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Basketball Wives star Tami Roman, 50, has been struggling with an eating disorder since AGE 13

Tami Roman has revealed she has been struggling with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder since she was 13, saying her obsession with losing weight led her to go as far as having her mouth wired shut. 

The Basketball Wives star opened up about her ongoing battle with body image and how her type 2 diabetes has caused her recent weight fluctuations during a recent episode of The Real.

‘I suffer from body [dysmorphic] disorder, and I’ve been dealing with it since I was 13 years old,’ Roman, 50, told the hosts. ‘A lot of people don’t know it’s either hereditary or genetic or comes from a negative experience, where your self-image has been annihilated.’

Candid: Tami Roman, 50, revealed her struggles with body dysmorphic disorder and how it triggered an eating disorder during a recent episode of The Real

Concerns: Roman sparked fears for her health last month when fans noticed her drastic weight loss in her recent Instagram posts. She's pictured in September 2017

She's pictured in October 2021

Concerns: Roman sparked fears for her health last month when fans noticed her drastic weight loss in her recent Instagram posts. She’s pictured in September 2017 (L) and October 2021 (R)

Body dysmorphic disorder (BBD) is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about perceived defects or flaws in your appearance, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Roman explained that she developed the disorder after a meeting with a modeling agency as a young teen destroyed her self-confidence.  

‘For me, when I was 13 years old, I wanted to be a model. You know we’re from New York. I was tall, I was 5’9, I was thin. And I went to this agency and walked in, and that lady ripped me to shreds,’ she recalled. ‘I thought I was perfect: 5’9″, less than 120 pounds. Assuredly, they’re going to sign me.

‘And she literally stood me in front of a mirror and said, “You’ve got back folds, you’ve got fat over your knees. You need to do something with your chin. Your breasts are sagging.” And I went home that night, and from that moment, every time I looked at myself in the mirror I could find something wrong with myself.’

The Real World alum said she didn’t know what body dysmorphic disorder was or how to deal with it at the time. She only knew she had to ‘get skinnier’ if she wanted to be a model.  

Looking back: The Basketball Wives star explained that she wanted to be a model when she was 13 and assumed she would be signed with an agency because she was tall and thin

Looking back: The Basketball Wives star explained that she wanted to be a model when she was 13 and assumed she would be signed with an agency because she was tall and thin

Hard: However, she said the agent 'ripped me to shreds,' telling her she had back folds and fat over her knees. From that moment on, she only saw flaws when she looked in the mirror

Hard: However, she said the agent ‘ripped me to shreds,’ telling her she had back folds and fat over her knees. From that moment on, she only saw flaws when she looked in the mirror

‘I started abusing laxatives, I started not eating, I started throwing up, I started doing everything that I could think of to do to be as skinny as I could possibly be, being obsessive about my weight loss,’ she said. ‘People don’t realize, that’s why I got my mouth wired in 1993 to be skinny when I was already skinny.’ 

Roman sparked fears for her health last month when fans noticed her drastic weight loss in her recent Instagram posts. She explained on the show that managing her diabetes along with her body dysmorphia has been difficult. 

‘Now today at 50 years old, I’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and so my weight fluctuates with that, and you couple that with the disorder, it’s a hard thing to manage,’ she said. 

‘People don’t understand what it is to be a person with this disorder, particularly dealing with the weight issues, because they leave negative comments — or what they feel are negative comments. But for me, my mind has such a warped sense of perception, it’s a compliment.’ 

Struggles: Roman (pictured in 1994) shared that she became obsessed with losing weight and  had her mouth wired shut to lose weight in 1993, even though she was already skinny

Struggles: Roman (pictured in 1994) shared that she became obsessed with losing weight and  had her mouth wired shut to lose weight in 1993, even though she was already skinny 

Struggle: 'I started abusing laxatives, I started not eating, I started throwing up, I started doing everything that I could think of to do to be as skinny as I could possibly be,' she said

Struggle: ‘I started abusing laxatives, I started not eating, I started throwing up, I started doing everything that I could think of to do to be as skinny as I could possibly be,’ she said 

The reality star admitted that being told she looks ‘frail’ or ‘like a bobblehead’ makes her feel like she is ‘on the right track’ and ‘getting skinny.’

‘Then I don’t know when to stop,’ she said.    

Roman’s weight has been a hot topic over the years, and it was even criticized by her former Basketball Wives co-star Evelyn Lozada during an episode in 2018.

‘You need to worry about something else, like your health,’ Lozada snapped at her. ‘You’re lookin’ like a crackhead these days… take a vitamin. Your legs look like two motherf**king candlesticks burning in the god damn sun.’

Roman later addressed her weight issues, chalking it up to her battle with diabetes.

Ongoing battle: Roman explained on the talk show that managing her type 2 diabetes along with her body dysmorphia has been difficult

Ongoing battle: Roman explained on the talk show that managing her type 2 diabetes along with her body dysmorphia has been difficult

Health concerns: The mother of two said her weight fluctuates because of her type 2 diabetes. She is pictured in April 2017

She is pictured in November 2021

Health concerns: The mother of two said her weight fluctuates because of her type 2 diabetes. She is pictured in April 2017 and November 2021 

Mixed messages: Roman admitted that she has such a 'warped sense of perception' that negative comments about her looking too thin feel like 'compliments' to her

Mixed messages: Roman admitted that she has such a ‘warped sense of perception’ that negative comments about her looking too thin feel like ‘compliments’ to her

‘I’m a diabetic, okay? So for me, my weight is very serious,’ she said in season seven. ‘I finally decided to take charge of my f**king life so that I can live for my kids and my man, and so because of that, I lose weight. I’m 48 years old. You know what I’m saying? So this is how my body reacts to me making proper choices with my diet.’

Roman also lost weight back in 2012, which she attributed to the weight-loss pill NV Clinical, for which she was a spokesperson at the time.

‘I lost seven pounds in the first week of taking NV without making any major changes to my life,’ she told Shape magazine.

Roman shot to fame in 1993 on the second season of MTV’s The Real World, and she went on to marry NBA player Kenny Anderson the following year. She and Anderson had two children daughters — Lyric and Jazz — before they divorced in 2001. 

She worked as an actress and had small roles before she was cast in VH1’s Housewives-inspired reality series Basketball Wives. Since then, she has appeared on Marriage Boot Camp and BET’s The Family Business.

Roman married her second husband Reggie Youngblood in 2018. She’s currently starring in The Ms. Pat Show on BET+ and will also be featured in The Real World: Homecoming season two on Paramount+ in November.

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