Actress Tracey Gold was born in New York City and was raised by her mom, an ad executive, and her stepfather, an actor. As a child, Gold tagged along to one of her stepfather’s auditions for a Pepsi commercial and, much to his surprise, the little girl was cast instead. By age six, Gold was regularly appearing in print ads, TV shows and movies. But entering adolescence while in the spotlight wasn’t easy for the young actress; by the time she was 12, Gold began obsessing over her weight and eventually succumbed to the early stages of anorexia.
In 1984, 16-year-old Tracey Gold landed her big break: a role on the TV sitcom Growing Pains, about a quirky family raised by a stay-at-home dad and a working mom. The show’s popularity skyrocketed, but Gold‘s personal life was about to plummet. After several seasons of shooting the hit series, Gold, then 19 years old, began to put on weight; fat jokes subsequently began appearing in the scripts. When producers asked her to shed some pounds, her anorexia returned with a vengeance — the 5’4″ actress’s weight eventually dropped to a mere 80 pounds. In 1991, Gold left the show and checked herself into a hospital. Her eating disorder became front-page news, and the actress reluctantly went public with her disease.
Tracey Gold‘s road to recovery has been long and difficult, fraught with relapses and years of therapy. While reviving her career with a slew of TV movies and battling toward good health, she was introduced to Roby Marshall by Growing Pains co-star Joanna Kerns. The two fell in love, helping to quiet each other’s demons. On October 8, 1994, Gold and Marshall tied the knot. The couple now have three children: Sage, Bailey and Kaylee Lynn.
Tracey Gold has finally overcome her body-image battles and turned her recovery into a mission to help others. She starred in the well-received TV movie, For the Love of Nancy, about a young woman who struggles with an eating disorder. Also, in 2003, she released a book, Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life, which offers a personal look at her triumph over anorexia.