I pulled up my socks and said, ‘Okay, I need some real help. I’ve told myself I can do this forever on my own, and of course I can’t, so I need help.'”

Smith added that it took a few more years after she started the program before she got to a point where she overcame her fear of food.

Now the Dharma & Greg star can enjoy food much more.

“Now I feel like food is actually good,” she explained, noting that there are still “a few trigger foods” that she stays away from.

The Simpsons debuted as a half-hour prime time show on December 17, 1989, and has since produced 33 seasons and a full-length animated feature.

Happier: The star now enjoys food more, although she has a few 'trigger foods' she tries to avoid

Happier: The star now enjoys food more, although she has a few ‘trigger foods’ she tries to avoid

Still going strong: The Simpsons debuted on December 17, 1989 as a half-hour prime time show and has since produced 33 seasons

Still going strong: The Simpsons debuted on December 17, 1989 as a half-hour prime time show and has since produced 33 seasons

It originated as a series of short films on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987.

Yeardley won the 1992 Emmy for Outstanding Voiceover Performance for her role as Lisa Simpson. The Simpsons show and its cast have also won 34 Primetime Emmys in the past 30 years.

Elsewhere, Smith recently tied the knot with her Small Town D**** podcast co-host, who goes by Detective Dan.

The couple married on June 11 and received a sweet shoutout from ‘The Simpsons’ on social media to celebrate their special day.

Anyone seeking support for eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact: National Eating Disorder Helpline at (800) 931-2237. For urgent support, text ‘NEDA’ to 741741 (fees may apply).

WHAT IS BULIMIA NERVOSA?

Bulimia nervosa usually affects young women and develops in late adolescence. Only one in five bulimia patients is male.

It is estimated that about four in 100 women will suffer from bulimia at some point in their lives

The condition is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by vomiting or taking laxatives to prevent weight gain.

It is usually hidden because of feelings of shame about binge eating.

Side effects include erosion of tooth enamel from stomach acid, palpitations and weight fluctuations. Vomiting can cause the salivary glands in the cheeks to swell, causing the face to swell.

Kidney damage, fertility problems, and seizures are also associated side effects.

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