Obesity is a growing concern worldwide, and weight loss surgery has become an increasingly popular solution for many individuals. The spotlight often shines on celebrities, and their choices can have a significant impact on public perception. In this article, we'll explore the inspiring stories of 9 stars who've undergone weight loss surgery and discuss how their journeys have influenced others.
Celebrities, just like anyone else, may choose to undergo weight loss surgery for various reasons, such as health concerns, career demands, or personal goals. Body image and societal pressure can also be influential factors for stars in the limelight.
Here’s a quick list of common weight loss surgery procedures. Click the links to learn more about that specific surgery.
Randy Jackson, the renowned music producer and American Idol judge, opted for gastric bypass surgery in 2003 after years of struggling with his weight. At his heaviest, Randy weighed around 350 pounds, which led to a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes.
In an interview with WebMD, Randy shared his reasons for undergoing the procedure, explaining, "I was an addict. A food addict. I loved everything that was bad for me." He also noted that a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was a wake-up call for him, pushing him to make a change.
After the surgery, Randy lost an impressive 114 pounds and managed to keep it off by adopting a healthier lifestyle. He has been open about the changes he made, including regular exercise and a well-balanced diet.
In a 2008 interview with PEOPLE, Randy reflected on his weight loss journey, stating, "I had to do something about my weight, because I was just miserable with it." He also emphasized the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle, explaining, "The surgery was a great tool, but you have to change your mindset. You've got to change your whole game."
Randy has been an advocate for raising awareness about diabetes and promoting healthier lifestyles, working with various organizations to support these causes. In a 2014 interview with A Sweet Life, Randy said, "I want people to know they can prevent type 2 diabetes. It's about educating people and giving them the tools they need to take control of their lives."
Lisa Lampanelli, the renowned comedian known as the "Queen of Mean," underwent weight loss surgery in 2012. At her heaviest, Lisa weighed 248 pounds and struggled with various health issues. After witnessing the positive results of a friend who had undergone gastric sleeve surgery, she decided to take the same path.
The gastric sleeve procedure involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped pouch. This limits the amount of food a person can consume, resulting in weight loss.
Following the surgery, Lisa lost an impressive 107 pounds and managed to maintain her weight loss through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. In a 2013 interview with Dr. Oz, Lisa opened up about her decision to have the surgery, stating, "I tried every single thing imaginable – diet, exercise. I even bought a house on the health spa property and I still gained weight. For 32 years, from 18 to 50, I tried everything on the planet, and once I had a clean slate with that I said, 'You know what? Nothing's working for me. I'm going to treat this like the addiction that it is. I'm going to get this surgery and use it as a tool. That's all it is, a tool to help me get over it.'"
In a 2016 interview with PEOPLE, Lisa reflected on her weight loss journey and the changes she made in her life, saying, "I have to figure out my addiction issue and how I even got overweight in the first place. One addiction for me is food, so I decided to get weight loss surgery in 2012."
Carnie Wilson, the talented singer from the group Wilson Phillips, has been open about her lifelong battle with obesity. At her heaviest, Carnie weighed around 300 pounds, which prompted her decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 1999.
Carnie's surgery was groundbreaking at the time, as she was one of the first celebrities to publicly share her experience. She even allowed her surgery to be broadcast live on the internet, which garnered widespread attention and helped to destigmatize weight loss surgery. Carnie went on to lose an impressive 150 pounds following the procedure.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Carnie said, "I think what's so important about the surgery is that it gave me a tool. It's a tool, and I had to use it." She emphasized that weight loss surgery is not an instant fix and requires continued effort and commitment to maintain the results.
However, Carnie's journey hasn't been without its challenges. In 2012, she revealed that she had gained back some of the weight she initially lost, which led her to undergo lap-band surgery. Despite the setbacks, Carnie remains determined and committed to her health.
In a 2017 interview with People magazine, Carnie shared, "You try to keep it off, and you struggle, and you kind of bounce back a bit. But you never, ever give up." Carnie's transparency about her weight loss journey has been an inspiration to many and has encouraged open dialogue about the realities and challenges of weight loss surgery.
