The Tron: Legacy star admits she went through "a manic phase" following her break-up with husband Tao Ruspoli, and she turned to food to "self-medicate" after initially losing weight during a battle with insomnia.
In a candid new interview with TV talk show presenter Amanda De Cadenet, Wilde explains, "I lost a bunch of weight and I was really never sleeping... I moved in with a girlfriend and she said, 'You don't sleep; you sleep three hours a night!'
"Then you go through a period where you're self-medicating with something to fill a void because you have created a void by removing someone from you. There's a chunk missing and people fill it with all sorts of things.
"I definitely self-medicate with food, that's my thing; I love to cook. I always convince myself, 'It's better than crack cocaine, so I guess it's OK...' Food is like a hug on the inside.
"I'm a healthy person, but I definitely packed it on because I wanted to feel a buffer between me and the pain, because the world started getting really scary and new relationships (and) dating was a lot more painful than I ever imagined."
But the actress is glad she went through the hell of 2011 - because now she feels she's a better person for all the pain: "Learning to be by myself and be OK with it and not need the validation of another human being, that has been the biggest challenge. But I know coming out of that I'll be a better person, a better partner eventually for someone."