Randy Jackson Breaks Silence After Videos Show Him Struggling to Walk

Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell

Getty Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell at Kelly Clarkson's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in September 2022

Nearly two months after videos emerged of original “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson struggling to walk at an event honoring Kelly Clarkson, the legendary musician has offered a brief explanation, saying he hopes to walk without assistance again.


Viral Videos of Randy Jackson Sparked Concern Among ‘Idol’ Fans

Original 'Idol' judges with Kelly Clarkson

GettyKelly Clarkson poses with original “American Idol” judges (L to R) Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul after receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September 2022

Fans were thrilled to see all three original “American Idol” judges — Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul — come together at Clarkson’s Walk of Fame ceremony on September 19, 2022, honoring the singer they had crowned the show’s first-ever winner back in 2002. But supporters also expressed worry over Randy Jackson’s frail appearance at the ceremony, particularly after videos of him struggling to walk went viral.

In the days following the ceremony, videos taken by fans revealed how much difficulty Jackson, 66, had with standing and walking independently. Meanwhile, on a live stream of the ceremony, the music producer and bass guitarist could be seen trying to hide his cane behind him and holding onto Cowell’s shoulder while posing for photos.

Days later, on September 23, fans noticed that when he appeared on “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” he did not walk onto the stage like most guests. Rather, the show returned from a commercial break and he was already sitting next to Hudson.

Though Jackson has talked openly about his weight loss journey over the last 20 years and even started a company devoted to aiding in gut health, he had said little regarding his recent challenges with walking.

But in a new interview on the November 11 edition of comedian Tig Notaro’s podcast, “Don’t Ask Tig,” he referenced his mobility issues while discussing his 2002 diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, which prompted him to get gastric bypass surgery.

Jackson told Notaro that since there’s no cure, one of the main goals in managing the disease is “just trying to get your diet under control and trying to get your weight under control and give you more of a fighting chance.”

“Now as I look at it,” he continued, “I’m happy that I did that because it gave me a much better quality of life, even though I’ve been going through some back surgeries over the last couple of years. But on the mend there, trying to get off the cane and walk better.”

Jackson acknowledged that fans are often surprised when he or other stars suffer from health challenges.

“People think it doesn’t happen to us celebs,” he told Notaro. “I don’t care what your line of work or who you think you are, it can happen to anyone. And that’s why I often share, I’m an open book with people, because hey, I got health stuff going on too, man. You gotta deal with this stuff.”


All 3 Original ‘American Idol’ Judges Have Undergone Serious Back Surgeries

Original American Idol judges

GettyRandy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on the last FOX broadcast of “American Idol” in 2016

In February 2021, Jackson revealed to Entertainment Tonight that he’d had spinal surgery in 2019, so he’d been able to offer empathy and tips when Cowell broke his back in several places following a bike accident, requiring surgery and physical therapy.

“I also had spine surgery a year and a half or so ago, so it’s funny both he and I are having all these back pains,” Jackson said at the time. “I kid him. I say, ‘Look, we’re getting a little bit older, we’re 36 now, internally, but we ain’t 30 no more dawg. We gotta, like, respect the body, yo!'”

Coincidentally, Abdul is also very familiar with the struggles that come with back surgeries. A 1993 plane crash left her partially paralyzed and required 15 spinal surgeries, according to Parade. Through years of various neurological treatments and therapies, she has said she now feels better than ever.

Jackson’s challenges with mobility have not slowed him down in 2022. He’s appeared on the revival of the classic show “Name That Tune” for the last two seasons, has rejoined the band journey as its bass guitarist, and appeared in May 2022 with Abdul at the “American Idol” judges’ table for a special reunion.

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