'New Amsterdam' Star Tyler Labine Talks About His Real-Life Struggles With Disordered Eating
Actor and comedian Tyler Labine has been acting since he was a teen and appeared in guest spots on shows such as Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of The Dark and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Tyler landed his first series regular role opposite a young Ryan Gosling on the teen drama Breaker Higher in 1997, where students attended high school on a cruise ship. Tyler portrayed funny Jimmy Farrell on the show.
Tyler is also known for his role in the supernatural comedy Reaper, in addition to Dale, the unsure but good-natured hillbilly in the comedy / horror Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Nowadays, Tyler is best known for playing Dr. Iggy Frome, head of psychiatry, in the hit NBC medical drama New Amsterdam. In Season 2 of the show, viewers saw Iggy address his body issues and how it affects how he sees his worth. In Episode 12, he says that he's going to make healthier food choices.
However, when Iggy is at work, he takes to eating junk food when upset. Due to the grief he's experiencing, Iggy is compelled to overeat. Last season, New Amsterdam didn't name was he was doing, but Season 3 Episode 2 clarifies that Iggy is struggling with an eating disorder, and Dr. Bloom (Janet Montgomery) confronts him about it. Is art imitating life? Do Tyler and his character share a common bond? Keep reading to find out more about Tyler's life.
'New Amsterdam’ star Tyler Labine struggled with an eating disorder for years.
In an interview with radio station 98.1 WOGL based in Philadelphia, Tyler revealed how the writers dug into his life. They used key parts in recent storylines for New Amsterdam, which included binge eating and dangerous fad dieting, a suicide attempt at age 12, and a decision to get help after decades of struggling made their way into the scripts.
He shared, “The main theme for Iggy, between Season 2 and Season 3, is that he doesn’t know how to love himself or love his own body. Which is cool because I struggle with that, and that’s not something I’ve seen represented from a male perspective in any type of medium.”
Tyler added, "My parents are big fans of the show, and they are going to be shocked. There is stuff in there that I haven’t even talked to them about.”
Tyler also spoke to People about his past making it on the show, and said, "I wish I'd done it sooner. It's been really cathartic to embark on this journey with Iggy, but it's a big breakthrough for me to tell my story, and hopefully, it will help other people."
Tyler then disclosed his journey in his own words stating, "Around nine, I started to get a little chubbier than my two brothers. One night my dad saw me with my shirt off, slapped my gut, and said, "Oh my God, that's disgusting. Look at that thing!"
He went on to say, "From then on he put me on these crash diets and made me feel very different from the rest of my family. He built a little makeshift gym in the basement and would take pictures of me to chart my progress. I felt like the love I received was in direct relation to how much weight I lost. At 11, I'd lie in bed at night dreaming about getting liposuction, and at 12, I made a clumsy attempt at killing myself. I was a really outgoing, funny kid, but I was in so much pain inside."
Unlike his character on 'New Amsterdam,' Tyler has sought out help for his eating disorder.
Tyler also told People that, after going to a few visits at an eating disorder clinic as a teen, he realized he had a serious eating disorder and was diagnosed with body dysmorphia. When he broke into the acting world, Tyler started to drink. He disclosed, "The 'funny fat guy' characters I often played seemed impervious to people's insults, but I would feel hurt by them. Drinking became a way for me to mask my feeling of being less-than."
Finally, in his late 30s, he got the help he desperately needed. He declared, "Now, I've been sober for the last three and a half years. I'm in a 12-step program, I'm on antianxiety meds, and I do talk therapy once or twice a week, which has allowed me to start erasing some of those messages from my parents."
Tyler concluded, "I'm learning to accept, surrender, and forgive, and I'm starting to look at myself as a more whole human being whose successes have nothing to do with weight. And dinners with my family are what they should be: We talk, we eat the same tasty food, and it's fun."
Hopefully, as the season unfolds, Iggy will learn how to handle his food addiction, and it will be interesting to see what role Dr. Bloom will play in his recovery.
You can catch New Amsterdam on NBC every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.