What happened to Karen Carpenter

Tragic story of Karen Carpenter - the first known celebrity to die of anorexia


Karen Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa for years, but the underlying problem was more than a struggling body image and a struggle to lose weight, it was a lack of matriarchal love all her life.

Karen Carpenter reached the peak of her career with a soft velvet voice that enchanted the world. They founded the legendary band 'The Carpenters' with their brother and sold over 100 million records in the 1970s.

But behind her angelic voice and fame stood a daughter who yearned for the love and care of a mother who did not receive her. not even until her last breath. For years before her death, the singer suffered from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa, which was unusual at the time.

Little Girl Blue explores the life and legacy of Karen Carpenter https://t.co/GlYFBD9veXpic.twitter.com/clA0m6Y0NY

- The A.V. Club (@TheAVClub) July 21, 2016

What started as a goal to lose weight became a catalyst for extreme dieting, leading Karen to deceive the people around her who ate her when in fact she wasn't. In his book 'Little Girl Blue' Randy Schmidt revealed the root of Karen's eating disorder - her mother's inability to express love and affection.


Although she was never classified as obese, Karen fell into a chubby category as a teenager, standing at 5 ”4 and weighing 145 pounds. She worked her way through a leaner figure, dropping to 120 pounds, and maintaining a great figure despite the eating disorders she described on tour.

Richard and Karen Carpenter. | Source: Getty Images

“When you're out and about, it's hard to eat. Period. In addition, it is difficult to eat well. We don't like to eat before a show because I can't stand singing on a full stomach, "she said in 1973." You don't come to dinner until midnight, and if you eat a lot you won't sleep and you become one Be a balloon. '

'She looked fabulous'

After Karen noticed her unflattering outfit in photos from the same year, she decided to hire a personal trainer to shed a few more pounds. However, her trainer's new diet added muscle and caused it to bulk up.

Richard and Karen Carpenter. | Source: Getty Images

Karen fired her trainer swearing she would 'do something about it' - and diet she did. The legendary singer lost 20 pounds more, which earned her compliment from the sister of her boyfriend at the time, Carol Curb.

"She lost about 20 pounds and she looked fabulous," Curb recalled. “She weighed about 30 kg and looked great. If she could have stopped there, life would have been good. '

A case of extreme nutrition

Losing weight became more than just a goal for Karen; it became an addiction. While eating, Karen developed a tactic to deceive her family and friends, who ate her when in fact she was not consuming anything.

Karen Carpenter on stage, London. | Source: Getty Images

While Karen was pushing food around her plate, she cut pieces of her "delicious" food for her friends to try, and when everyone was done her plate was clean but her stomach was empty.

By the time Karen weighed 90 pounds, she had begun masking her extreme weight loss with layers of clothing and avoiding comments from those she knew should eat more.

“She started with a long-sleeved shirt and then pulled a blouse over it,” he explains, “and a sweater over it and a jacket over it. With all of this, you had no idea what she had become, ”said her agent, Sherwin Bash said in 1975.

The Sunday reads: WHY KAREN CARPENTER MATTERS is written so astutely and BEAUTIFUL - @ Inlandemperor has set a very high bar for Music Matters authors. Which book. pic.twitter.com/vSZduGh2cj

- Caryn Rose (@carynrose) May 12, 2019

During a stage performance, Bash was horrified to see what had happened to Karen's body. Even though she was dressed, her bones stuck out. As she stepped on stage, fans gasped, thinking Karen had cancer.


On the surface, food seemed to be the answer to Karen's problems. Just EAT. But it was far more than just food that the singer had to be fed with. After two years of extreme diet and performance, Karen was hospitalized in 1975. She was mentally and physically exhausted.

“Not enough people in this world are happy.” # KarenCarpenter would have been 69 today. #BornOnThisDayhttps: //t.co/yIEQtgXqmXpic.twitter.com/5nJz5EWQ6X

- getTV (@gettv) March 3, 2019

This caught the attention of her mother Agnes and closely watched her daughter, who slept 14 to 16 hours a day. Eventually her weight rose to 104 pounds, and although she struggled with anorexia and bulimia nervosa for the next several years, something special happened to her.


In 1980, Karen met Tom Buris, a handsome and apparently wealthy real estate developer who lives up to all of Karen's standards. The Carpenter singer's dream of having a family finally came true after they decided to tie the knot, but on the verge of perfection, Karen discovered Burris' secret.

Remembering the talented instrumentalist and singer Karen Carpenter on her birthday experience her legacy in 20 of The Carpenters' best: https://t.co/mmvFnbrgo7

- uDiscover Music (@uDiscoverMusic) March 2, 2019

Her future husband had a vasectomy and failed to tell her about it. She despised knowing that she wanted children. Devastated, Karen decided to call off the wedding, but Agnes would not allow it as it would damage her image.

On her final days, she abused a vomiting drug called ipecac, which caused her heart muscles to break down and lead to her death.

Their marriage was nothing short of a disaster. Burris, who appeared to be wealthy with material possessions, was actually living beyond his means. He spent Karen's money, abused her and even called her a 'bag of bones'. In 1981, Karen filed for divorce.

#TodayInHistory Grammy Award winner Karen Carpenter was born. Her struggles with anorexia brought the public's attention to the eating disorder that affects millions in America today. https://t.co/jk5cpvBJjz#WomensHistoryMonthpic.twitter.com/GDSxzVQ2dx

- USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 2, 2019


Shortly thereafter, Karen sought help from Steven Levenkron, a psychotherapist who wrote a book on eating disorders and who admitted taking 80 to 90 tablets of laxatives a night and using thyroid medication to speed up her metabolism even though she had a healthy thyroid.

A few months later, Levenkron called Karen's parents and brother for a meeting and helped Karen by telling her they loved the singer. Richard confessed his love with ease, but Agnes, whose love Karen needed most, reacted differently.

'Well, I'm from the north,' said she said. 'And we just don't do things that way.'

I remember Karen Carpenter on her birthday # Gettypic.twitter.com/flEe4lLboi

- Smooth Radio (@SmoothRadio) March 2, 2019

Exhausted at 32

Karen had an abnormal heartbeat that resulted in a hospital stay for dehydration. She was fed through a tube that allowed her to gain weight, and with a thoughtful recovery, she showed everyone that she was starting to help herself.

Karen Carpenter was born on that date, March 2, 1950. Photo by Robert Knudsen. pic.twitter.com/QPCpJKmnVl

- Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) March 2, 2019

On Friday morning, Agnes found her daughter dead on the floor. She was physically and emotionally exhausted after years of battling anorexia.

On her last days, she abused a vomiting drug called Ipecac, which opened her heart muscles and resulted in her death.

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