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Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay reveals eating disorder

Gemma Strong

Jessica Brown Findlay, who starred as Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey, has revealed she has been battling an eating disorder since she was 14 years old. The 27-year-old actress opened up about her personal struggle while criticising the pressure put on young people to confirm to society's "idea of beauty". She said that she hoped admitting her own issues would encourage others to come forward, and called for "mature conversation" about mental health and depression.

Jessica, a former ballerina, said in an interview with the Telegraph: "I'm doing Hamlet [in London's West End] and it explores a lot about mental health, and… I've had an eating disorder since I was 14. We can feed certain ideas of what beauty is and what success is. There has to come a time where those aren't the rules any more. Then we can have a mature conversation about what that is, and about depression." The star also spoke about the isolation she felt keeping her eating disorder a secret from others.

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Jessica Brown Findlay has been battling an eating disorder since she was 14

"I felt alone for so long, and I just hid," she admitted. "Then I started talking and held my head up and instead of saying sorry decided to tell myself that I matter. For a while I really shied away from things. It's about learning to stand up and say, 'This is me, and that's ok.' I'm not going to be a better actor if I'm a dress size smaller. It's nothing to do with my bum." Jessica got her breakout role in Downton back in 2010. She has just finished filming the costume drama series Harlots, which will air on ITV Encore later this month.

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The actress pictured with Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael

Meanwhile, earlier this week, it was confirmed that a script has been written for a Downton Abbey film. Jeremy Swift, who starred as butler Spratt on the show, told chat show host Lorraine Kelly: "There is a film script which we've all been sent, but it disappeared in a Mission Impossible style from our emails. With a little puff." He added: "It's supposed to be happening, filming, this year, but it hasn't been locked down yet. It's just about getting everybody in that same space and time. I think there's a huge appetite for it."

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