Tragic anorexic teen model dies in her sleep

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Tragic anorexic teen model dies in her sleep
Teen model Bethaney Wallace, who died after a long battle with anorexia © Facebook

The pressure to be thin has claimed a young model's life, with British teen covergirl Bethaney Wallace dying in her sleep after a battle with anorexia.

Bethaney, 19, died of suspected heart failure on April 18 after her weight plummeted to just 38kg.

The beautiful teen from Newmarket, Suffolk, was 12 when she started modelling and had early success, appearing on the covers of several UK magazines including Girl Talk and Popgirl.

In pictures: Tragic teen model Bethaney Wallace

Her looks were the envy of her friends but ironically, Bethaney always believed she was ugly.

She contracted glandular fever when she was 16, losing a significant amount of weight. She became obsessed with staying slim, quickly developing anorexia and bulimia.

The eating disorders sapped her energy and Bethaney was forced to take a break from modelling.

"When she was 16 food became a problem," Bethaney's father Clive told the UK's Daily Mail newspaper.

"She would go to the supermarket with us and stare at the food. But she would not sit at the dinner table with us."

Clive, 47, and his wife Cathy, 42, tried to encourage their daughter to eat but even when she did, they knew she would just make herself vomit afterwards.

"You can't feed them because they will just sick it up," Clive said. "Her friends said they would go to a restaurant and Bethaney would only order bread.

"She lost her self-esteem. She would say she was fat. But she was so beautiful. She didn't realise how pretty she was."

In recent months, Bethaney's health started improving and her parents thought she was finally recovering.

She was cooking for herself and had even put together a new modelling portfolio to relaunch her career.

But her weight dropped once again in April and she died in her sleep while visiting her grandmother's house.

"I tried to warn her that her organs would fail, but she just said, 'Don't be silly'," Clive said. "If you mentioned food it would start an argument."

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Clive and Cathy desperately tried to get Bethaney professional help, but once she turned 18 they could no longer force her into treatment.

"It was so hard to get the help," Mrs Wallace said. "For parents you are slowly watching your child die."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, contact The Butterfly Foundation for help and support.

Your say: Do you know anyone suffering from an eating disorder? Let us know in the comments below.

Video: Anorexia claims life of young model Bethaney Wallace

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