Al Roker, the much-adored weatherman and TV personality, made headlines in 2002 when he underwent gastric bypass surgery. Before the surgery, Al weighed about 340 pounds and faced several health issues, including high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes.
After his father's passing from lung cancer, Al decided it was time to take control of his health. In an interview with Today, Al revealed the conversation he had with his dying father, who asked him to promise to lose weight. Al said, "I don't know if I can, Dad. I've tried, and I just cannot do it." His father replied, "You've got to promise me. You've got to give me your word." This conversation became a turning point in Al's life, leading him to choose gastric bypass surgery.
Al's weight loss journey was impressive, as he lost around 100 pounds following the procedure. He has been open about his experience, which has encouraged others to address their own health issues. In a 2013 interview with Dr. Oz, Al explained, "I think the biggest misconception about gastric bypass is that it's a magic bullet. It's not. It's just a tool. And if you don't use the tool, it's not going to work."
Despite facing some setbacks, such as gaining 40 pounds back in 2010, Al has managed to maintain his weight loss through a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. In a 2018 interview with Guideposts, Al shared his thoughts on the challenges of maintaining his weight, saying, "I think that's the hardest part. It's a lifelong struggle. I'll be the first to admit that I am a work in progress."
Al Roker's candidness about his weight loss surgery and the challenges of maintaining his new lifestyle has been an inspiration to many people who struggle with obesity and are considering surgical intervention.
Roseanne Barr, the renowned actress and comedian, made the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 1998. Before the procedure, Roseanne struggled with her weight, reaching a peak of over 350 pounds.
After the surgery, Roseanne experienced significant weight loss, shedding over 200 pounds. Her transformation was well-documented in the media, and her openness about her journey helped to de-stigmatize weight loss surgery.
In a 2007 interview with People magazine, Roseanne reflected on her decision, saying, "I had my entire digestive system removed, so I should look thinner." Although the statement was made in jest, it highlights the extreme measures she took to address her weight issues.
Roseanne has also been candid about the challenges she faced after the surgery, including complications and the need to adjust to a new way of eating. In a 2011 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said, "I had to have my stomach stapled and learn how to eat all over again... it was a nightmare."
Despite the difficulties, Roseanne has managed to maintain her weight loss over the years. In a 2014 interview with Entertainment Tonight, she revealed her secret to keeping the weight off: "I just have like one meal a day, in the middle of the day. And I eat what I want."
Roseanne Barr's honesty about her gastric bypass surgery, its challenges, and the impact it has had on her life has contributed to the broader conversation about weight loss surgery and its implications for those struggling with obesity.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opted for Lap-Band surgery in 2013 in an effort to address his weight issues. At his heaviest, Chris reportedly weighed around 350 pounds, which raised concerns about his long-term health.
The decision to undergo the surgery was a deeply personal one for Chris. In a 2013 interview with the New York Post, he shared his reasons for the procedure, stating, "I've struggled with this issue for 20 years. For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
The Lap-Band surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch. This reduces the amount of food a person can consume and helps with weight loss. Following the procedure, Chris lost over 100 pounds, which has had a significant impact on his health and overall quality of life.
In a 2015 interview with Matt Lauer on Today, Chris reflected on his decision, explaining, "I think very few people would look at me now and say that [the surgery] didn't work for me. I mean, I've lost a lot of weight, and I feel much better." Chris has been open about the challenges of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, noting that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix but rather a tool to aid in the journey. In the same interview with Today, he said, "It's not a magic answer for everybody. You have to stay after it."
Chris Christie's willingness to discuss his Lap-Band surgery and its impact on his life has inspired many people who are struggling with obesity and considering surgical options to improve their health.
June Shannon, better known as "Mama June," rose to fame with the reality TV shows "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and "Mama June: From Not to Hot." At her heaviest, June weighed 460 pounds and struggled with various health issues. In 2016, she decided to undergo weight loss surgery, opting for the gastric sleeve procedure.
Following the surgery, June lost an impressive 300 pounds and went from a size 24 to a size 4. Her transformation was documented in the reality TV show "Mama June: From Not to Hot," which showcased her journey and the challenges she faced along the way.
In a 2017 interview with Entertainment Tonight, June shared her thoughts on the procedure, stating, "The gastric sleeve is -- I've not had any complications. I'd definitely recommend it." She also emphasized that the surgery was not a quick fix but rather a starting point for her weight loss journey, explaining, "It's not like I'm Miss Plastic. I mean, I had the skin removal surgery. It is a work in progress."
June has been open about the lifestyle changes she made to maintain her weight loss, including healthier food choices and regular exercise. In a 2017 interview with PEOPLE, she said, "I can promise you I'm never going back to that size. I'm happy where I'm at."
Rosie O'Donnell, the celebrated actress, comedian, and television host, opted for weight loss surgery in 2013 after experiencing a heart attack in 2012. At her heaviest, Rosie weighed around 230 pounds, and the heart attack served as a wake-up call for her to take control of her health.
Rosie chose to undergo vertical gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure that removes a large portion of the stomach, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped stomach. This limits the amount of food a person can consume, ultimately leading to weight loss.
Following the surgery, Rosie lost 64 pounds and adopted a healthier lifestyle to maintain her weight loss. In a 2014 interview with Access Hollywood, Rosie opened up about her decision to have the surgery, saying, "I think it's a tool, it's not an answer. You can't just have the surgery and go, 'I'm done.' You have to change the way you eat, you have to exercise."
Rosie has also been candid about her struggles with weight and health throughout her life. In a 2014 interview with Dr. Oz, she shared, "I've been overweight since I was a kid. I've tried everything... I just wanted to be able to live and be healthy."
Gabourey Sidibe, the talented actress known for her roles in "Precious," "Empire," and "American Horror Story," underwent weight loss surgery in 2016. Gabourey has been open about her struggles with weight and the health issues she faced as a result, including type 2 diabetes.
Gabourey opted for laparoscopic bariatric surgery, specifically the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a smaller, tube-like stomach pouch. The result is a reduced capacity for food intake, leading to weight loss.
In her memoir "This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare," Gabourey shared her decision to have the surgery, stating, "My surgeon said they'd cut my stomach in half. This would limit my hunger and capacity to eat. My brain chemistry would change and I'd want to eat healthier. I'll take it! My lifelong relationship with food had to change."
Following the surgery, Gabourey lost a significant amount of weight and adopted a healthier lifestyle to maintain her progress. In a 2017 interview with PEOPLE, she said, "I have a goal right now, and I'm almost there. And then once I've got it, I'll set another."
Gabourey has been very open about the emotional challenges of her weight loss journey, emphasizing that the surgery was not an easy fix. In her memoir, she wrote, "The surgery wasn't the easy way out. I wasn't cheating by getting it done. I wouldn't have been able to lose as much as I've lost without it."
WebMD. (n.d.). Randy Jackson on Life After Gastric Bypass Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/randy-jackson-life-after-gastric-bypass-surgery
PEOPLE. (2008). Randy Jackson: How I Beat Diabetes. Retrieved from https://people.com/celebrity/randy-jackson-how-i-beat-diabetes/
A Sweet Life. (2014). Randy Jackson: 'I Had to Do Something About My Weight'. Retrieved from https://asweetlife.org/randy-jackson-i-had-to-do-something-about-my-weight/
Dr. Oz Show. (2013). Lisa Lampanelli Opens Up About Weight Loss Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.doctoroz.com/episode/lisa-lampanelli-opens-about-weight-loss-surgery
PEOPLE. (2016). Lisa Lampanelli Opens Up About Her Weight Loss Journey. Retrieved from https://people.com/bodies/lisa-lampanelli-weight-loss-journey/
Oprah Winfrey Show. (n.d.). Carnie Wilson's Weight Loss Journey. Retrieved from https://www.oprah.com/health/carnie-wilsons-weight-loss-journey
Today. (n.d.). Al Roker Shares Gastric Bypass Experience. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/health/al-roker-shares-gastric-bypass-experience-wbna3072986
Guideposts. (2018). Al Roker: Staying Positive Through Life's Storms. Retrieved from https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/people-helping-people/al-roker-staying-positive-through-lifes-storms
New York Post. (2013). Chris Christie Reveals He Had Lap-Band Surgery. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2013/05/07/chris-christie-reveals-he-had-lap-band-surgery/