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Jillian Michaels

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Jillian Michaels
Michaels in May 2018
Born (1974-02-18) February 18, 1974 (age 50)
  • Personal trainer
  • businesswoman
  • media personality
  • author
Deshanna Marie Minuto
(m. 2022)

Jillian Michaels (born February 18, 1974) is an American fitness expert, certified nutritionist, businesswoman, media personality, and author.[1] She is best known for her appearances on NBC series such as The Biggest Loser. She has also made an appearance on the talk show The Doctors. In 2015, she hosted and co-judged a series on Spike titled Sweat, INC. In 2016, her reality television series Just Jillian premiered on E!.

Early life[edit]

Michaels was born in Los Angeles on February 18, 1974,[2] the daughter of psychotherapist JoAnn, and lawyer Douglas McKarus.[3][4][5] Her mother is Jewish[6] and her father is of Syrian descent.[4] She was raised in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles.[2]

Michaels was heavy in her youth, using food to comfort herself, which became more pronounced at age 13 when her parents divorced. Around that time, her weight topped out at approximately 170 pounds (77 kg). Her mother enrolled her in martial arts classes to help her deal with stress, the result of which was Jillian focusing on health, wellness and fitness.[7]

She attended California State University, Northridge, supporting herself as a bartender and personal trainer during that time. In 2002, after working briefly as an agent with International Creative Management, she opened the sports medicine facility Sky Sport & Spa in Beverly Hills.[2]


Michaels in April 2011

As a personal trainer, Michaels uses a blend of strength training techniques with her clients including kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, plyometrics, and weight training.[8] Since 1993, Michaels has held four personal training certificates from the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association NESTA and The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), CanFitPro and she is Kettlebell Concepts certified. Michaels has also developed a continuing education series for trainers with AFAA and holds a nutrition and wellness consultant certificate with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).[9]


Jillian Michaels: The Fitness App is one of the top fitness apps globally and has won awards from both Apple and Google for best of in health and fitness app category.[10] Michaels has also released 20 fitness DVDs that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Michaels has also authored 9 books on health and wellness topics with 8 NY Times Best Sellers New York Times Best Seller list.[11][12]

Since February 2011, Michaels has hosted a weekly podcast, Keeping It Real, through iTunes. In December 2011, the show was among the podcasts honored by Apple in its App Store Rewind 2011, winning in the Best New Audio Podcast category.[13]

Michaels launched her company Empowered Media LLC in 2008 and released her fitness video membership website called Fitfusion.com. Fitfusion is also associated and broadcasts on AT&T U-verse, BroadbandTV Corp, Bell Satellite TV Canada, and other TV channels, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Fitness OnDemand reaching audiences in Marriott, Hilton Worldwide and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.[14][15]

The Biggest Loser[edit]

Michaels in April 2017

Michaels was a trainer on the reality series The Biggest Loser when the show started in October 2004. On the show, she assumed the role of Red Team trainer and remained in that capacity for the first two seasons. After her departure in 2006, she was replaced by Kim Lyons.[16] She returned to the show in 2007 as the Black Team trainer competing against Lyons' Red Team and Bob Harper's Blue Team.[17] Along with Harper, Michaels was also a trainer in the Australian version of the show from 2006 to 2008.[18]

On December 7, 2010, Michaels announced via Twitter that the eleventh season of the show would be her last.[19] Michaels made her last appearance on The Biggest Loser on May 24, 2011.

On September 4, 2012, it was announced that Michaels will return to The Biggest Loser in Season 14.[20] Michaels also returned for Season 15, which premiered on October 15, 2013, on NBC, but did not return for Season 16 which aired in the fall of 2014.[21]

Losing It With Jillian[edit]

On June 1, 2010, NBC debuted Losing It With Jillian, a spin-off of The Biggest Loser. In the show, Michaels visits the home and workplaces of family members for a week.[22][23]

Losing It With Jillian originally ran on NBC in June and July 2010. As of January 2012, all eight episodes of the series are available for viewing online.[24]

Contract with CBS Television Distribution[edit]

On May 6, 2011, CBS Television Distribution announced that Michaels had signed a multi-year deal to become a co-host of the panel-discussion show The Doctors, as well as to serve as a special correspondent on the CTD program Dr. Phil. Michaels had been a guest on The Doctors several times previously.[25] On the show, Michaels hosted a recurring segment called Ask Jillian, which dealt primarily with nutrition and diet topics.

