Sadie Robertson cleared the air on the real issues that sparked her eating disorder after fans dissected the timeline and theorized that Dancing With the Stars was to blame.
The 20-year-old Duck Dynasty cast member sat down with Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday to talk about struggling with fear and overcoming her eating disorder, which many assumed to be a product of her time on the ABC reality dancing competition.
"It has nothing to do with Dancing With the Stars," Robertson said of her eating disorder. "It has everything to do with what I was walking in with that season of my life. And what happened is… when you get to a state of your body looks really good for some reason or another. For me, I was dancing eight hours a day — of course you're going to look good and that's not always going to be a reality."
"When I came away from that my mindset was, 'I have to be that. I'm now not good enough because I'm not where I was,' which got me to an unhealthy place because, for me, the only reason to obtain that was going down this cycle of not good things," she continued. "That's whenever it got warped."
In September, Robertson revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder in the year after competing on the show in 2014. She shared details outlining how counting calories and measuring her body overtook her life.
She revealed to ET that her unhealthy body-image was coupled with feelings of fear and anxiety, which was "a very scary place to be because it literally silences your voice."
Robertson admitted that she started "striving to look" the way others told her she should, which she now admits was "unrealistic and unhealthy for me to do."
"It was unhealthy and so consuming of your mind… And whenever you do that, you really can't see yourself, one, for who you are or, two, for what your purposed to do because you're distracted by what you [think you're] supposed to look like," she shared. "That's really sad, and that's where a lot of people find themselves."
To overcome her toxic mindset and unhealthy habits, Robertson said she rid her life of mean-spirited people and stopped putting "value to the comments of how I was supposed to look."
"I had to get rid of the lies of the people that were talking in my ears. I had to get rid of looking at the comments and all that stuff. And look at myself and say, 'OK, Sadie. Who are you?'" she said.
"And I'll never forget whenever I did that, when I got some things out of my life, and I looked in the mirror, I just started sobbing because I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, I don't even know who this person is because I've been so distracted with what I'm supposed to look like that I forgot what I'm purposed to do,'" she added.
The former Dancing With the Stars contestant also addressed rumors that she and professional partner Mark Ballas have a strained relationship, slamming them as both untrue and hurtful.
"I love Dancing With the Stars and I love my family out there. Mark is like a brother to me. He's the best partner ever, the whole cast, the whole crew, they're amazing. Those headlines made me so sad," Robertson said of rumors that she regretted her time on the show.
"The thing [was], it was all me. I was scared to do it. I was afraid of comments. I was afraid of the judges, I was afraid of what people might think of me, all these different things. I was encrypted in fear. So it was a me problem, not a Dancing With the Stars problem," she added.
She recalled a time when headlines were published claiming that she dissed the show and her former partner — then Ballas confronted her about the stories.
"It's funny, Mark texted me that night and asked, 'Did you say this?' and I said, 'Are you kidding, no I didn't say that. Dude, you're my brother,'" she said.
Overall, Robertson credits her time on the reality show for allowing her to experience a range of emotions and giving her the tools to overcome them.
"It was what I had to face during that, which was overcoming fear, and to me I look back at that season of my life and that was when fear was conquered," she explained.0comments
"I will always look back on that and say, 'Thank goodness that happened because I had to grow up so much in those three months,'" she continued. "It helped me and it made me walk so much more confident and so much stronger."
Robertson's book, Live Fearless, is on shelves now.