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Kate Winslet calls Ozempic ‘terrible’ as she opens up about past eating disorder

Kate Winslet has revealed she previously struggled with an eating disorder amid the rising popularity of weight loss drug Ozempic.

The 48-year-old British actor opened up about enduring years of public scrutiny for her weight in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times published on 5 March. While speaking to the outlet, Winslet learned about popular Type 2 diabetes medication Ozempic, which has been prescribed as an off-label weight loss drug due to its side effects.

“I actually don’t know what Ozempic is,” the Mare of Easttown star revealed. “All I know is that it’s some pill that people are taking or something like that.”

The outlet noted that Ozempic - which is the brand name for semaglutide - has yet to reach widespread popularity in the UK as it has in the US. Winslet then asked exactly what Ozempic does, according to The New York Times, with “her mouth full of pastry”.

Rather than a pill, Ozempic is a once-weekly injection that works by mimicking a hormone to regulate appetite and create the feeling of fullness. As The Holiday star learned how the medication works, she appeared “appalled” that Ozempic has “dampened” interest in food.

“Oh, my God,” she replied. “This sounds terrible. Let’s eat some more things!”

Elsewhere during the interview, Winslet recalled how her shot to stardom in the 1997 film Titanic occurred around the same time that she was struggling with an eating disorder. When Winslet was just 22 years old, comedian Joan Rivers had cracked a joke about her sinking the Titanic. Winslet attempted to stifle conversations surrounding her weight in a 1998 article with Rolling Stone, in which she explained that she was a heavyset teenager who “sensibly lost the weight doing Weight Watchers”.

Winslet admitted to The New York Times that she “never told anyone about” her eating disorder at the time. “Because guess what - people in the world around you go: ‘Hey, you look great! You lost weight!’” she said.

“So even the compliment about looking good is connected to weight. And that is one thing I will not let people talk about. If they do, I pull them up straight away,” Winslet added.

‘Titanic’ stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet attend Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on 18 January 1998 (Getty Images)
‘Titanic’ stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet attend Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on 18 January 1998 (Getty Images)

This isn’t the first time the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind star has opened up about facing intense public criticism at such an early age. In a recent interview with Net-a-Porter, Winslet reflected on the emotional toll that the success of Titanic had on her, and how media intrusion made her life more difficult.

“I felt like I had to look a certain way, or be a certain thing, and because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant,” she said.

She acknowledged that after starring in Titanic, she preferred to take on much smaller roles. “Journalists would always say: ‘After Titanic, you could have done anything and yet you chose to do these small things’… and I was like: ‘Yeah, you bet your f***in’ life I did!” Winslet recalled.

“Because, guess what, being famous was horrible,” she added. “I was grateful, of course. I was in my early twenties, and I was able to get a flat. But I didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”

In December 2022, the Divergent actor discussed being relentlessly body-shamed in the media following the global success of Titanic. Speaking to the Sunday Times, she remembered being called “blubber” and receiving advice to settle for “fat girl” roles.

“It can be extremely negative. People are subject to scrutiny that is more than a young, vulnerable person can cope with,” Winslet said.

“But in the film industry, it is really changing,” she added. “When I was younger my agent would get calls saying: ‘How’s her weight?’ I kid you not. So it’s heartwarming that this has started to change.”

During an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Winslet revealed exactly how she would respond to body-shamers if she had the chance to “turn back the clock”.

“I would have said: ‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, I’m figuring it out, I’m deeply insecure, I’m terrified, don’t make this any harder than it already is,’” she explained. “That’s bullying, you know, and actually borderline abusive, I would say.”

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.