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JoJo Talks Extreme Diet as a Child Star: "Nutritionist Had Me on a 500-Calorie Diet a Day"

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She's ready to make her comeback.

If you were a tween in the mid-2000s, it's hard to forget JoJo's catchy singles such as "Leave (Get Out)" and "Too Little, Too Late." At the time, the singer became the youngest solo artist to top the Billboard charts at just the ripe age of 13. 

While her music career was taking off, JoJo also ventured into TV and film, starring in projects like Aquamarine and RV

But, in a new interview with Uproxx, the 29-year-old opened up about the ongoing legal trouble with her record label, being put on an extreme diet, and the reason she turned to drugs and alcohol to feel "worthy."

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JoJo talks life before and after child stardom — details extreme dieting, drug abuse, and more.

When she was just 12 years old, JoJo was signed to her first record label, Blackground Records, which was founded by Barry Hankerson, who was the late Aaliyah's uncle. "He started that label for her because she was so young that nobody would sign her," she explained to the outlet. "But hearing about how he had made Aaliyah into the icon that she was, we [JoJo and her mom] were obviously really interested in that." 

The singer revealed that the label set JoJo and her mom up with an apartment and car, and the company "felt like family to us." She continued: "I think that's what both my mom and I were really longing for deep down. Both of us come from very unstable family situations and they really appealed to that within us—that we were creating something that was going to last forever."

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JoJo in 2009

However, the relationship turned ugly as JoJo began pursuing other entertainment opportunities. She revealed that Blackground would not release her new music and she started questioning her appearance.

"When I was 18 I remember being sat down in the Blackground office and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible.' And I was like, ‘I'm actually the picture of health. I look like a healthy girl who eats and is active. I don't think this is about my health. I think that you want me to be really skinny.' He's like, ‘No, I wouldn't say that,'" she recalled.  

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JoJo in 2011.

Adding: "I ended up working with a nutritionist who had me on a 500-calorie diet a day. I was taking these injections that make you have no appetite. I was like, 'Let me see how thin I could become because maybe then they will put out an album. Maybe I'm so disgusting that nobody wants to see me in the video and they can't even look at me.' That's really what I thought."

JoJo eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with her pain.

"There were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out. I was just completely reckless, did not care. I needed to be buzzed to feel okay. I would go to the edge, stand on my tiptoes on the edge and then come back. I should be dead," she said. 

Though, she decided to fight for her release from the label and was eventually able to walk away in 2009.

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JoJo has since re-recorded her first two albums, which were previously owned by Blackground, and started her own record label with Warner Records. She is currently getting ready for a U.S. tour to promote her upcoming album, Good to Know, which will be released this spring.  

You go, girl!

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