Jillian Michaels: Motherhood Hasn’t Made Me an Easier Trainer

01/06/2013 at 10:00 AM ET

Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels: Motherhood Has Not Melted My Heart
Cindy Ord/Getty

Less than two years after Jillian Michaels announced she would be taking time off from TV to focus on family, she became a big winner, welcoming two children with partner Heidi Rhoades.

But despite all her off-screen successes, Michaels fans were missing one thing: her role as tough-loving trainer on The Biggest Loser.

“No matter what I do — and I do everything: radio shows, DVDs, books — there’s something about the show that gets in people’s heads in a way that other mediums just can’t,” Michaels, 38, tells TV Guide.

“I went to see Madonna in concert and she played all this new music. And everybody just wanted to hear ‘Holiday.’ I realized this is ‘Holiday’ for me.”

But for those expecting that her Haitian-born daughter Lukensia, 2½, and son Phoenix, 8 months, have melted this mama‘s heart, guess again. In fact, season 14 contestants on The Biggest Loser, premiering Sunday at 9 p.m. on NBC, might just be in for the biggest surprise of all — both on and off the scale.

“Everybody was like, ‘You’re going to be so much softer.’ And I really wanted to be, but it’s not the case,” Michaels says.

“I feel like aspects of my business and home life are being sacrificed for me to be here, and I need that sacrifice to be worth it. It’s worse than it’s ever been, actually.”

This season not only marks her debut as a working mother, but also her first time on the show since the previously private Michaels’ went public with her personal life.

“My agenda is trying to help people live a better life. My life is my business,” she explains. “But the minute you bring kids into the equation, you kind of don’t have a choice. What was I supposed to do? I materialized a newborn. I didn’t know how else to manage that one.”

And while the couple ultimately decided to open the doors to their home — discussing both their relationship and their new family of four — they weren’t quite prepared for the reaction they received from the public.

“I was surprised. People were pretty supportive. We’ve got it all going on in our household — two moms and a black daughter — so I thought we were going to get it from every angle,” Michaels says. “But for the most part, people basically said, ‘God bless. Congratulations!'”

From continuing her career on The Biggest Loser to reveling in her motherhood role, life has come full circle for Michaels, who openly admits she’s “the biggest kid” in her home.

“I have these moments when I say, ‘Whose life is this?'” she shares. “You know your life has changed when a baby pees on you and you just leave the shirt on. You think, ‘He’s just going to puke on me in a minute.’ But it’s worth it in every way.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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hmmm..... on

I’m not sure if it was necessary to include the term “black” within the hyperlink- daughter is sufficient….as if there is an article surrounding that choice for them- and as far as expecting public disapproval- she should give people more credit. As a black person, I find that sometimes expecting race/sexuality/gender to be a non-issue, will make it just that in other’s eyes. When you reference things at every turn it smacks of wanting some sort of generic approval.

erica2 on

@Hmmmm I’m a black woman and was a bit disturbed by that statement as well it was totally unnecessary anyone that looks at lukensia knows she’s black. Why make an issue out of a non issue?!? I believe her adopted son is a minority yet she didn’t feel the need to shout that from the roof top. I hope this isnt the case of lukensia being the “black” sheep of the family!

Brittany on

Of course you are offended erica. I bet everything offends you. How many black children have you adopted?

Courtney grable on

Her son was not adopted. Her partner Heidi gave birth to him.

Halley on

erica2, her son is not adopted, her partner gave birth to him. Still I agree, that Lukensia being black is being made out to be a much bigger deal than need be.

Jessica on

I frankly can’t stand her. I think she’s a rude and ignorant person. She acts like she’s above everyone else cause she’s a trainer.

summer wonder on

I think the point people are missing with the term black being used is the fact most people have something to say about white families adopting black children but to add to the mix the white family is two mothers and no father.

thesubparbaker on

@jscott- how in the world is she ignorant? She is trying to help people. You may not like her approach but she has helped thousands of people. @summerwonder- I think you’re completely right. It’s getting taken out of context.

Jeff on

Why doesn’t she go away, and stay there? Her attitude is laughable; if she got in my face, shouting at me like that, a quick head butt would make sure she didn’t do it again.

Jaci on

Jeff, I’d like to see you try.

Sammie on

in other words she’s still a bi tch

unreliablevampire on

if you guys don’t like her, why would you click on an article with her name in the title? she is extremely educated about food and fitness and i think her desire to help people is very genuine. just because her motivation style is not yours does not mean that it isn’t other people’s. the fact that she has inspired so many people to get their lives back on track proves that she’s effective.

plus, if you’ve spent any time watching her on bl at all, you’d know that the shouting in people’s faces part of her training is a very small part of her overall approach.

