Former ‘American Idol’ Judge Talks Health, Disease Diagnosis

American Idol


Former American Idol judge Randy Jackson underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and has maintained his 100-pound-plus weight loss since then. He has since opened up about his struggles with weight loss and his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Jackson was a judge on American Idol for 12 seasons alongside music superstar Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.

The three were an iconic presence on the show, and they’re still making waves in the reality TV competition industry, as Cowell judges America’s Got Talent, Abdul is a panelist on The Masked Dancer, and Jackson recently began hosting a new game show, a reboot of Name That Tune. Jackson revealed that for most of his time on American Idol, he was struggling with his weight, according to Good Housekeeping.

Jackson Has Been Open About His Diagnosis

According to Woman’s World, Jackson was 350 lbs during season 2 of American Idol. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003, which is when he decided to make changes to his lifestyle. He shared at the time that it had been “a long time coming.” Jackson shared that diabetes ran in his family but he never thought that he would get it.

“It’s a curse to be saddled with a disease that’s life-threatening and that you can’t completely get rid of (though you can certainly manage it),” he wrote in his book Body With Soul. “But it’s a blessing to get that huge wake-up call.”

Jackson spoke with People Magazine in 2020 about his weight loss journey and his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

“For a long time you see me on TV and people have noticed me in the past and I was struggling with my weight, then I finally got it off by using some pretty drastic measures,” he shared.

Jackson had gastric bypass surgery and also worked with fitness experts as well as nutritionists and mental health experts. He has kept off over 100 lbs since his surgery. He said that he has to manage his weight in order to manage his diabetes.

“Managing type 2 diabetes also runs hand in hand with managing your weight,” he shared.

Jackson Was Encouraged to Change by Idol and its Contestants

According to the interview with People, Jackson felt encouraged to change his weight because of the way contestants sometimes reacted to him on American Idol. 

“I think it was on season 2 of Idol,” he shared. “You come in and they go, ‘Yeah dawg,  you’re telling me I’m terrible but you’re fat!’ And I would go, ‘I am. I have mirrors in my house. I know!’ So I think that finally, it was that and also I had an emergency room visit that I thought I was really sick and had a cold or something.”

Jackson co-founded Unify Health Labs, which he says he founded to help people get healthy without all the confusion.

“This is me sort of giving back,” he said. “Something that’s a simple solution because all of us probably have 50 bottles on the counter or 50 bottles in teh bathroom of different vitamins and things that we take.”

He said that people, “have to change the way you think about food. You have to almost have a complete divorce break up… and start ack bit by bit and find out the things that work with your body and also find out the allergies and really pay attention to how you feel.”

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