Delta Burke Reveals Struggles with Weight, Addiction During 'Designing Women' Era

Delta Burke opens up about the intense public scrutiny and pressure she faced over her weight during her 'Designing Women' fame, leading her to turn to crystal meth in a desperate attempt to cope. Her story highlights the devastating impact of body shaming in Hollywood.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Delta Burke Reveals Struggles with Weight, Addiction During 'Designing Women' Era

Delta Burke Reveals Struggles with Weight, Addiction During 'Designing Women' Era

Delta Burke, the actress best known for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker on the hit TV sitcom 'Designing Women', has opened up about the intense public scrutiny she faced over her weight and the toll it took on her mental health during the height of her career in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In a candid interview, Burke discussed her 'ugly and very sad' exit from the show in 1991, revealing that she turned to crystal meth in a desperate attempt to lose weight and cope with the pressure.

Burke, who earned two Emmy nominations for her portrayal of the glamorous divorcee Suzanne Sugarbaker, said she was constantly criticized for her appearance and weight gain while starring on 'Designing Women'. "People were constantly telling me that my 'butt's too big' and 'legs are too big'," Burke recalled. The relentless scrutiny led her to seek out extreme methods for weight loss, including using illegal diet pills and crystal meth, which she was initially unaware of.

The actress claimed that the show's creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, pressured her to lose weight and that their relationship was a complex 'love-hate' dynamic. Burke felt 'emotionally too fragile' to handle the 'incredibly ugly' narratives surrounding her size and said she wanted to leave the show but was not allowed to. "I was treated 'more like a slave' on the set," Burke alleged.

Despite the challenges, Burke expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play such an amazing character and for meeting her husband, actor Gerald McRaney, during her time on 'Designing Women'. However, the fame and criticism ultimately proved too much to bear, and Burke left the show after its fifth season in 1991, describing her departure as 'ugly and very sad'.

Why this matters: Delta Burke's story sheds light on the intense pressures and unrealistic beauty standards faced by actresses in Hollywood, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. Her experience highlights the devastating impact that public scrutiny and body shaming can have on an individual's mental health and well-being, and serves as a reminder of the importance of nurturing a more inclusive and supportive environment in the entertainment industry.

After leaving 'Designing Women' and Hollywood altogether, Burke kept a low profile, focusing on her personal life and mental health. She admitted that the 'joy of acting' had been 'ruined by the ugliness' of the industry and the toll it had taken on her. Now, over three decades later, Burke is sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others who may be facing similar struggles to seek support and prioritize their well-being. "I'm in a much better place now, living a low-profile life with my husband of 35 years and feeling 'safe and loved'," Burke said, reflecting on her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • Delta Burke faced intense public scrutiny over her weight while on 'Designing Women'.
  • Burke turned to crystal meth in a desperate attempt to lose weight and cope.
  • The show's creator pressured Burke to lose weight, leading to a 'love-hate' dynamic.
  • Burke's departure from the show in 1991 was 'ugly and very sad' due to the pressure.
  • Burke's story highlights the impact of unrealistic beauty standards in Hollywood.