Evanna Lynch battled an eating disorder as a child, but author J.K. Rowling and her famed "Harry Potter" series helped the actress overcome her struggles, she revealed on "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday.
Lynch, 27, was cast as Luna Lovegood in the "Harry Potter" films in 2006, but she was already a die-hard fan by that time.
The actress revealed that, when she was about 11 years old, she was living with an eating disorder that took over her life and that the only other thing that could draw her attention was the "Harry Potter" series, People magazine noted.
It was during that time that she wrote to "Harry Potter" author and creator J.K. Rowling.
"She wrote back and we became pen friends after that," Lynch said. "I was in and out of hospital and I would be getting these letters."
She said that Rowling's "books and her kindness really made me want to live again."
Lynch added that, although she shared a close bond with Rowling, the author had no part in her casting.
"We were writing to each other for years, but then when the open audition happened, it happened within two weeks from the audition to getting the part and I didn't have a chance to tell her," she said, according to People.
Lynch has been vocal about her struggles with anorexia nervosa, which put her in and out of clinics for two years.
"I didn't plan for an eating disorder. But I soon found that it was a way of getting attention that I could control," she told the Irish Times. "People would say: aren't you amazing that you exercise so much. I was hungry all day, cold all day. But the punishment made me feel worthy."
Eating disorders are more prevalent than many realize.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. and at least one person dies from related causes every 62 minutes.
The American Addiction Centers defines anorexia as "a condition where people see themselves as being overweight, or want to control the shape and size of a specific body part, even when they are extremely thin."
The disorder can manifest chronically as an intense fear of gaining weight, which leads to a person not eating and exercising excessively to avoid weight gain.
There is no cure for anorexia but a person can learn to live with and manage it with a well-rounded treatment plan.
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