The quest to be thin in Hollywood doesn't limit itself to starlets, supermodels or the next hot, young thing.
Dennis Quaid has admitted in an interview with Best Life magazine that he battled anorexia in the mid-90s as he prepared to take on the part of an emaciated Doc Holliday for 1994's Wyatt Earp.
Holliday died of tuberculosis, and the role required Quaid to appear wasted away, a decidedly new look for the buff actor, whose physique has been on proud display in movies ranging from 1987's Innerspace to Flight of the Phoenix in 2004. Quaid lost about 40 pounds to play Holliday, compadre to Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp.
"My arms were so skinny that I couldn't pull myself out of a pool," Quaid, 51, told Best Life, as excerpted Friday in the New York Post. But the Day After Tomorrow star couldn't connect with the 138-pound frame in the mirror. He still saw himself as 180 pounds, he said, describing a common part of anorexia. People who suffer from the disease often carry a distorted picture in their minds of what they look like, feeling fat when in reality they could be skeletally thin.
"For many years I was obsessed about what I was eating, how many calories it had, and how much exercise I'd have to do," he said.
At least he was working in the right town. But now Quaid wants to use his experience to inform people that it can happen to men, too, that anorexia is not just a female issue.
The mentality of the disease, which he coined "manorexia," stuck with him, although he's obviously in fighting shape, having played characters in the past few years who have had to snowshoe for miles through a blizzard, pilot a pieced-together plane out of the desert and throw a 90-mph fastball (in The Rookie).
Quaid, who was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2002 for his role as Julianne Moore's closeted gay husband in Far from Heaven, got hitched to wife Kimberley Buffington in Montana on the July 4, 2004.
His nine-year marriage to Meg Ryan ended in 2000 amid reports that Ryan was stepping out with her Proof of Life costar, Russell Crowe, and that Quaid had cheated in the past. The two share custody of their 13-year-old son, Jack. Ryan adopted a baby girl from China in January, whom she named Daisy.
Although their separation is five years old, the media haven't tired of hearing what led to the couple's "I don'ts." Ryan has publicly explained--more than a few times--that her and Quaid's union was breaking down long before the tabloids got wind of any third-party action on her part, and that her husband wasn't unfaithful. She most recently described the marriage, to Oprah, as "unhealthy."
This time around Quaid was in the hot seat, as his Best Life interview inevitably turned toward his divorce, possibly to gauge his reaction to Ryan's latest comments.
"There was a lot of time spent apart," he said. "And I think everybody knows what happened in the end, but that was just a symptom of other things."
Next up Quaid will star in and direct the biopic Shame on You about western swing star Spade Cooley, who spent the '60s in prison for killing his wife in front of their daughter.