April 02, 2012 11:14 IST
The Grown Ups actress admits she felt so overweight and spotty when she was 25 that she couldn't bear to be seen in public.
She said: "I had acne. And this acne was so bad, it sent me into a severe, severe depression. Like I couldn't leave the house. I'd wake up in the morning and lie there and touch my face before I got up, just to prepare myself to look in the mirror! "The next stage with that sort of depression is food: too little, or too much. Guess what I did? I mean, I was fat and broken out, I couldn't leave the house and I couldn't pay the rent".
But Salma, 45, was saved from herself by director Alfonso Cuarón - who encouraged her to get help.
She explained: "He did not play it down, he did not try to say, 'Oh you look fine'. He said, 'You can't do this to yourself', and taught me to meditate, relax. I got myself back together".
Now spot-free, the mother-of-one admits she still enjoys eating - so much so that she constantly feels paranoid about what other people will think.
She said: "I like to eat. I'm always on the edge of how much can I eat without looking too - you know. If I eat something salty, it makes me want something sweet. I eat something sweet, then I want salty. And exercise is not my thing, though I do it".
Salma wishes she had the "discipline" of close friend Demi Moore, and believes it won't be long until the troubled actress - who recently completed a stint in rehab following her split from husband Ashton Kutcher - is back on form.
She told Lucky magazine: "You watch, Demi will be back. She's an inspiration to all women".