The former Ally McBeal stars talks about her battle with anorexia in new memoir Unbearable Lightness and she fears she would be really ill or even dead if her brother hadn't voiced his opinion about the star's drastic weightloss.
De Rossi fears too many people worry that they'll be "shut out" or even disowned if they approach an anorexic about their concerns - but she insists it's the best thing you can do.
In a taped interview for her wife Ellen DeGeneres' TV talk show, the actress explains, "A lot of people don't say anything at all because they are worried that that person is just going to completely shut them out of their lives and that actually may happen.
"But it is really important to say something. And the thing that you should say... the thing that I would have responded to was, 'You look sick. You don't look well. You look like you're suffering' - because the anorexic wants to be admired.
"Dieting is really hard and, to get down to that weight, you want people to admire you... 'You're too thin' to me was more of a compliment. Who can be too thin? There is a joke about it. You can't ever be too thin. So that just felt like a compliment.
"Anything that would suggest that a girl is not as in control as she wants to appear to be is a better thing. Because an anorexic wants control more than anything."
The interview will air in America on Thursday (04Nov10).
"I love her and I am very proud to be her wife. I made up my name because I thought it was important to be independent of my family and... be an individual... As I have gotten older, I've realised the importance of belonging, and I really wanted to be a part of Ellen's family... By taking her name, (it) makes me feel like I have a family." Actress PORTIA DE ROSSI on her decision to legally change her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. She'll retain her stage name professionally.
The actress, who is married to Ellen DeGeneres, has opened up about her battle with anorexia in her new book Unbearable Lightness - and she fought back tears as she talked frankly about her lowest period during a recent taped interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In the tearful chat, which will air in America on Monday (01Nov10), the Australia-born star reveals she once weighed just 82 pounds (37.1 kilograms).
She says, "It wasn't that I was proud of it, but it was certainly a recognition for my self-control. I definitely had some pretty amazing willpower to get down to 82 pounds. And that's what I was holding onto to. I didn't think about anything else."
The Aussie actress, who was born Amanda Lee Rogers, adopted the name Portia de Rossi when she first became a model - years before arriving in Hollywood.
A Los Angeles judge granted the actress official permission to change her name in court on Thursday (23Sep10).
She'll now be known as Portia Lee James DeGeneres.
The actress married comedienne-turned-TV personality Ellen DeGeneres in 2008.
The couple wed in a same sex ceremony in 2008 when gay marriage was legalised in the state of California.
The Aussie actress lodged the name change petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court last Friday (06Aug10), asking to be formally known as Portia DeGeneres.
A judge is expected to approve the request as such petitions are routinely granted, reports TMZ.com.
Same sex marriage was outlawed in California just months after its legalisation by the Proposition 8 bill.
However, in a landmark ruling last week (04Aug10), a U.S. judge branded Proposition 8 "unconstitutional", paving the way for gay unions to be made legal once more.
"She'll say, 'I think you could gain 10 more pounds.' She would rather have me heavier than thinner, and she really hates that I ever doubt myself. She loves how I look. She wants me to be happy and never think about it." Comedienne ELLEN DEGENERES enjoys staying fit for her actress wife PORTIA DE ROSSI.
The star, who is married to actress Portia de Rossi, claimed the top spot in Out's annual Power 50 rundown.
Singer Adam Lambert and How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris featured in the top ten, claiming fifth and seventh place respectively.
Fashion designers Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford were also high in the rundown - at 11 and 13.
Moviemaker Lee Daniels was at 25, while comedienne Wanda Sykes featured at 36. Jodie Foster was placed 41st and Milk director Gus Van Sant came in at 43.
The openly gay pair wed in 2008, taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling which legalised same-sex unions in California.
But their rights were revoked just months later after the passing of the Proposition 8 bill, which reversed the previous ruling permitting the marriages.
De Rossi believes she has finally found her real calling as she steps into her new role as a gay rights campaigner - and hopes she can make a real change in the world.
She tells The Advocate magazine, "Ever since Ellen and I got together, I feel like I've been given an opportunity to actually - God, this sounds corny... Well, I feel like my life can actually kind of stand for something. And I don't mean that in a self-aggrandising way, like, 'Look at me, I can make a difference.' But I feel like, maybe I get why I'm here. Maybe by sharing my life, I can make people more aware of how important gay marriage is."
And the former Ally McBeal star is adamant fighting for gay rights is the number one priority in her life - even over-shadowing her acting career.
She adds, "Of course (it's more important than acting.) Actors come and go. Characters come and go. TV shows come and go. While acting is entertaining, for me personally, it's a little empty. My career is only a part of my life, and it's certainly not what I think I was born to do."
De Rossi will be lauded with the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles next month (Mar10), in honour of her "courage to come out publicly and to take a stand for same-sex marriage."
The Australian actress, who was born Amanda Lee Rogers, has signed a deal to publish her memoirs which will detail her early years as she came to terms with her sexual orientation, and her public 'outing' while she was starring in hit sitcom Ally McBeal.
The 37 year old has previously admitted keeping her sexuality secret from her co-workers until pictures of the star with her ex-girlfriend, singer Francesca Gregorini, emerged in the press.
The book will also chronicle De Rossi's long battle with eating disorders.
She tells The Advocate magazine, "I'm writing a book. It'll be published in the fall, so... I have to be done with it before then. It will deal with all the secrets that nearly killed me. Nobody can really get inside the anorexic's mind like the anorexic."
And De Rossi admits DeGeneres, who she married in 2008, encouraged her to put pen to paper.
She adds, "My mother thought I would be a writer. When I started writing little notes to Ellen, she said, 'You should be a writer.' Which is very encouraging and very sweet."
Reid passed away on 3 February (10) at the age of 95.
The actress began her career with a small role in 1938 movie Man-Proof, before landing a string of jobs on Broadway.
She was said to have been reluctant to accept the part of Alice in Days of our Lives after an exhausting run on another soap opera - Portia Faces Life in 1954.
But the role made her a household name after the series' premiere in November 1965 - and eventually earned her a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2004.
Reid made her final appearance on Days of our Lives in December 2007.
She married actor Philip Bourneuf in 1940 and the pair remained together until his death in 1979.