Quinn Discusses History of Bulimia and Alcoholism at Barnard College

By Mathew Katz on May 14, 2013 2:10pm 

 City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn revealed her struggles with bulimia and alcoholism on Tuesday.
City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn revealed her struggles with bulimia and alcoholism on Tuesday.
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William Alatriste/New York City Council

NEW YORK CITY — Calling herself a "failed bulimic" because she never lost much weight, an impassioned Christine Quinn spoke of her battles with an eating disorder and alcoholism before an audience of women at Barnard College on Tuesday afternoon.

The City Council Speaker's long-hidden struggles were detailed in a series of interviews with The New York Times published on Tuesday morning.

Quinn, a front-runner among the handful of Democrats running for mayor, said that the revelations about her previous struggles were not part of a campaign to soften her image.

Instead, she told the Barnard students — and a swarm of media — that she wanted to use the spotlight of her run for mayor to try to share the experiences she had in the hopes that it might help other people.

"There's not a lot of conversation going on in my world about softening my image," Quinn said according to a tweet by Times reporter Kate Taylor.

According to the Times, Quinn began bingeing and purging while caring for her cancer-stricken mother as a teenager, with drinking going hand in hand. Quinn continued all three until she entered rehab in 1992, at the age of 26.

"I didn't actually think I could be happy," Quinn said, according to a tweet by New York Observer reporter Jill Colvin.

Since then, Quinn said she still considers herself an alcoholic and eventually decided to stop drinking entirely.

She's tried to live a healthier lifestyle, she told the students, including cycling sessions at her local SoulCycle.

Quinn insisted that the visit to Barnard was not a campaign stop, and the audience there was told not to ask any "political" questions.

The speaker said that after she came out as an alcoholic, bulimic, and gay, she's done revealing things about her person life.

"That's all you're getting," she said, according to Colvin.

"That's the full lid!"

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