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A high-profile trainer and life coach, Jillian Michaels starred on the reality TV show The Biggest Loser and has created her own fitness franchise.
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Born on February 18, 1974, in Los Angeles, California, Jillian Michaels is a fitness guru who joined the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser in 2004 as its strength coach. She has her own video workout series, a clothing line, a newsletter with millions of subscribers and several books, including Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life. Michaels has two children with her partner Heidi Rhoades.
"Let's just say I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that's awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that's awesome. As long as you fall in love ... it's like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!"
"Seeing my two kids together is a magical feeling. Motherhood changes your DNA. My kids are now an integral part of who I am."
"I would like to win a Nobel Prize. In a perfect world I'd like to get to that place where I walk away from everything. And then I can be pure Bill Gates. Cure smallpox. I want to turn around and be like, 'I cured smallpox. How about those apples?' You know what I mean? Or, like, 'I reversed global warming. How 'bout that?'"
Born on February 18, 1974, in Los Angeles, California, Jillian Michaels was raised by her mother, Jo Ann McKarus, a psychotherapists in Santa Monica. Michaels endured a rough childhood marred by low self-esteem and psychological issues.
"I was a really disturbed kid," Michaels remembers. "You know how kids have night terrors? Mine were really bad. I thought sharks were coming out of the drain in the bathtub. I couldn't sleep at night, every night, waiting for aliens to come. I'm not kidding you: I. Was. Traumatized." Her mother enrolled her in therapy at the age of 5, which Michaels says helped her tremendously. "I still try to go to therapy at least twice a week," she says. "It has given me the confidence to pursue the things I love."
Michaels' parents divorced when she was 12 years old. The breakup of the family took a heavy emotional toll on Michaels, one manifestation of which was weight gain. By the time she was in the eighth grade, Michaels was 5-feet 2-inches and 175 pounds, and kids teased her frequently about her weight and appearance. "Once," she recalls, "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 gained control of her weight—and her life—at age 14, when her mother signed her up for martial arts classes. "It taught me that if I didn't respect myself, no one else would respect me," she says. "It helped me to redefine myself."
Nevertheless, Michaels' relationship with her parents remained severely strained after their divorce. She stopped speaking to her father after he moved out of their home, and they remain estranged to this date. At age 17, after years of constant fighting at home, Michaels' mother kicked her out of the house to teach her how to fend for herself. She attended California State University, Northridge while bartending at night to support herself. Upon graduation, she worked briefly as an agent at International Creative Management in Los Angeles. But she hated her job and soon quit to become a personal trainer. Then, in 2002, at the age of 28, Michaels opened her own gym, Sky Sport & Spa, with fellow fitness expert Jackie Warner (who went on to star in the Bravo reality show Work Out).
Michaels got her big break in 2005 when she was cast as a personal trainer on the NBC reality TV show, The Biggest Loser. The show features obese and overweight contestants who compete to lose the most weight through an intense exercise and health regimen.
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