Gabourey Sidibe has certainly encountered her fair share of haters who seem fixated on her weight. After skyrocketing to fame for her performance in Precious, Sidibe’s profile has only grown. Still, the fixation with her weight hasn’t faltered, and it’s a topic that Sidibe isn’t afraid to discuss these days in the press. In fact, in her upcoming memoir, “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare,” Sidibe tackles the issue head-on, revealing she underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery back in May 2016 after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
She’s certainly lost weight since then — but the comments, positive and negative, have poured in, she told Nylon in the magazine’s cover story. And to the haters, well, she’s got a few thoughts: “You don’t get to talk about my body if you like it or not; it’s my body,” Sidibe told Nylon. “And yeah, I have been struggling with weight my entire life. I realize that as long as I have a body, it will be a struggle.”
The criticism and body-shaming became particularly bad during the second season of Empire, after a racy sex scene Sidibe filmed. (And to be clear, the scene was tamer by the time it aired, Sidibe told the magazine.) It was clear, Sidibe told Nylon, the problem people had wasn’t with the scene; it was with a woman of her size filming such a scene. She told Nylon:
“It was only a big deal, though, because I happen to be in this body, this body that I have had my entire life and career. You all knew I was fat then; don’t turn on the TV and still be surprised I am fat. It implies that people with bigger bodies don’t find love and aren’t worth loving. Why don’t I deserve it? Because I’m not skinny? I love my body and I deserve love. We all do at any size.”
Sidibe might be thinner today than she once was — but to be clear, the surgery she secretly underwent last year wasn’t a decision she arrived at lightly. After struggling for years with body issues, bulimia, and anxiety, Sidibe told People that she finally overcame them with the aid of therapy, not surgery. “It has taken me years to realize that what I was born with is all beautiful,” Sidibe writes in her book, according to People. “I did not get this surgery to be beautiful. I did it so I can walk around comfortably in heels. I want to do a cartwheel. I want not to be in pain every time I walk up a flight of stairs.”