The Waltons it became popular for denigrating family life with an emphasis on love and morality. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the experience of some of the behind-the-scenes actors.
Mary Elizabeth McDonough says that an idea about her weight from someone she worked with sent her down into a spinner. Fortunately, she had co-star John Ritter who gave her life-changing advice.
Mary Elizabeth McDonough gives details of developing unhealthy eating habits
McDonough began to participate The Waltons when she was only 11-years-old. She stayed in the team for nearly ten years, into the late teens.
Despite the success and recognition she received from the show, McDonough says she began to raise issues with her body image as a result of being told she was obese.
The Daily Mail reporting that during an interview in 2017 with Loose women, McDonough said of her character: “Erin should have been very beautiful, so I was under a lot of pressure to look a certain way and measure a certain amount.”
As a result, McDonough began to pattern unhealthy eating patterns to fit the mold. “I created a body image issue for myself – a lot of radical diet and hunger and trying to get in and be perfect until I realized that perfection is not that way,” she said.
Mary Elizabeth McDonough explains how John Ritter saved her life
McDonough’s poor eating habits and diet began to have a detrimental effect on her health. During 2015 view of Oprah: Where are they now?, she explained just how badly her health issues had deteriorated.
“The message came to me in this pressure to be perfect and to look perfect and to be perfect and to make no mistakes, and that really affected me,” she said. “When I was 15 I had an ulcer, my hair started to fall out, those scratches were on my head, and I remember my parents taking me to the doctor.
Unfortunately, McDonough’s parents were unaware of her insecurities. “And the doctor said, ‘Well, is she under any pressure?’ And my parents said, ‘No, she’ s the luckiest girl in the world – Are you calling me? ‘”
Related: ‘The Waltons’ star Mary Beth McDonough Felt ‘Humiliated and Devastated’ by Brat Pack Actress
Fortunately, Ritter, who starred on several shows of The Waltons McDonough noticed he was sad and unhappy.
She says Ritter would always ask her if she was okay. Per McDonough, Ritter refused to accept “I’m fine” as a response from McDonough and suggested something that finally put her on the right track.
He said, ‘No, no, I want you to start making a diary. ‘And that night I started doing journalism and it saved my life,’ said McDonough.
Other health issues by Mary Elizabeth McDonough
McDonough continued to act, appearing in film and television projects including Boston General Hospital, Legal, and Mortuary.
Unfortunately, she suffered more health issues later in life. At age 35, McDonough was diagnosed with lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissues. She says the lupus comes from a breast implant procedure she underwent nearly a decade earlier.
“I had breast implants trying to get in and be part of the ‘Dallas’ era,” McDonough said. Fox News in 2015. “I made that choice because I was told they were safe and would last a lifetime. They weren’t and I got really sick … My implants broke and fell into my chest. I was sick for 10 years and no one knew what was wrong with me. ”
The implants were subsequently removed and she says that decision helped to get her health back on track.