It's been a few seasons since Britt Nilsson competed for Chris Soules' heart on The Bachelor, but she's one of those contestants who is hard to forget, especially since she was also briefly featured on The Bachelorette before losing out on the gig to Kaitlyn Bristowe. But although Nilsson, with her perfect makeup and seriously enviable hair, seemed to have it all together at the time, as it turns out, being on the show definitely wasn't easy for her, even though she was considered a front runner for almost the entire season. In a new video posted on her Youtube channel, Nilsson revealed she suffered from bulimia and alcoholism for years, including during the time she was on The Bachelor.
According to Nilsson's confession, when she was younger, she first realized she had binge eating disorder, and then that developed into bulimia in her college years and beyond. She also talks in the video about drinking and doing drugs like cocaine and weed, including getting high before school presentations.
As she explains, she used to throw up in secret at every chance she got, and since she was so ashamed of what she was doing, she continued to suffer in secret for years. And although there were times when things were better for her, a low point for her was when she moved into the Bachelor mansion and was confronted with a strange and stressful situation and tons of unlimited food everywhere.
(As Nillson notes in her video, if you are sensitive to hearing details about eating disorders, consider not viewing the clip.)
She says in the video:
"You’re mic-ed 24/7, and I would take my mic off and try to hide it under towels so they wouldn’t hear me throw up, because then that was going to be the show and that was going to be a plot line. And how horrible would that be, to be the girl who has an eating disorder, who can’t stop eating and throwing up? ... I mean, I had broken blood vessels. I would throw up until I was bleeding out of my nose. I just couldn’t stop, and that’s kind of been a theme in my life ... I had pain and anxiety, I felt insecure, I didn’t feel pretty enough, I didn’t know what was going on, I missed my family. I was totally terrified that it was going to be caught on a mic and that millions of people were going to know that I just couldn’t control myself. It was really, really hard for me, and it just kept going and going.”
Nilsson also added that she didn't know that the other women were talking about her behind her back about topics unrelated to her eating disorder until the end of the filming, but even so, she felt anxious enough that it triggered all her bad habits all over again. It's hard to blame her — living in the fishbowl of the Bachelor mansion while competing with several other women for one man? That can't be easy for anyone, let alone someone who has struggled with an eating disorder and addiction in the past.
Having this perspective on Nilsson's experience on the show is so important for Bachelor fans, because it's something we so rarely get. The drama between contestants is always showcased, and it's clear that as much fun as being on the show looks, it definitely has its difficult moments. But from watching Nilsson on The Bachelor, you never would have known that she was struggling with something as hard as this when she wasn't on camera.
Nilsson's story is a good reminder to fans that we should all have more compassion when judging contestants on the show in the future. Part of the fun of watching a show like The Bachelor is indulging in the drama that happens onscreen, but it's important to remember that the show is not the full story of their lives. Even if we think we know these people from watching every Monday night, they're still strangers — and they all have real lives and real problems.
Fortunately, it sounds like Nilsson is doing much better these days. In her vlog, she says that she's been sober since The Bachelor and that her fiancé, Jeremy Burne, has been a huge part of helping her conquer her addiction and bulimia.
It's great to hear that Nilsson has been able to make a healthy recovery since then, and even though it couldn't have been easy to share her story, there's no doubt she's helped someone who's faced the same thing. Maybe when the next season of The Bachelor rolls around, between the memes and hilarious live tweets, we could all take a second to remember the contestants we're watching are real people.