Celebrities You Forgot Had Weight Loss Surgery

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Weight has always been a huge topic of conversation in Hollywood with countless gossip sites dedicating article upon article to the subject. Sometimes, however, a drastic drop in weight has nothing to do with getting ready for a new role or societal pressures — it's all about getting healthy. As it was for these 11 celebs who went under the knife in order to get their health back on track and who have been extremely vocal about their experiences in the hopes of helping others get healthy too.

Gabourey Sidibe

It was May 2016 when Oscar-nominated actress and star of Precious, Gabourey Sidibe, then 32 years old, decided to undergo laparoscopic bariatric surgery. After struggling to shed pounds naturally and being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Sidibe made the decision to go under the knife, an experience she wrote about extensively in her memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.

She also spoke about the surgery and her recovery to People, revealing that she "took a long time to do [the surgery] because I really was trying [to lose weight]. I really, really tried — I gave a valiant try. So I'm glad that I finally realized that the surgery wasn't the easy way out. I wasn't cheating by getting it done."

Despite the weight loss that followed, Sidibe admitted that she still battles cravings. "I still really, really, really love cake," she revealed to the magazine. Her solution? Trying to cook more at home, keeping a food diary, and speaking to a nutritionist regularly. She also works out as often as she can and has "an Apple Watch that tracks me all the time. I have a tricycle at my house in L.A. I also have a tricycle on set in Chicago. During my lunch break, I ride my tricycle around the block or I'll ride it around set. I stay as active as possible!"

Roseanne Barr

Comedian Roseanne Barr has been a regular presence in millions of homes around the country thanks to her many small screen roles, including her namesake '90s show, Roseanne. But when in 2014, at age 61, she showed up on the red carpet at a NBC Universal summer press day looking slimmer than ever, many barely recognized her.

Never one to shy away from talking about her life, Barr made her decision to undergo plastic surgery procedures (including a tummy tuck and breast reduction) public and has repeatedly spoken about her choice to get gastric bypass surgery in 1998. In 2007, she joked, "I had my entire digestive system removed, so I should look thinner."

Following her surprising red carpet appearance, Barr told Closer Weekly that her success comes down to diet — she doesn't eat "anything with a face" — and exercise. The comedian relies on a step counter to make sure she clocks in 6,500 every day. "I don't care about anything but getting my steps and fueling myself to get my steps," she told the magazine. "It's good. It's getting me focused."

Randy Jackson

American Idol fans took serious notice when judge Randy Jackson got gastric bypass surgery in 2003 after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The reality TV star and iconic record company exec admits he lost a whopping 100 pounds, but admitted that keeping his weight in check hasn't been easy.

Speaking with Today in 2008, Jackson (who admitted he "didn't even know what exercise was until I was 13 or 14") revealed that, despite his success, surgery is by no means a miracle cure. "It's not easy, and it's a continued struggle," he explained. Especially because he regularly finds himself attending business lunches and having to keep his cravings in check.

But, as he told host Matt Lauer, it's all worth it. "I'm tired of feeling bad," he declared. "I want to feel good, so you change your life around. You can still be large and in charge, but it can be nice if you're medium and in charge."

Sharon Osbourne

Surgery doesn't always result in a success story. Sharon Osbourne (reality TV star, world renowned music manager for husband Ozzy Osbourne, and current co-host of The View) has never been one to hide her struggles with weight and she has talked openly about her decision to get gastric bypass surgery in 1999 and later reverse it.

Despite losing weight, Osbourne told Entertainment Tonight in 2014 that, putting all health benefits aside, getting the procedure done actually came with negative side effects and made her feel "like such a cheat when I had that band on my stomach. It makes you vomit the whole time. Nothing goes down because it goes out."

In 2006, Osbourne had the band removed and opted to follow a strict Atkins diet low in carbs instead. "I'd be fibbing if I said I don't cheat because I do cheat," she told ET. "I cheat a lot on my diet. We all do, but I don't guilt myself out because the next day I'll start with my Atkins breakfast sandwich and I'm right back on it."

Lisa Lampanelli

One year after she hit the big 5-0, stand-up comedian Lisa Lampanelli made the decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery after trying "every single thing imaginable" to lose weight, from eating the right foods to exercise, according to People. Frustrated with the lack of progress she was seeing, Lampanelli revealed to Dr. Oz (as reported by People) that in 2012 she finally decided "to treat this like the addiction that it is" and seek medical help.

Following the procedure, the legendary comic initially lost 80 pounds and when she connected with People in 2015, she had dropped another 20. But the journey to losing 100 pounds was anything but easy. "I always cheat with dark chocolate, or I'm a fanatic for popcorn," she revealed, sharing the realities of life after surgery and opening up about the required change in mindset.

"It's emotional eating, so every time something bad happens, you just have to look yourself in the eyes and ask, 'Am I physically hungry?'" she explained. "Because if not, you can't eat it. And you just have to feel the feeling."

Star Jones

On August 19, 2003, The View's Star Jones found herself "in a pre-op room of a hospital, staring at the brightly lit ceiling, being prepped for gastric bypass surgery. I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. I was so angry," the host recalled in a 2007 interview with Glamour. "How had I allowed myself to get to 307 pounds?"

Following her 40th birthday, Jones began realizing just how much of a toll her weight was taking on her health, revealing in the same candid interview that she "couldn't breathe without sounding winded; walk without getting tired; sleep without snoring; or take a flight without using a seat belt extender."