Michaels left The Doctors in January 2012 after half a season, because, she said, the arrangement "wasn't the fit both the show and I hoped for".[26][27]

Charity work[edit]

Michaels works with a variety of charities including the UNHCR,[28] the NFL's Play 60,[29] Stand Up to Cancer,[30] Working Wardrobes,[31] Hope for Haiti,[32] Sow a Seed, and Dress for Success.[33] She also devotes time to animal welfare causes, and helped PETA rescue a racehorse from a slaughterhouse in 2012.[34]


The company Basic Research LLC and Michaels were sued in a class action suit for false advertising when marketing Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control, which claimed to promote weight loss by only taking two pills before a meal.[35][36][37][38] Basic Research was given the "Most Outrageous" award for Quackwatch's 2010 Slim Chance Awards, which is awarded to "...promoters of weight loss schemes."[35] Michaels was sued multiple times over the diet pills with her name on them.[37] The lawsuits were eventually dismissed.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Michaels publicly came out in 2012, but has stated, "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!"[40] She has credited the music video for Madonna's 1990 song "Justify My Love" with helping her acknowledge her sexuality.[41]

From 2009 to 2018, Michaels was in a relationship with Heidi Rhoades.[40] They adopted a two-year-old daughter from Haiti in May 2012, while Rhoades gave birth to a son that same month.[42] They became engaged at an unknown date, but announced the end of their relationship in June 2018.[43][44]

In 2018, Michaels began a relationship with fashion designer Deshanna Marie Minuto. They became engaged in November 2021 and married in July 2022.[45][46]


  • Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life (September 2005), William Morrow, ISBN 0-06-084546-5
  • Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You (April 2007), Harmony Books, ISBN 0-307-38250-8
  • Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! (April 2009), Crown, ISBN 0-307-45073-2
  • The Master Your Metabolism Calorie Counter (April 2010), Three Rivers Press, ISBN 0-307-71821-2
  • The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook (April 2010), Harmony Books, ISBN 0-307-71822-0
  • Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life (April 2011), Harmony Books, ISBN 0-307-58830-0
  • Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss (April 2013), Harmony Books, ISBN 9780804138178
  • Yeah Baby!: The Modern Mama's Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever (November 2016), Rodale Books, ISBN 9781623368036
  • The 6 Keys: Unlock Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health and Beauty (December 2018), Little Brown, ISBN 9780316448642


