Hayden Panettiere began acting when she was relatively young and has been through a lot. Now the 23-year-old has spoken out about her struggle with body dysmorphia, which can be a deadly disorder if not treated properly.
After a magazine published a photo of Panettiere with the word "cellulite" printed across it, Panettiere, 16 at the time, began to struggle and doubt her body image.
"I was mortified. It gave me such body dysmorphia for so long, but I remember reminding myself that beauty is an opinion, not a fact, and it has always made me feel better," she told Women's Health magazine.
"Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance. Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include medication and cognitive behavioral therapy," according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is a serious condition that can often lead to major depressive disorder and is reported to effect 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population. Many suffer in silence, but Panettiere is hoping to break the silence and foster safe, helpful dialogue for any and all who may suffer from the condition.
"Eating healthy is a constant battle," she admitted. "I find when I'm overly concerned about what I eat, I stress out my body and put on weight. People can tell when you're happy with being you and when you're not. It's only cheesy because it's true."
"As I've gotten older and grown into my body, I've started realizing that the way you carry yourself and that light coming out of your eyes are the most attractive things about you," Panettiere added.
Panettiere has built a successful career in both movies and TV, starring in such shows as "Guiding Light" and "Heroes" and movies including "Remember the Titans." She will next star in the new series "Nashville," which premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 10 on ABC.