Jackson appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show alongside guest host Tiffany Haddish and spoke about how much weight he lost and how he has been staying with his healthier lifestyle.
“Years ago, when Idol first started, I was like 358,” he told Haddish. “I had to get it down, man. What I did is, I went through, I had gastric bypass. I started Unify Health Labs, my own vitamin line. I had a food divorce is what I usually say. I had to let it all go and start over.”
Jackson Has Said He Went Through a ‘Food Divorce’
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.
According to Woman’s World, 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 Was Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes
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 has said that managing his diagnosis is in line with managing his weight.
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.”
Catch Jackson on Name That Tune on Fox.