The actress gets brutally honest about her struggle with her weight, past family trauma, and her star-making role on NBC's hit TV show.
- Posted on Mar 27, 2018
After just a few minutes chatting with Chrissy Metz, it’s easy to see why the This Is Us actress is so beloved by her fans. She’s honest, funny, compassionate, and fearlessly vulnerable.
It’s that last quality that’s helped fuel her rise to stardom. She utilizes it to play Kate Pearson on the wildly popular NBC family drama, gifting audiences with tear-jerking performances week-after-week as a late 30s woman struggling with guilt over her father’s death and fighting her own battles with body confidence.
But her willingness to be open and unflinchingly honest isn’t just reserved for the life she portrays on screen. With her new memoir, This Is Me: Loving The Person You Are Today, which hits shelves March 27th, Metz hopes that by inviting people into her life, recounting her own struggles with weight and family, and sharing the lessons she’s learned on her journey to self-acceptance, she can inspire others to live their most authentic life.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
“We all have significant, incredible stories that would help each other if we were vulnerable enough to share them,” Metz tells Guideposts.org of why she decided to write her book. “I thought, ‘You know what, Chrissy? [as an actor] Your job is to portray someone’s private life publicly. What better way to support and encourage other people to share their stories but to do it yourself as Chrissy and not a character?’”
Metz, whose hit show just ended its second season, began working on her book six months ago. Once she got over the hurdle of believing that people would actually be interested in her story, she started writing it down and quickly realized she had a lot to say. From family trauma and physical abuse to her life-long battle with her weight and using food as a coping mechanism, the actress was forced to confront plenty of hard truths about herself and reopen old wounds she thought had healed.
“I thought I had dealt with a lot of that pain and some of it I had and some of it I hadn’t,” Metz admits. “All of these experiences have shaped me, and they are all important. That's the whole point of this, it's not what happens to you but what happens for you. I had to realize what my part was in all of this and why I wanted to tell this story.”
Much of the book is about Metz’s relationship to food and how overeating helped her manage a strained relationship with her father and volatile relationship with her stepfather. Her own journey with her weight is why she’s so pleased that her character on This Is Us is treated with sensitivity and respect.
“There are all sorts of ways that we all individually cope with grief or sadness or fill in the blank,” Metz says. “With Kate, it just happens to be food. Obviously, I can relate to that as a human being because growing up, food was love and that was comfort and there was solace in that. To see that there's a character on a network television show who’s not a complete mockery of plus size people, but that has layers and heart and hope and drive and dreams, it was so refreshing. Typically, plus size people are the butt of the joke.”
She hopes that by sharing her story in her book, and Kate’s on screen, people might have a bit more empathy for each other.
“Perfect people don't just sit around and eat for no reason, or because they're lazy, or x, y, z. There's a reason why and that grief is put on physically whereas some people you can't ever tell what they're going through and what they use to fill the void,” Metz says. “It’s really nice to see a character authentically depicted in a way that is opening people's minds and hearts because that's what we need. We need to just be kinder to ourselves and of course to each other.”
And in case you were wondering, she’s as in the dark about her character’s journey come season three as the rest of us, but she does have her own ideas of where Kate should end up.
“I think that she's had a lot of people love her and help her and I think she wants to give that back, whether it's through music or becoming a therapist,” Metz says. “I don't know what that's going to look like for her because it could take on so many different faces, but I ultimately just want her to really come to terms with being happy and not beating herself up and not feeling guilty and still having so much pain and shame around her father's death. Whether she decides to lose weight or not, just finding that true happiness. I think that she's on her way, for sure.”