“After helping hundreds of contestants transform their lives and inspiring millions of viewers at home, The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels have decided to part ways and she will not be returning for season 16 when it airs in the fall.”
NBC offered no reason for Michaels’ departure, or on who will be her replacement.
In an April 2014 article in People, Jillian expressed concern about the direction the show is taking. She considered some of the show’s story lines “mean-spirited,” was concerned about the care the contestants were receiving, and was concerned that the show was portraying her as a villain.
In the Season 15 Finale, Jillian wondered aloud whether winner Rachel Frederickson had lost too much weight. Rachel herself was in poor health following the show, and her dramatic weight loss created something of a controversy in social media.
Despite the show’s focus on life-changing weight loss and healthy diet & exercise, such dramatic weight loss, over such a short amount of time, is not healthy. Former contestant Evan Symon told Cracked.com that she was “physically ruined” after the show. Although Jillian has not said anything on the matter publicly, her dissatisfaction with the toll the show is taking on the contestants may be a factor in her decision to leave.
Jillian Michaels was born in Los Angeles in 1974. Her parents divorced at age 12; by age 14, Jillian’s psychological problems, combined with her parents’ divorce, had led to Jillian weighing 175 pounds, at five feet tall, in eighth grade.
“Once, I was sitting at lunch and got surrounded by a bunch of kids who let me have it about how ugly I was—my unibrow, the size of my nose, the fat rolling over my jeans. It was pure hell. My mom had to pull me out and put me in another school.”
Michaels’ personal journey to weight loss and fitness began when her mother enrolled her in martial arts, at age 14, to help combat her weight problem. Although she gained control over her weight, her personal life remained in turmoil: she was kicked out of the house at age 17 by her mother, and to this day she remains estranged from her father.
In 2002, Jillian opened up her own gym, Sky Sport & Spa, in Beverly Hills. In 2005, she joined The Biggest Loser as a strength coach. She left the show after Season 11, and again after Season 14.
NBC has made no announcement about who will be Jillian’s replacement.