‘American Idol’ Runner-Up Caleb Lee Hutchinson Opens Up About Eating Disorder Struggles

Jill O'Rourke
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Caleb Lee Hutchinson performs at Conservation Aid A Live Concert to Benefit The NWTF FoundationPhoto by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

American Idol Season 16 runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson recently opened up about his struggles with an eating disorder on an episode of his podcast. Hutchinson even revealed that he was in the hospital before his Idol audition because of it.


Caleb Lee Hutchinson Opens Up About Eating Disorder

During a recent episode of his Green Couch Podcast, Hutchinson chatted with his friend Sam Aldrich about his struggles with body image. After a bad breakup in high school, Hutchinson became “hyperfixated” on losing weight, to the point of eating just a granola bar and an apple each day.

Hutchinson experienced health issues as a result, including losing his hair. He was even hospitalized “a month or two” before auditioning for American Idol. The doctors thought he had mono, but his own belief is that his body was shutting down from “starving myself.”

The singer lost another 20 pounds during this time, which he was happy about despite how terrible he felt physically. He said he “would have risked killing myself to feel good about how I looked.”


When he appeared on Idol, people referred to him as “the fat kid,” which spurred him to lose even more weight. He said that by the end of his time on the show, he had gone down to 185 pounds, having previously weighed around 315.

SEE ALSO: TIMELINE OF ‘AMERICAN IDOL’S MOST ADORABLE COUPLE: CALEB LEE HUTCHINSON, MADDIE POPPE

Hutchinson’s Struggle Continued After the Show

Hutchinson said he chose to “be all cute about” his weight loss during his time on American Idol, rather than reveal the actual struggles he was dealing with. After his time on the show, he became interested in gaining muscle weight. However, he still got messages from people telling him how sad it was that he was losing progress.


The singer said this “really messed me up,” and he “started to slip into, I guess I would say bulimic tendencies.” At first he told himself that he was throwing up because of the size of his stomach, but he eventually realized that he was “picking foods that I could throw up easier.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic happened, Hutchinson lost his gym routine and wasn’t sure when he would perform again. As a result, he started gaining weight back, saying that “it felt good, and then it didn’t.”

Hutchinson said he thinks it’s important to talk about how these issues affect men as well as women, sharing that this misconception was part of why he didn’t think he had a problem. He told any other men who are dealing with similar issues that they’re “just as valid.”

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