Portia reveals in her book, Unbearable Lightness, that since the age of twelve, when she began modeling in Australia, she has suffered from the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. Her illness became problematic while she was a cast member of the television show, Ally McBeal. Portia alternately starved herself and binged. Her illness threatened her life and the pressure of hiding her sexuality made her life a miserable experience.
Portia describes the elaborate rituals around food that dominated the waking hours of her life. Many sufferers succumb to the illness amongst them Karen Carpenter of the successful brother and sister team, The Carpenters. Portia was lucky, her inner strength and the realization of the perilous life she was living, led her back to a healthy lifestyle. Then she met Ellen and this loving and supportive relationship led to marriage.
Portia is an outspoken advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues. She is also a philanthropist generously giving her time and money to worthy causes. One of them includes Locks of Love, a group that provides human hair wigs for medical hair loss. Both Portia and Ellen support The Gentle Barn, a California-based sanctuary for abused animals. Outside of the U.S.A, Portia fundraises for FXB International, an African aids relief organization
Portia and her wife, Ellen, a dynamic couple, are excellent ambassadors for the gay lifestyle and same sex marriage.