Candace Cameron Bure says eating disorder struggle 'never goes away'

Are the Kids Alright? is Yahoo Entertainment's video interview series exploring the impact of show business on the development and well-being of former child entertainers, from triumphs to traumas.

Candace Cameron Bure is 40 years into a thriving acting career: She's played D.J. Tanner on '80s series Full House, plus its sequel, this decade; been involved in the national conversation as a host on The View in the 2010s; and, over the last decade or so, has headlined a long list of Hallmark movies — all while continuing to stun.

And yet the thing people usually want to talk to her about is her size.

"It's still today the most common comment that gets spoken to me is, like, 'Wow, you're so small! Wow, you're thin!' It was always … even as a child, like, 'Wow, you're a lot smaller in person than you look on TV. You're so chubby on TV.'" Bure tells Yahoo Entertainment, "And, you know, when you hear those things over and over again, and they become so repetitive, it can often become your identity to an extent, or it makes you perceive yourself in a way that you didn't even think you were, because other people keep speaking that into you."

Bure has explained that, after the original Full House concluded, she developed bulimia. While she was on the show, she says, producers had been intent on providing a healthy environment for her and the other child actors, because they were aware that Tracey Gold, an actress on another one of the network's shows, Growing Pains, suffered from anorexia. It was afterward, when she moved to Montreal, a city where she didn't know anyone, with then fiancé Valeri Bure, that she began binging and purging. She's previously insisted that her problem with food was actually the result of emotional issues, rather than body image issues, and that she eventually overcame it with the help of her pastor and loved ones.

"You know, today I'm great," Bure says. "I think when you struggle with something like that, it never goes away, but you have the tools in place to know how to handle it when those temptations or urges arise … so that you don't go back to old patterns. And I'm sure that's gonna be the way it will be for the rest of my life." 

Bure is thankful, especially for the sake of her actress daughter, 23-year-old Natasha Bure, for a world that embraces many more body types.

"I'm so glad that the culture is different today. One thing we've done a great job with is encouraging body confidence, body positivity and that all shapes and sizes are beautiful," she says. "It makes raising a daughter — and sons — but a daughter, that much easier, because we have great role models and the message across the board from the media and magazines is very different than it was, you know, in '80s and '90s."

Bure cherishes her experience on Full House, describing the set as "truly the best environment you could put a child in, as far as television." She praises her parents for ensuring she had a truly wonderful experience growing up in Hollywood, filled with a family that treated her and her siblings normally, regardless of their status in the entertainment industry. But she would have changed one thing about having grown up in Hollywood, and that's how much she believed in herself.

"I don't know how you tell your 10-year-old self to have more confidence and not listen to what other people say to you," she says. "I think, like, I'm still learning that at 45 years old, but that's what I would want to tell her, is like, 'Don't worry about everyone else's opinion. Just be you, and you're good enough."

Bure's latest Hallmark movie, The Christmas Contest, premieres Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

— Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jimmie Rhee

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