Dee on

I’m black and not offended by her comments at all. She is trying to explain the dynamics of her household and she said it like it is. She is a lesbian woman with a wife/lifepartner with a black daughter (adopted) and a biological son (via wife).

What’s wrong with that? Some of you people need to get your heads examined. It’s 2013, nothings wrong with calling a black person BLACK!!!! I prefer to be called black than “coloured” for example.

Get over it!

Jaci on

exactly Dee. I’m white and thats what Im called. The only time I hear “Caucasian” is to check it off on a form or when the police are reporting on someone.

Jessica on

AMEN Dee!!

Em Cruz on

Well put Dee!

Erika on

When she brought up the fact that her daughter is black, she was saying that it was just another thing people would criticize. People are very critical of gay parents to begin with, and say that children need a mother and a father. People also tend to criticize families that adopt children of different races, saying that they can’t identify with them or whatever. She was just saying that she was prepared for a lot of criticism because there are people out there who have a problem with both gay parenting, and interracial adoption.

I like Jillian and I think she is very good at what she does. The people that she is training need to be pushed hard and not coddled. She knows exactly what to do with them, and if you look at the winners over the past seasons most of them were trained by her.

Amber on

She is so stupid. There is just something about her I can’t stand. Her attitude about everything is just bleh. Now she mentioned having a “black daughter” and that just made me dislike her even more. She is a moron.

Tina on

Why can’t anyone refer to someone being black without it being pointed out??????????? I mean really, I don’t think it was meant to be offensive. I really just think she was trying to make a point about her situation.

Anonymous on

I think she wasn’t using the term “my daughter being black” as a negative, rather in the past white families who have adopted black children, were bullied and antagonized over it. She was saying it was shocking that she wasn’t bullied over adopting a black child, while she is white and gay.

Annie Ruiz on

Good lord people get a life it wasnt offensive at all . Why is it okay for people of color to call caucasion people “white” and its not okay for caucasions to call colored people “black”?. I know because the majority of people on here want to be negative. Want something to argue about, they feel as if they can point at someone and make them out to be something they are not they will become better than that person. GET A GRIP PEOPLE.

Kat on

Yes, and I echo what she says is the most common (and in my opinion, correct) response: God bless and congratulations!!! I hope the four of you have many happy years together 🙂

CL on

The only reason the mention of her daughter being black is because (if you read the context of the discussion) her family life doesn’t follow the “norm”…and she was given a lot of grief for adopting a black child… ridiculous that people would rather a child go without a home than go into a mixed home.

A note on her (I love her…following her work outs and food advice, I’ve lost 40 pounds)….if you were to watch her other videos and read her books…she actually really cares…and part of her on screen attitude is because people make all kinds of excuses and sometimes getting them mad drives them forward.

Then again…haters will hate no matter what kind of logic is put in front of them.

Nmyownlane on

Whatever happened to people being positive!!! All this negativity is not called for!!! Im sure everyone has something to say but sometimes keep it to yourself!!!!!

Anonymous on

She’s nothing more then a middle aged bully!

K otstot on

I am a single mother of a mixed child. My mother was adopted by a black family. Things are not easy when you are growing up in this world. But at least I can say that I know both national anthems from both races as for her training techniques, she has inspired me to live better. I gained 45lbs while I was pregnant. I have lost over 57 pounds since the birth of my daughter a year and a half ago. My diet and my daughter diet are more healthy due to jillian. People need to understand she was saying how she thought the public would rip her to pieces

Story2 on

One good thing is, she makes great money those kids will appreciate that. The therapy bills will be very expensive by the time they reach adulthood!!!

hmmm..... on

I’d like to mention that my original comment referred to the hyperlink within the article- not
a)the fact that her daughter is black
b)whether or not it is okay to call someone black
c) whether or not black people or anyone else for that matter likes her (I do) or was offended by her statements within the article.
I took issue (if at all) with the way the article was written and linked. Ironically, the title of the article seems to have very little to do with what the article is about…..and considering how some of the other black/African American/ people of color/insert your term here?/ folks have responded, I wish I hadn’t brought it up either…….One love people….one love:-)

liarlairpantsonfire on

she’s been a mom for how long?

tp404 on

I am a Haitian girl born in Haiti and i took no offense in her saying that her daughter is black. I didn’t know it was wrong for people to say that my daughter is black or whatever color your daughter is. She is just saying that she thought people would give her a hard time about having a black daughter and two moms in a household. People can’t take nothing lightly now a days. BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN SAME DAMN THING!!

