TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO OPRAH
Calgarian back in spotlight with transformative story of love, weight loss and roller derby, six years after public collapse of marriage
The humiliation of having your marriage blow apart on Oprah in front of 25 million viewers could kill a person.
But if it didn’t kill you, it could make you stronger. Just look at Trina Marr. Then, tune into the Oprah Winfrey Show this afternoon and watch the Calgary woman’s triumphant return six years after her first appearance with the queen of daytime TV.
The episode, taped on Jan. 20th and dubbed Love, Marriage, Betrayal: Our Most Memorable Couples Return, features Marr and five couples, including TV star Fran Drescher and her gay exhusband.
“Trina was invited to update Oprah on her life,” says a spokeswoman for Harpo Studios.
Marr’s story is one of transformation — the very stuff of Oprah — through love, weight loss and roller derby. It’s about picking yourself up after a great big smack down.
“It’s a story of success,” says Marr, now a 38-yearold hairstylist and businesswoman with two teenage girls.
Back in 2004, Marr was a salon owner with two small kids and an unhappy marriage. She’d gained a lot of weight — reaching 225 pounds — after her wedding so she signed up to appear on Taking It Off, a documentary-style weight loss series on the Life Network.
Camera crews followed the daily lives of 10 overweight people — five from Calgary, five from Halifax — for six months as they attempted to shed pounds.
Marr and her now exhusband were filmed arguing about her weight and his lack of support. Their rancour caught the eye of Oprah producers and the couple was invited to appear on the talk show in April 2005 in an episode called You’re not the person I married.
“Unbeknownst to me — I’d only seen the first three episodes of Taking It Off — the production people had allowed Oprah and her people to see about 10 episodes. There was stuff shot behind the scenes that showed my husband cheating on me,” explains Marr.
“There I was, sitting all vulnerable on the stage, and they showed an episode I hadn’t seen of my husband flirting with women at the gym.”
Feeling like a deer caught in the headlights, Marr nevertheless put on a brave face.
“Oprah asked me what I was going to do. I said, ‘Well, I’m planning to lose weight — about 180 pounds of dead weight by divorcing my husband the minute I get off this stage’.”
The marriage ended in divorce that October, and Marr went through “a year of pretty dark times” and put on another 50 pounds.
“It was sad to be that girl on TV. I mourned the loss of my family. I felt I’d failed my kids and myself. I didn’t know how to fix it.”
Things started to turn around when she and her ex took a “brilliant” course on parenting after separation. As co-parents they were able to get along better than they did as a couple.
But her transformation really began when she discovered a women’s roller derby league.
“Roller derby saved my life,” Marr says.
“It gave me friends who had positive attitudes toward their bodies, whether you weighed 100 pounds or 300 pounds. There was a place there for every body.”
No one in the Calgary Roller Derby Association told her she needed to drop a few pounds, telling her instead: “You’ll make one heckuva hitter.”
Joining the knock ‘em, sock ‘em sport gave her a purpose, opportunities to get out of the house and physical exercise at least three times at week.
After her first game, her team, the Cutthroat Carhops, went to a bar to celebrate their win. It was there — pumped with adrenalin and feeling more happy and confident than she had in years — that she met Mario Mayrhofer, the man who would become her second husband.
Today, she’s married to “the man of my dreams,” is a slim 155 to 163 pounds, lives in a new home, works in a different salon and has a new business, Hair Flairs (hairflairs.com), that sells sparkly hair extensions and is growing by leaps and bounds.
“I want my story to be an inspiration. After seeing myself on TV, I changed everything,” says Marr.
“That’s the reason I went and did this final episode. I needed the world to know — all those 25 million people who gasped — that they shouldn’t feel sorry for that girl on TV.
“The thing I want people to realize is that in six years I turned my life around.”