TV | March 10, 2022 12:26 pm

Sebastian Stan Says Losing Weight for “Pam & Tommy” Triggered Body Dysmorphia

The "Pam & Tommy" star is latest male celebrity to speak out about the grueling demands of getting in shape for roles

Sebastian Stan attends the Los Angeles Finale Premiere For Hulu's "Pam & Tommy" at The Greek Theatre on March 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Sebastian Stan has body dysmorphia too.
Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Historically, women in Hollywood have had a monopoly on succumbing to body image issues triggered by grueling demands to “get in shape” for a role. Recently, however, male stars have also begun opening up about the toll an intense pre-role diet and exercise regimen can take on the psyche.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Pam & Tommy star Sebastian Stan detailed the extreme weight loss plan he employed to slim down for his role as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, which involved months of intense cardio and “fasting for 16 to 18 hours a day.” According to Stan, the demanding diet and exercise program triggered feelings of body dysmorphia, something he claims he’s “always” struggled with.

“I was trying to lose weight and I still felt I didn’t lose enough weight,” Stan told Entertainment Weekly. “And people were telling me I was crazy and going, ‘You have body dysmorphia now’ — which I always did anyway.”

The star went on to argue that body dysmorphia is an almost universal experience, particularly among those who reach a certain level of “peak” physical fitness. “Anybody that even has a healthy physique to some extent has body dysmorphia,” he said, explaining that once you reach that peak, “your body can only be at peak 100 percent for like maybe a week or something.” After that, “you spend the rest of the time going, ‘I’m not what I used to be.’ But it’s just all in the head.”

It’s refreshing to hear a male celebrity speak so openly about body image and the mental and emotional toll of weight loss in a culture that, by and large, still tends to treat eating disorders and body image issues as “women’s problems.” Encouragingly, Stan isn’t the first man in Hollywood to speak up about the grueling demands of shaping up for a role. Earlier this year, Channing Tatum revealed he almost turned down Magic Mike 3 because maintaining the level of physical excellence required for the role demanded nothing short of starvation.

“Even if you do work out, to be in that kind of shape is not natural,” he said. “You have to starve yourself. I don’t think when you’re that lean it’s actually healthy for you.”

Meanwhile, Robert Pattinson has also expressed relief that his days of training for his starring role in The Batman are finally behind him, comments that echo Zach Efron’s infamous post-Baywatch statement back in 2017: “I never want to be in that good of shape again.”

The point is, men, too can have body dysmorphia. And while this isn’t good news, per se, seeing some of Hollywood’s fittest leading men finally opening up about the mental toll of physical excellence seems like a step in the right direction.