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Freddie Flintoff called 'wonderfully brave man' for heartbreaking bulimia documentary

Mirror logo Mirror 28/09/2020 Lewis Knight
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Former England cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff has been praised as a 'wonderfully brave man' for his new documentary on bulimia.

The Top Gear star, 42, has starred in the new BBC One documentary Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia, which sees the presenter raise awareness for the eating disorder Bulimia nervosa and also discuss his own struggles with the illness.

"I felt like everybody was looking at me," revealed Freddie as he spoke about how public and media commentary on his weight prompted his paranoia surrounding his appearance.

The television personality also admitted that he fears audience reaction to the documentary as he visited a clinic specialising in eating disorders and spoke with a fellow sufferer named Jamie.

"I don't know how I'm going to deal with that," said Freddie, admitting: "I don't like being vulnerable."

Andrew Flintoff looking at the camera: Freddie Flintoff has been praised for speaking about his struggle with bulimia in his new documentary © BBC / South Shore Freddie Flintoff has been praised for speaking about his struggle with bulimia in his new documentary

Scenes in the documentary saw Freddie well-up as he was honest about his mental health struggles and revealed his own misunderstanding of bulimia as it was not just limited to purging - the act of making oneself sick - but also included obsessive exercise.

Taking to social media, viewers of the documentary praised the former cricketer for his unflinching honesty about his battle with bulimia.

One viewer wrote on Twitter : " #FreddieFlintoff is such a wonderfully brave man for making this powerful and unflinching documentary. My heart breaks for him now knowing that he has kept this secret for over 20 years."

a man standing in front of a refrigerator: Freddie looks back at Lancashire team photos over the years in moving scenes from Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia © BBC / South Shore Freddie looks back at Lancashire team photos over the years in moving scenes from Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia

Another moved audience member commented: "Watching #FreddieFlintoff #LivingWithBulimia and already it’s unflinching, raw, and honest.

"A must watch to understand how men are affected by eating disorders too."

Meanwhile, a different affected viewer tweeted: "I hope that so many people watch this and think about the impact of their words and behaviour on others. Such an incredibly courageous thing to do #FreddieFlintoff #mentalhealth #bekind ".

Elsewhere, another social media user noted how important it was that the documentary highlighted how eating disorders affect men too.

Freddie spoke about his dysfunctional relationship with exercise in the film © BBC / South Shore / Charlie Melville Freddie spoke about his dysfunctional relationship with exercise in the film Andrew Flintoff standing in front of a building: Freddie also contemplates how his bulimia struggle impacted on his career © BBC / South Shore / Lorian Reed-Drake Freddie also contemplates how his bulimia struggle impacted on his career

One person noted: "Important viewing. We always think of women as suffering from eating disorders. For men like cricketer #Flintoff, it is hard. Men need a space to talk about their mental health needs too. #FreddieFlintoff #BBC1 ".

Finally, one viewer of Living With Bulimia concluded: "Watching the #FreddieFlintoff documentary about Bulimia, and so much is ringing true to how I feel about weight issues. A brilliant and frank documentary."

Andrew Flintoff standing in front of a brick wall: Freddie admits he fears the reaction to the documentary but there's been unanimous praise online © BBC / South Shore / Lorian Reed-Drake Freddie admits he fears the reaction to the documentary but there's been unanimous praise online

We can all agree that this documentary is certainly some vital viewing.

Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia aired on BBC One but is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.

If you have been affected by the content of the documentary and wish to seek advice on eating disorders, visit charity website Beat Eating Disorders or call their helpline on 0808 801 0677.

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