They were just your average teenage girls. But at the age of 14, life took a turn for twins Rachel and Clare Wallmeyer as they began to obsess over their weight and from that moment on, their lives were destined to end in tragedy.
After struggling with anorexia for 28 years, the twins died in a fire at their home in Geelong, Australia, on Monday. They were 42.
60 Minutes reporter Peter Overton recalls his interview with them in this audio clip, where he says in no uncertain terms that the twins had a ”death wish”.
He also recalls the torment the disease had upon the girls parents, as watching it destroyed their children, also essentially destroyed them too.
The twins became an Australian TV fixture as they openly and frankly discussed the hell of living with anorexia.
“We live to die,” the Wallmeyers confessed in a 2004 interview with Australia’s “60 Minutes” program.
“We are living solely anorexia and to live solely anorexia,” said Claire. “To be in constant pain, to wake up every day and..sometimes you can’t get out of bed, you’re just so tired.”
They also provided startling details of their diet– or lack of it.
Revealing that they consumed at least 20 laxatives a day, they said that they existed solely on a piece of watermelon, Diet Coke and coffee.
There was also booze and cigarettes too. Things got so bad that authorities considered jailing them in an attempt to stop them starving themselves to death.
And with the lack of food came erratic behavior.
Amid reports that they were trying to kill each other, Rachel was charged with the attempted murder of Clare after police, who were called to their home, claimed they witnessed Rachel with her hands locked around her sister’s throat. The charge was later withdrawn.
There was also numerous suicide attempts.
They also became increasingly open about how they had lost the will to fight for life and they spoke of their desire to die together.
“Everything is a struggle. And there’s no point in it,” Rachel said.
She also revealed that Clare was the only person who remained by her side and poignantly added: “And at least we’ll die together.”
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that 8 million Americans (seven million women and one million men) have an eating disorder. If you know anyone suffering from the disease or you need help, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 800.931. 2237