Fan on

Being in front of the public in the entertainment business is her profession. I think she has been EXTREMELY BRAVE in allowing her private life to be exposed. She has helped so many people and I believe her to be quite geuine in wanting to do good works. She risked EVERYTHING by coming out, adopting and revealing her partner to have given birth. Too many people sit at their computers and spew at the celebrities without regard for who they reall are.

linda on

Congration Jillian for caring about kids and people my kids love your exceeded

Dea on

Why is everyone obsessing on the black business? The real tragedy here is that two innocent children are being brought up with no father and will believe that two women in a sexual relationship is normal. It’s not normal, never will be but the gay agenda is to force us to accept a new normal. It seems to be working as no one else on this blog has brought this up. Afraid?

Judy on

That’s your opinion Dea, so you’d rather these kids grow up in a system where more than likely they could be hurt and never know true love. Here are two women who are willing to be loving parents and chose to be parents to those kids. This is why so many kids who are gay have a problem coming out and it’s made for them within themselves to be worse than what it is. They put us on this earth not to pass judgement but to love everyone for who they are no matter what.

I have a gay cousin and grew up in a very conservative catholic family and because of that my cousin was suicidal. Which in my opinion is worse. So please just shut it about your beliefs on this cause some gay parents are amazing parents and I know first hand cause of gay guy friends with kids. I run to them for advice for my son.

Anonymous on

I don’t think it made her an easy trainer at all if anything it made her meaner. Since when is it motivating to yell “get your sorry ass out of my gym”?


Im waiting for some girl from the South to give her what she deserves! Shes the most hateful, rude, disrespectful MANly person on the show. I wont watch the show at all bc she gets under my skin so bad, I would love to meet her head on….WAR!

Anonymous on

Dea- Actually, her kids are recieving one of the best gifts of them all: The knowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes! 🙂 Also, Lukensia and Phoenix may not have a dad in their life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have father FIGURES (grandfathers, uncles, family friends, etc.) in their lives! 🙂

arsenalhenry on

This woman changed my life. I was never over weight before but no matter how much I ran I could lose those extra pounds. Enter Jillian Michaels’ dvds. The woman is tough but she produces results like no one else. Feel so strong these days thanks to her.

LittleMo on

I am a white female and while I mean no disrespect to the opinions of the black women who have commented, I have to disagree. It’s not just unfortunate, but downright infuriating that race would be an issue in 2012 but it is. JM is right in that there are people who would look at her life with Heidi and find what they consider “sticking point.” That’s not to say that any of those things are anyone’s business but Jillian’s and Heidi’s but people will find things about the lives of other people to point at and gossip about. It’s shameful, but a black child being raised by a couple, gay or straight, outside of their race is one of those things. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

rachel on

when it comes to family, nothing is normal.
And I’m glad for it.
We see differences between us all every day in our lives, and love doesn’t have to look the same. It shouldn’t. We aren’t identical and our loves shouldn’t be.
Its beautiful regardless.
I bet yours is too 🙂

amatthie on

Jillian RULES!

valeskas on

Yes, she is a mother, but did she give birth to those kids, no. So she does not even know, how hard it is after a pregnancy to lose weight. Her job is being a trainer, so she is all day in a gym and can train also, while the rest of us have to go to work, cook and take care of the kids and she probably has help at home. So whatever she says, I do not take to seriously, she does not live our lives and has the money to hire help when needed.

Anonymous on

Ughhh I can’t stand this chick! Please slither back off the show. Nobody missed you!

Karolina on

I love Jillian – I have a lot of her DVD’s and they are fantastic. She is tough – but hey – sometimes you need a push in the ass to work out. I personally don’t see any trainer being like..please, please do a few extra reps..if you’re up to it! She is tough and calls people out on their b.s…and you know what – it works.

jessicad on

I love her and think she’s a great role model for many different types of people. I’m happy she has a family and that most people have been supportive, we all deserve happiness and she seems to have found it!

K on

I got to meet Jillian and Heidi while they were working on the adoption of Lukensia. I can say they are both very normal, nice people who really wanted to be parents. There are so many negative comments on here. The fact is that people need to learn to differentiate between a TV personality (which often is portrayed as extreme as possible to get ratings) and who people really are. Jillian Michaels is a woman who had dedicated her life to saving other people’s lives. Sometimes tough love is the only way to make that happen.

