Season 17 of The Biggest Loser debuts Monday night on NBC, and there is one contestant who may feel quite familiar to many viewers. Richard Hatch is joining this new season in a quest to lose weight, but many will remember him as the first winner of the CBS reality TV show Survivor. What’s the scoop on this new contestant?
As the Biggest Loser website details, Richard Hatch won Season 1 of Survivor back 2000. Hatch was a fairly controversial contestant even back in that first season of the show, and he has remained controversial in the years since then. Richard also competed on Survivor: All Stars in 2004 and has made numerous television appearances over the years, including participating in a season of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.
— Survivor Quotes (@SurvivorQuotesX) October 6, 2015
While Hatch is known mostly for his time on television, he has made headlines in other ways as well. As ABC News detailed at the time, Hatch was arrested after his time on Survivor after an argument with his former boyfriend Glenn Boyanowski.
The Survivor star had also been arrested for child abuse when he had allegedly forced his son to exercise. The charges were dropped, but Hatch filed a lawsuit alleging that he had been falsely arrested. That suit was dismissed, but there were some ongoing legal issues over the incident for a while.
More trouble came in 2006 when Hatch was found guilty of tax evasion. As Today noted, he was accused of not paying taxes on his Survivor winnings, and he had other income as a radio co-host and a rental property owner that he seemingly owed taxes on as well. Hatch faced up to 13 years in prison, although he was ultimately sentenced to a 51-month term.
The New York Daily News details that Hatch spent more than three years in jail, but after he failed to pay the taxes on his Survivor prize, he was ordered back to prison for another nine months. Richard had been on a three-year supervised release, and the judge sentenced him to a longer sentence than guidelines recommended due to what he detailed as Hatch’s lack of compliance or remorse.
The IRS had estimated that Hatch owed about $2 million at one point, but the Survivor winner maintained his innocence. He had planned to appeal the second sentence, which came in the midst of his season of Celebrity Apprentice hitting television screens.
— Survivor (@BTV_Survivor) December 1, 2015
Hatch, now 54-years-old, served in the military prior to his reality television days. In addition to his military service, Hatch has a master’s degree in counseling and education and he worked as a corporate trainer and motivational speaker for 15 years.
The Newport, Rhode Island, native points to childhood abuse and low self-esteem as some of the causes for his weight issues. As the Biggest Loser contestant shared via People, he says that he was raped at the age of 8 and molested at the age of 10, and those experiences impacted how he moved forward in life.
This Biggest Loser contestant says he is now motivated to get fit by his husband, Emiliano. He notes that he wants to figure out why he wants to be fat so that he can find a way to want something better. NBC indicates that he is starting Season 17 weighing in at 314 pounds and he is facing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and he is pre-diabetic.
This new season, which has trainer Bob Harper as host in the wake of Alison Sweeney’s departure, has the contestants playing in teams of two. Hatch’s partner is Voice contestant Erin Willett, and Richard notes that he didn’t know anything about her going into this season. How does this duo do? It sounds like it may be a rocky partnership, but viewers will have to tune in to see how far they make it.
Will Richard Hatch’s stint on The Biggest Loser provide the opportunity for this Survivor winner to pull his life together? Season 17 of The Biggest Loser starring Richard Hatch, Erin Willett, and a full slate of contestants premieres on NBC on Monday, January 4.
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]