“Desperate Housewives” star Madison De La Garza admitted that the cyberbullying she received while starring on the drama led her to “starve” herself.
De La Garza, who portrayed Eva Longoria’s daughter, Juanita Solis, in the series, revealed she developed an eating disorder at 7 years old due to the “horrible” things said about her online.
“The reactions that I got to my character on ‘Desperate Housewives,’ I mean, it was just shocking. A lot of people came at it in a way that they were quote-unquote concerned for my health,” she said during an appearance on the “Heart of the Matter” podcast with Elizabeth Vargas. “I personally believe that that’s just not true, that it was a cover-up so that they could just judge a 6-year-old.”
Madison De La Garza revealed that she developed an eating disorder after being cyberbullied for her weight while starring on “Desperate Housewives.” (Getty Images / File)
Eva Longoria, who starred as Gabrielle Solis in “Desperate Housewives,” and Madison De La Garza, who portrayed Juanita Solis. (Getty Images / File)
De La Garza’s parents attempted to restrict her time on the computer, but the young actress would sneak online and “spend a crazy amount of time” reading “horrible” comments about herself.
“They said things like they wanted me to die because of what I looked [like]. It was just horrible, like, ‘Ugly fat cow’ and ‘I hope you get cancer and die because you’re so fat.’ Just horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible things, and this was when I was 6, 7, 8 years old,” she said. “Reading comments like that definitely affected my mental health and ultimately played into me developing an eating disorder at a very young age.”
In one episode of “Desperate Housewives,” De La Garza’s character asks Longoria – who portrayed Gabrielle Solis – if she could wear makeup to school because another child had said the young girl wasn’t pretty enough to be Solis’ daughter.
“My first memories of trying to starve myself, I was 7 years old,” De La Garza said, revealing how it directly had to do with the comments she read about herself online.
Madison De La Garza played Eva Longoria’s daughter on “Desperate Housewives.” (Getty Images / File)
Madison De La Garza and Eva Longoria in 2011. (Getty Images / File)
De La Garza, now 21, said she’s struggled with disordered eating for years, fluctuating from “starving herself” to binge-eating.
“Right now, I would like to say I’m about two years into recovery, and things are going really, really well,” she said on the podcast. “Which is great to be able to say that, but I don’t think it’s something that will ever be completely gone or it will ever completely be fixed in that I think [this] is the same as having an addiction.”
The “Bad Teacher” actress, who is also singer Demi Lovato’s sister, said talking about her experience is important because cyberbullying is still happening today.
Madison De La Garza spoke out about cyberbullying as it continues to harm kids today. (Getty Images / File)
Actress and singer Demi Lovato, right, and actress sister Madison De La Garza in 2011. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images / File)
“I think it’s incredibly important for people to know how bad cyberbullying can be and just how the unthinkable is actually happening today,” De La Garza said. “I think it’s really important that people are aware of that, so they can look out for it and protect this next generation of children.”