As for the comment about her daughter being black, she was simply stating that she thought people would have an issue with it and they didn’t. Some of you need to learn how to read and comprehend before you fly off the handle being judgemental.

boohoobytch on

I’m not offended in the least, she was making a point about her original (no, not really by today’s standards) family…2 women raising an adopted child of another race, she would’ve said “Asian daughter” or whatever race had the child not been white…chick helped me get in major shape for my South Beach trip with the 30 day shred dvd’s, she’s got personality and says what she wants, BFD…now, please settle down peeps, it’s only Monday

Patricia on

I used to love to watch this show – I always found it very motivating and I sincerely felt happy for the contestants. Well, after last night’s debut episode, I definitely won’t be watching this season. “Tough love” I understand – being “rigorously honest” I understand – but I found Ms. Jillian to be a rude, mean bi*** to the folks on her team. Mean is never acceptable – I can’t imagine how these contestants stayed with her. I will be skipping this show as long as she’s on it.

Elizabeth on

I agree, who cares what color she is I can’t believe she termed it that way, daughter would have been more than enough.

Emz on

I like her. Good for her to adopt as well as her partner give both. They will be amazing parents.

T.Rob on

I’m disturbed if any minority was offended by what she said!

It bothers me that what should offend us doesn’t…like the fact that ‘black kids’ are not being adopted but put through a very abusive system. That’s offensive!!

2013 people!! We gotta change our ‘thin skin’

Good day!

dsfg on

” . . . and will believe that two women in a sexual relationship is normal. It’s not normal, never will be . . .”

Dea, did you graduate high school or go to college? Because I can assure you that men and women have been involved in same sex sexual relationships since the beginning of time. It’s a proven fact, not a belief. Whether or not you think it’s moral is up to you, but it’s definitely normal.

Anonymous on

Elizabeth- And how else do you suggest she go about saying that she thought she and Heidi would get attack for raising a child of a different race than theirs?

dsfg- Exactly! I’d also like to add that homosexuality also occurs in the animal kingdom. In fact, some animals display a HIGHER rate of homosexuality than humans do, with the higest, from what I’ve read, occuring in male bats!

DBrouss on

I have never watched the biggest loser before yesterday. I agree that her tough-love approach in the first episode was a bit shocking, but you could see a difference in the second episode. I have been overweight for as long as I can remember and I am so tired of it.

I am 35 years old and have recently come out of the closet. I actually had a failed marriage to a man in my early twenties, and although I have always been attracted to women, I never acted on it due to a strict Catholic upbringing.

After watching the first two episodes of this season of the biggest loser, I went on a google search to read about the trainers. Finding out that Jillian Michaels was at one time overweight and is now healthy and happy as well as in a same sex partnership with a mixed family gives me hope. My partner and I would like to have a child, and I have put it off because of my fear of my child being bullied or harassed due to having 2 mothers. My friends think I’m nuts and over thinking things.

When I was growing up and in school, I never had friends that had same-sex parents. I am from New Orleans, and didn’t even know anybody that was interracial or came from a mixed family. These things affect you so much in the long run. Changing the way that we think is so difficult. Even though I am in what is probably the healthiest relationship that I have ever been in, it is constant work. I now live in Dallas, which seems much more diverse then New Orleans, and I know many people who are gay, or dating/married/have children outside their race. My understanding is that their children often have several classmates with two mommies or two daddies. I do understand that it’s difficult to change your views, especially for the older generation. But times are changing and we are evolving, and I am so thankful that there is a role model like her out there for someone like me.

I plan on signing up online for the home challenge. Maybe with her as inspiration, I can finally get control over my eating and exercise habits.

People hyper-focusing on the fact that she referrd to her daughter as black, need to re-read the article and not take her statements out of context. It is not like she is referring to her as the ‘black daughter’. She was pointing out that she expected backlash that she didn’t get. Personally, this gives me hope. I like the idea that our generation, and those younger than us are evolving to accept different styles of family.

There is too much hate in the world as it is.

If you can’t say something nice……..

Marissa on

Jillian your a bully. I usually enjoy the biggest loser and watch it with my children. The show was uncomfortable. You take it to another level. I actually used you as an example to my kids that thats what bullies are like. There is a difference being “tough” and being a bully. If tough worked your team would have won. You talked that poor girl into leaving. You dont have to come back harder just to prove a point because your a mother now. I was uncomfortable watching the show with my kids. You should motivate now cut down. Your network should reconsider you being on the show. I dont even feel i can watch it with my kids now.

Sunny James on

I personally find that people yelling & screaming at people do very little to help them you wouldnt treat a young adult or child as a matter a fact if a teach or coach would treat a young adult or child this way they would most likely be fired & so why is it ok to treat adults that way. & anyone who agrees with this method of motivation let someone get in your face yelling & screaming at you about something you are struggling with & see how it works for you. You would not allow your spouse or boss to talk to you this way. It is a form of abuse & bullying!!!