Jillian Michaels is best known to TV fans as a tough-as-nails and aggressive fitness trainer on reality weight-loss show The Biggest Loser (2004-current), but now viewers are seeing the fitness fanatic’s sensitive and gentle side in her own show Just Jillian (2016-current).
Jillian wasn’t always slim and trim. She got a wake-up call as a teen when her BMI (body mass index) classed her as clinically obese – the 1.58m-tall Jillian weighed 80kg. She says that she found comfort in food after her parents divorced when she was in eighth grade. Jillian, who has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) was sent to therapy by her mom for her bad nightmares. “I couldn’t sleep at night – every night – waiting for aliens to come. I’m not kidding you. I was traumatised.” Jillian’s quite the businesswoman. She used to own a spa in Beverly Hills but sold it in 2004. She’s written seven workout books and has filmed 17 fitness DVDs, as well as creating an active-wear line in 2014 called Impact By Jillian Michaels. The 42-year-old trainer is a big fan of singer Tori Amos and pop star Madonna. In fact, she credits Madonna with helping her come out the closet. Explains Jillian, “Madonna’s Justify My Love (1993) video made a difference because being gay became cool overnight. I wasn’t ashamed anymore.” Jillian has two kids with her longterm partner Heidi Rhoades, who’s a yoga instructor. Jillian adopted daughter Lukensia (5) in May 2012 from Haiti and a few days later, Heidi gave birth to their son Phoenix (3). The fitness expert’s best friend is Vanessa Marcil (Sam in Las Vegas, 2003-2008) and Jillian is godmother to Vanessa’s son Kassius Liyah (13).