Even so, she turned a blind eye to all of the health risks and didn't decide to go under the knife until one of her friends finally showed her some seriously tough love. "She knew my weight was a subject no one dared mention, but she didn't care," Jones told Glamour. "I knew in my heart that her love and respect for me were pure. I cried; I got angry — but eventually I took the first step and walked into a doctor's office."

Graham Elliot

Superstar chef Graham Elliot became a household name as the judge of both MasterChef and MasterChef Jr., but in 2013 he took a step back from the limelight to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy procedure to remove about 80 percent of his stomach.

A year later he'd lost "over 150 pounds and it's made a tremendous difference in my life," Elliot told the Toronto Sun. His inspiration? His three sons. Elliot recalled how, "while at school for a father-son day, a couple of his friends had stuffed basketballs under their shirts and started saying they looked like me. I could tell my son was embarrassed." That was the wakeup call he needed.

"I was tipping the scales at close to 400 pounds," he continued. "When I saw what it was doing to my kids, I knew it was time for a change." And his transformation didn't just stop at surgery. Elliot also overhauled his diet, trading in carbs and sweets for greens and healthy alternatives like black bean pasta. "I eat healthy, I run, I do marathons, I'm active, it's astonishing what it feels like," he concluded. "You make choices in your life — I decided to make healthy eating choices."

Khaliah Ali

As the daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, Khaliah Ali (who weighed 325 pounds at her heaviest) made the choice to undergo a procedure known as gastric banding in 2004, not just because she worried about her health, but because the realities of being obese were "all made worse by the fact that I was the daughter of a man who is very famous, in large part, precisely because of his fitness and physical abilities."

Unlike gastric bypass, the surgery Ali opted for is less intrusive, as it "doesn't involve stapling your stomach and cutting your intestine in two." Rather, it places a band (which can be removed) around the stomach to reduce appetite.

After dropping to 158 pounds, Ali decided to share her struggles with food and eventual success in a book that she aptly titled Fighting Weight. Hoping to inspire others and reassure them that it's okay to seek medical help, Ali made sure to include everything from "the lifetime of misery suffered by an obese girl; the ins and outs of the banding operation; and the joy, serenity, and health resulting from a solution that until now had eluded her" in the candid memoir.

Carnie Wilson

Carnie Wilson, best known as a member of '90s female vocal trio Wilson Phillips, has gotten weight loss surgery not once, but twice and she's been completely open about her ongoing battle with the scale. First opting for gastric bypass surgery in 1999, Wilson actually went ahead and broadcasted the entire operation online for the world to see. After initially losing 150 pounds, she admitted to Fox News in 2012 that due to high amounts of stress, she was "definitely up in weight."

Also contributing to her weight gain were two pregnancies and by 2011, she reportedly hit 236 pounds and was eating close to 2,300 calories per day. Keeping her young family, namely her children and husband, in mind, Wilson decided to go back under the knife in 2012, this time opting for lap band surgery.

Citing her "obsessive compulsive and addictive behavior" Wilson admits food will always be a struggle for her and explains that choosing to eat healthy is "a daily decision" that comes down to her answering one all-important question: "Am I going to eat healthy today or am I going to make some sh**ty decisions?"

Caitlin Van Zandt

Actress Caitlin Van Zandt, who you may recognize as one of the stars of Guiding Light and HBO's The Sopranos, went from a size 20 to a size 8 after shedding serious pounds thanks to lap band surgery, which she underwent in 2008.

One year later the star was down 90 pounds and speaking with People, she couldn't help but gush. "I feel much sexier and much happier." VanZandt, who was 23 years old at the time, shared the day-to-day changes she had to implement in her life following surgery, like trading in her daily white chocolate mocha and pizza for healthier alternatives, including yogurt, fish and almonds. She also adopted a new exercise regimen, which included 30-minute kettlebell workout, belly dancing classes, and even tap dancing.

So what was her favorite part of losing the weight? "I actually buy skinny jeans," she told the magazine. "It's unbelievable. It's a joy to not have anything hanging over the top of them or squeezing in the multiple butt cheeks!"

Al Roker

Today weatherman Al Roker had this "AHA!" moment when he reached his heaviest weight ever, reported by Forbes as 340 pounds. Opting for weight loss surgery, the beloved TV personality dropped 115 pounds, but consequently struggled to keep it off.

Sitting down for an interview with his Today colleagues in 2013, Roker admitted that following his mother's hospitalization five years earlier, he turned to junk food for comfort. He weighed 190 pounds at the time and quickly gained 40 more, but told Matt Lauer that he had finally figured it all out, despite the slip-up. "I'm thrilled about where I am," he declared. "Life is terrific; I wouldn't trade it for a moment. I'm thrilled that I've finally got to this place at 58 years old. I finally got it figured out. I feel good about it."

These days, Roker (who documented his weight loss in a book titled Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good) sticks to eating unprocessed foods that are high in protein and low in carbs and doing three 30-minute exercise sessions each week. He also weighs himself every morning and each night to keep track of his progress. It may sound excessive, but as he explained to Lauer, "I weigh myself in the morning and at night, because this way I know where that number is. I know I don't want that number to keep going up."

Weight loss surgery and Hollywood

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates that the number of bariatric (AKA weight loss) surgery procedures in the United States steadily increased from 158,000 to 196,000 between 2011 and 2015. With an estimated one in three Americans suffering from obesity, more and more individuals are turning to surgery in the hopes of losing weight and getting their health back on track.

Among them are celebrities hoping to gain control over their eating habits, just like many everyday folks around the country. As we've learned from the 11 celebs above, it's by no means an easy way out and keeping the number on the scale in check requires hard work, but paired with the right diet and exercise, it can result in impressive weight loss.