  1. ^ "Jillian Michaels". AskMen.com. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Jillian Michaels Biography". Biography.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Jo Ann McKarus: Psychotherapist". JillianMichaels.com. Archived from the original on April 17, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Health for Women Magazine" (PDF). www.juliehadden.com. 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jillian Michaels on Adopting Daughter from Haiti: I Had 'This Gift I Could Give ... Citizenship'". Peoplemag. Retrieved December 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "The Heartbreaking Reason Jillian Michaels Is Dedicated to Walking". Yahoo!. July 11, 2019. Archived from the original on June 15, 2024.
  7. ^ "Why Jillian Michaels is All About Intermittent Fasting". January 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "Jillian's Bio". JillianMichaels.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  9. ^ "Jillian Michaels Bio". Archived from the original on January 26, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "Best Daily Helper - Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Best Sellers - The New York Times February 07, 2010 (accessed January 11, 2012)
  12. ^ Best Sellers - The New York Times April 24, 2011 (accessed January 11, 2012)
  13. ^ iTunes Rewind 2011: Apple Gives Us Their Best Music, Movies, and Apps of the Year (accessed January 10, 2012)
  14. ^ "'Meet the Netflix for Fitness: FitFusion". Reader's Digest Best Health Magazine. January 19, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "'FitFusion.com Makes Switching Up Your Workout Cheaper and Easier". Self Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  16. ^ Why did Jillian leave 'Biggest Loser'? (accessed January 10, 2012)
  17. ^ Jillian Michaels returns to 'Biggest Loser' (accessed January 10, 2012)
  18. ^ Biggest Loser star battled weight, blues The Sydney Morning Herald, September 18, 2006 (accessed January 10, 2012)
  19. ^ "'Biggest Loser' will soon lose Jillian Michaels – The Marquee Blog". CNN. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  20. ^ "Jillian Michaels Returns to 'The Biggest Loser' in January 2012; Series to Feature Teen Participants". TV By the Numbers. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  21. ^ Hines, Ree (June 25, 2014). "'Biggest Loser' trainer Jillian Michaels won't return for season 16".
  22. ^ Losing It With Jillian. - NBC. (at NBC.com).
  23. ^ Kinon, Cristina (May 12, 2010). "'Mean' trainer Jillian Michaels sheds tears, while families shed pounds on 'Losing It With Jillian'". Daily News. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  24. ^ Losing it With Jillian - NBC Site (accessed January 11, 2012)
  25. ^ Albiniak, Paige (May 6, 2011). "Jillian Michaels to join 'The Doctors'". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  26. ^ Starr, Michael. Jillian Michaels off 'Doctors', New York Post, January 3, 2012. (accessed January 11, 2012)
  27. ^ Potts.
  28. ^ "Close". Archived from the original on July 1, 2019.
  29. ^ The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels at the NFL's Play 60 Event Archived January 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine(accessed January 10, 2012)
  30. ^ Jillian Michaels to Host All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run Archived January 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (accessed January 10, 2012)
  31. ^ Working Wardrobes Press Room Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (accessed January 10, 2012)
  32. ^ Fisher, Luchina. "Hope for Haiti: Stars Line Up for Tonight's Telethon", ABC News, January 22, 2010. (accessed January 24, 2012)
  33. ^ Dress for Success Worldwide: The Power Walk Archived January 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (accessed January 19, 2012)
  34. ^ Beth Ann Macaluso, "Jilian Michaels Helps Rescue Racehorse Bound for Slaughter," US Weekly April 19, 2012.
  35. ^ a b kreidler, Marc (December 29, 2010). "2010 Slim Chance Awards | Quackwatch". Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  36. ^ kreidler, Marc (February 14, 2009). "Class Action Suit against Jillian Michaels | Quackwatch". Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  37. ^ a b Djordjevic, Marta (June 23, 2021). "The Shady Truth About Jillian Michaels". Nicki Swift. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  38. ^ Smith, Ryan (February 15, 2010). "Jillian Michaels Sued Over Diet Pills; "Biggest Loser" Star Stands By Her Product". CBS News. Archived from the original on December 30, 2023. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  39. ^ "Burning Question: Did 'Biggest Loser's' Jillian Michaels Go Too Far with Caffeine Pills?". September 8, 2013.
  40. ^ a b "Jillian Michaels Is Gay". SheKnows.com. May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  41. ^ "Q&A: Jillian Michaels on Her Madonna-Influenced Coming Out, LGBT Community's Pressure to Marry & Why She Uses the Word 'Fag'". Between the Lines.
  42. ^ "Jillian Michaels Is a Mom – Times Two!". People. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  43. ^ Hautman, Nicholas (June 15, 2018). "Jillian Michaels and Fiancee Heidi Rhoades Split After Nearly Nine Years Together". Us Weekly. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  44. ^ Mazziotta, Julie (June 15, 2018). "Jillian Michaels and Fiancée Heidi Rhoades Have Been Split 'for Awhile Now'". People Health. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  45. ^ Siwak, Miranda (November 28, 2021). "Jillian Michaels Is Engaged to DeShanna Marie Minuto". Us Weekly.
  46. ^ Pettibone, Kat (July 22, 2022). "Jillian Michaels, Marries Fiancee DeShanna Marie Minuto". Us Weekly.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
New title The Biggest Loser Red Team trainer
October 19, 2004 – November 29, 2005
Succeeded by
New creation The Biggest Loser Black Team trainer
September 11, 2007 – May 24, 2011
Succeeded by