Jillian Michaels left “The Biggest Loser” because she was concerned over the show’s anorexia controversy and because she got tired of being portrayed as “abusive.”
“There were some fundamental differences that have existed for a while,” Michaels told People.
Jillian said the show chose to emphasize her “tough love” approach as mean-spirited instead of coming from a good place.
“You saw none of the relationships, none of the bonds that I built with my clients,” she said. “[As a result of this editing] millions of people have this warped, negative perception of me.”
Michaels was one of the original trainers when “The Biggest Loser” first aired in 2004. During season 15, Jillian was slammed after giving caffeine pills to her team in violation of “The Biggest Loser” rules of competition.
At the time, Michaels accused producers of playing up the drama to boost ratings. Jillian said she still deals with the fallout from that incident. Jillian’s daughter was teased at camp by another girl who said the following, “I know who your mom is – she’s a cheater. I saw it on TV.”
In April, Jillian expressed concerns about the direction “The Biggest Loser” was taking in light of Rachel Frederickson’s anorexia scandal.
“She is turned off by the mean-spirited story lines and poor care of the contestants,” said the source. “Michaels wants to distance herself from the ‘Biggest Loser’ brand, especially considering what happened with Rachel.”
Michaels has been very vocal in her criticism following Rachel Frederickson’s 155-pound weight loss. The 5-foot-4 Frederickson, who previously weighed 260 pounds, slimmed down to 105 pounds by the season finale (on Feb. 5). Rachel has vehemently denied the anorexia reports, and has since regained 20 pounds and looks a lot healthier.
Frederickson’s emaciated appearance on finale night stirred rumors she was suffering from the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia, and drew alarmed reactions from Michaels and her colleague, Bob Harper.
Jillian blamed Frederickson’s trainer, Dolvett Quince, for the anorexia controversy, saying he didn’t properly supervise his contestant to ensure she lost weight in a healthy manner. Jillian said she stays in touch with her contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch to monitor their progress, so Quince should have been kept tabs to make sure Frederickson’s weight loss wasn’t extreme or unhealthy.
Quince, author of the bestselling The 3-1-2-1 Diet, insisted Rachel had lost weight the healthy way, and asked fans not to jump to conclusions.
Show Will Change After Anorexia Scandal
Rachel’s super-skinny appearance caused outrage among “Biggest Loser” fans, who said selecting someone who looks unhealthy as the winner sends the wrong message.
Show executives responded to the criticism by saying they will tweak the weight loss competition to provide more check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch.
Jillian said she’s grateful for her time on “The Biggest Loser,” but it’s time to move on. “I came to the conclusion that moving forward, I need to be able to have an impact on the outcome of what I do,” she said.
“I don’t want fans to think I feel like I’m too big for the show or that I’m seeking greener pastures. I’m so grateful to the show and so sad to leave.”