Falling in love helped actress Christina Ricci conquer anorexia.

The 24-year-old SLEEPY HOLLOW star has battled the eating disorder since she was 14, with her weight dropping to just 38 kilograms (six stones).

She blames the problem on her early acting career - she made her film debut in MERMAIDS when she was just 10 - and credits boyfriend Adam Goldberg with helping her conquer anorexia.

Ricci - who has been dating SAVING PRIVATE RYAN star Goldberg for a year - says, "I'm in love for the first time. I've accepted my body now and my boyfriend has helped me a lot. When someone loves you and loves your body, you feel sexy.

"My anorexia had a huge amount to do with the fact that I'd developed this body and yet wasn't ready to be a sexual being.

"I didn't want it. I wanted to be a child because all of my success - all of the good things I valued - had come when I was a kid."

And on her new life, she adds, "I decided, because of my early experiences with anorexia, that I wasn't going to worry about my weight any more. I was just going to be who I am.

"I just looked at when I was most successful - in BUFFALO 66 and THE OPPOSITE OF SEX - and I was heavier than I am now. If you're going to differentiate yourself from every other actress, why not have it be your body?"

01/07/2004 17:22