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Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Portia De Rossi

Narrated By: Portia De Rossi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: November 2010

Duration: 9 hours 19 minutes


From actress Portia de Rossi, a revelatory and searing account of the years she spent secretly suffering from anorexia and bulimia, all while living under the glare of Hollywood’s bright lights.

“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. No more wondering whether I could fit into a sample size dress, or if the camera would catch a bad angle. I just wanted to excel in dieting. And weighing in at 80 pounds on 300 calories a day, I was the best little dieter there ever was.” In this groundbreaking memoir, Portia de Rossi reveals the pain and illness that haunted her for decades, from the time she was a twelve-year-old girl working as a print and runway model in Australia, through her early rise to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development . All the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, putting her life in danger and concealing from herself and everyone around her the seriousness of her illness.

She describes the elaborate rituals around food that came to dominate hours of every day and explores the pivotal moments of her childhood that set her on the road to illness. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner, ever more in control of her body and the number of calories she consumed and spent.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love and marrying Ellen DeGeneres and emerging as an outspoken, articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues. In this remarkable and landmark work, she is giving the world a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.


  • Nicola L

    I really enjoyed this book and it was great listening to Portia tell her story.

  • Alexandra Ornelas

    It was great! This is the first book I listened to when signing up for I really enjoyed it!

  • Janene Domingo

    I personally loved the book! I read a lot and started listening to books while I work, this is one of my favorite books now. I found her voice to be very soothing as well.

  • Anonymous

    This book was so well written, and has so much to say about our struggles with food. She let us in to her heart, and I wept for her, and for me, and for everyone with an eating disorder. I would highly recommend this book.

  • Anonymous

    I loved hearing her weave her story together. It was believable and sad. I had similar issues as a child and it was very revealing to hear someone else share this with me. I loved hearing her voice. I appreciate that she took the time to think through this and share some of her moments of shame and fear. I wish I could find more books just like this, as I feel better and stronger after listening. AND, it kept me busy for so many long hours in the car and cleaning.

  • Anonymous

    This book is an eloquent peek into the mind of one whose thinking has become distorted and irrational. It gives insight into any disordered thinking. She is so hard on herself whilst she is going through this, and she cannot see what we can see. For a while, we can also see what she can see. That is its power. Bravo, Portia!

  • zachariah savard

    Wow! I had no idea that Portia was so messed up before. It's interesting to hear a tale of anorexia. You always see those 'way to skinny' people and I always wondered what goes on in their heads.

  • Anonymous

    This woman is so full of herself, it is unbelievable. I always find it interesting when I dislike a person MORE after reading their autobiography. That is a sign that that person is not so great. I though this woman was interesting before listening to her dribble for too many CD's. Her voice is terrible.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting book. Hope a lot of people with eating disorders read or listen to this book. Blew my mind when Portia stated she wouldn't brush her teeth with toothpaste for fear of gaining weight from the toothpaste!

  • Anonymous

    How wonderfully told by Portia. For such a beautiful and talented young womn to have such low self esteem is a tragedy. Listening to Ms De Rossi tell her of her struggles is an amazing look into the difficult world of living in the public persona. You greatly deserve all of the happiness you have finally found.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

by Portia De Rossi

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Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, Portia De Rossi