Viral Video of David Foster Saying Wife Katharine McPhee Was ‘Fat’ in her “American Idol” Days Sparks Backlash

An older video of the husband and wife performing has circulated on social media, with fans defending McPhee, who has struggled with disordered eating

<p>Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Michael Kovac/Getty</p> Katharine McPhee on

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Michael Kovac/Getty

Katharine McPhee on 'American Idol'; with husband David Foster
  • David Foster has sparked an online backlash after an older video of him performing with wife Katharine McPhee — and saying she was “fat” during her American Idol days — went viral

  • In the clip, McPhee defends herself, saying “I was a little chubby” and “just young”

  • Fans point out that McPhee has struggled with disordered eating in the past — and this is not the first time Foster has commented on her body

An old video of Katharine McPhee’s husband, songwriter David Foster, calling her “fat” has resurfaced — earning the ire of her fans.

In the video, McPhee — who has struggled with bulimia — is speaking on stage while Foster sits at a piano.

The background screen shows a photo of McPhee when she was a contestant on American Idol. As the singer explains, “[People] may not know, we met 17, almost 18 years ago, when I was a little chubby, and cheerful, contestant on American Idol.

Gesturing to the older photo of herself, McPhee, now 40, says, “Look at me smiling.”

“Oh yeah,” Foster, now 74, says. “You were fat.”

<p>Ray Mickshaw/WireImage</p> Katharine McPhee on Season 5 of 'American Idol'

Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

Katharine McPhee on Season 5 of 'American Idol'

In the clip, McPhee’s hands drop to her sides and her shoulders slump while the audience laughs.

“I was a little chubby, okay?” she says.

“It’s true,” he replies.

“I was just young,” says McPhee, who was 21 when she was on American Idol. 

Related: David Foster and Katharine McPhee's Relationship Timeline

The Masked Singer alum has told PEOPLE that at one point during her struggle with bulimia, she was forcing herself to vomit as many as seven times a day, which she likened to “putting a sledgehammer to your vocal cords.”

McPhee sought treatment at Los Angeles’s Eating Disorder Center of California, where she spent three months undergoing both group and individual therapy, six days a week.

It’s her experience with disordered eating that prompted her fans to sound off on the video, with one saying, “It’s very hard to watch.”

“It really just goes to show the way he views women,” said The Pop Apologists.

<p>Phillip Faraone/Getty</p> David Foster and Katharine McPhee in April 2024.

Phillip Faraone/Getty

David Foster and Katharine McPhee in April 2024.

“If he can say that in front of a crowd, imagine the insensitivity comments in private,” said another fan.

This isn’t the first time Foster’s remarks on McPhee’s body have come under fire. In 2021 the Smash alum defended him after he wrote “What baby!” on an Instagram photo she shared of herself in a bikini, following the birth of son Rennie, now 3.

Related: Katharine McPhee on How the 35-Year Age Gap Initially Impacted Relationship with Husband David Foster

"I lost this baby weight without dieting. Zero. Diets are the worst and I've had zero pressure from anyone. I've let my body do its thing and found a great workout. That's it. And guess what? I'll probably gain weight again at some point too. Who cares? BUT people freaking out about what my husband captioned seriously get a life,” McPhee wrote.

Even so, the singer has shared that relapsing is always a concern — especially after she became pregnant in 2020.

"I was suddenly so obsessed with food, starting from this first trimester, and I had such a distortion of the way that I looked," she said on the podcast Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy Podcast, where she added that she gained about 40 lbs. during her pregnancy.

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She said she sought treatment from a psychiatrist and learned "that it's really common for women who have struggled with eating disorders in the past to have almost a relapse, in some sense, when they enter pregnancy."

Since then, she's said, "What I didn't expect was to have the baby and then be so at peace with my body,"

McPhee continued: "I had this, wow, like this huge appreciation of what my body had just done and given me that I wish that I'd given myself a little bit more of that grace through the pregnancy."

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