“What I will miss most about Kate is that I think so many people, not even just women, relate to her and her walking imperfectly through her trials and tribulations and all the shame and guilt that she’s carried for so long,” the actress, 41, exclusively told Us Weekly amid the show’s final season. “It’s really sort of like a torch that she’s carrying, and I think that’s a really special thing to meet people that I’ve never met before and be able to cry in bathrooms with them about what they’re going through.”
Kate has struggled with her weight and body image since the NBC drama’s series premiere in September 2016. She and husband Toby Damon (Chris Sullivan) argued over their children’s diets during the Tuesday, March 8, episode as she accused him of fearing that their son, Jack, would get “fat.”
The show’s raw approach to the topic has resonated with viewers time and again over the years.
“So many women have shared their experiences, and I will never forget one of the first people to come up to me in New York City,” Metz recalled. “Justin [Hartley] and I were out to dinner, and I look at her and she looks, like, just so in shape and, well, just beautiful, glowing, and she’s like, ‘You don’t understand. I have a massive eating disorder, and I didn’t even understand what it is that I was going through. And then to see Kate going through it.’ Two women that I would never think that we’d have anything in common were more alike than we were different, and it was so special. I was like, ‘Oh, this is not just a TV show.’”
The Breakthrough star noted that the heartwarming moments happen “so, so frequently,” even when she does not expect them. “A little boy approached me and he had an eating disorder, and at 10 years old. And for him to relate to a thirtysomething-year-old woman on TV, it’s so special,” she said. “I am just eternally grateful for this experience.”
While Metz’s character is a source of inspiration for viewers, she finds herself looking up to her family. “My mom is probably the most resilient woman I’ve ever met,” she explained. “My sisters, I mean, they have multiple kids. One of my sisters has four kids, and she takes care of my mom. It’s just sort of amazing to see. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to wake up at four in the morning and go pretend to be a character.’ Meanwhile, they’re chasing four children around and maintaining a home and a relationship and taking care. Like, how does she do it?”
If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) website or call their hotline at 888-375-7767 to get help.
Us Weekly’s Most Powerful Women issue hits newsstands on Friday, March 11.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi