Yesterday, on pop star Kelly Clarkson‘s new daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, none other than Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul showed up (Justin Guarini was there too, and Ryan Seacrest Skyped in). The American Idol reunion was all that you could ask for — emotional, sweet, and revealing — but fans could not stop talking about Jackson, who was noticeably trimmer since his time as an Idol judge. Turns out, there’s an important reason for that.
The star’s weight peaked at 350 pounds in the early 2000s, but his struggle with obesity began long before then. As a child in Louisiana in the 1960s, he grew up eating delicious yet fatty foods like sausage and grits and bread pudding. But everything changed during his early days at American Idol, when he got a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes from his doctor. When Jackson got the news about his health, it was a big wakeup call for him to begin his weight loss journey. And what a journey it was!
Randy Jackson has lost more than 100 pounds since then by undergoing gastric bypass surgery and developing a much healthier relationship with food.
Randy Jackson in September 2002. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“For the old Dawg, a holiday party was a chance to have something to eat, drink, and be merry, but the new Randy does not drink or eat at parties,” Jackson said in a 2008 interview with WebMD.
Now, this isn’t to say that Jackson is only eating raw lettuce leaves now; in fact, he’s simply learned how to cook healthier versions of some of his favorite Southern comfort foods, such as low-fat sweet potato pie and salt-free Cajun spice bread. It was challenging for him to be around so many tempting and unhealthy options while he was on the road working on Idol. (There were always chips, cookies, cakes, and candy around.) But clearly, he proved himself to be more than ready for the challenge.
“It’s all about being aware of who you are, knowing your body, and accepting that,” Jackson said.
More than a decade later, Jackson is looking better and healthier than ever before. Talk about singing a different tune!
Randy Jackson in April 2018. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)