Billie Eilish Has Hypermobility — Here's What That Is

The 21-year-old singer opened up about her experience with the condition and her relationship with her body in a new interview.

Billie Eilish
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Billie Eilish is opening up about her evolving relationship with her body.

"Going through my teenage years of hating myself and all that stupid shit," explained the singer in her recent Vogue cover story. "A lot of it came from my anger toward my body, and how mad I was at how much pain it’s caused me, and how much I’ve lost because of things that happened to it."

Dealing with past injuries and misdiagnoses has impacted her body and how she feels about it. The 21-year-old endured a growth plate injury to her hip at age 13, for example, forcing her to focus her creative energy solely on music instead of dance, reported Vogue. It's something she also discussed in her documentary, Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry.

"I used to dance like 12 hours a week," she said in the documentary, Shape previously reported. "And then I got injured. I tore my growth plate in my hip, the bone separated from the muscle. It was the most depressing year of my life. I just laid in bed; I couldn't move."

Since then, Eilish discovered — with help from her movement coach — that she has a condition called hypermobility, according to Vogue. Joint hypermobility syndrome is a genetic condition involving extremely flexible joints, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“I felt like my body was gaslighting me for years,” the "Happier Than Ever" singer told Vogue. "I had to go through a process of being like, my body is actually me. And it’s not out to get me."

Joint hypermobility is common and means your joints can move beyond the normal range of motion. But joint hypermobility syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that can cause joint pain, joint and ligament injuries, tiredness, and bowel issues, notes the Cleveland Clinic. It may also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The details of Eilish's diagnosis are unclear.

For background, mobility is "the ability for the body to effortlessly access all range of motion (or full movement potential) without pain or compensation," physical therapist Ryan Ardoin, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., cofounder of SculptU, a medical fitness training facility in Houston previously told Shape. Too little or too much mobility can cause imbalances that increase risk of injury.

Eilish has also spoken about her body image and the body-shaming she experiences as a woman in the spotlight. "Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it," she said during a March 2020 performance in Miami, Shape previously reported. "Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me." After removing some of her loose-fitting clothes on stage, she continued. "If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman...If I shed the layers, I am a slut."

In 2021, she got real about unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by social media. "I see people online, looking like I've never looked," she said in an interview with The Guardian. "And immediately I am like, oh my God, how do they look like that? I know the ins and outs of this industry, and what people actually use in photos, and I actually know what looks real can be fake. Yet I still see it and go, oh God, that makes me feel really bad. And I mean, I'm very confident in who I am, and I'm very happy with my life...I'm obviously not happy with my body."

Lately, Eilish has been prioritizing her fitness. "I have been working on my bones and my body for the last — since [getting injured] really," she told Zane Lowe during an episode of his Apple Music podcast in September 2021. "And more seriously for the last, like, four months, I've been like completely changing the way that my life is involving fitness. Like I'm a gym rat now," she continued. "It started with 'I can't get injured anymore, can't do it, not going to let myself live like that.' Because I lived like that for years."

It seems as though Eilish has come a long way in feeling confident and strong in her body. (Up next: How Jameela Jamil Works Out with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

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