EXCLUSIVE: Jillian Michaels Explains Her Comments on Pregnancy & Adoption
A few weeks ago, Jillian Michaels (trainer from The Biggest Loser, the goddess of The Shred, she-who-will-kick-your-ass-and-you-will-like-it) was caught in a press maelstrom. Her alleged comments about pregnancy and adoption during an interview with Women’s Health Magazine were criticized and dissected ad nauseam.
So yesterday I jumped at the chance to chat with Jillian in an intimate group setting. In fact, this last-minute interview was set up with the exact purpose of letting Jillian address the controversy that has since (thankfully) abated press-wise.
First of all, Jillian told me specifically that she did NOT say “pregnancy ruins your body” and told me in no uncertain terms: “I don’t believe that.” She gave several examples of healthy (and hot-bodied) moms, including Alison Sweeney, who she trained postpartum and has never looked better. If you look carefully at the paragraph in question (below) from Women’s Health, it’s clear that it’s not a direct quote, but editorial commentary. Jillian never said she has an aversion to pregnancy.
She also hopes to have kids someday, saying, “I’m going to adopt.” One of the reasons: Jillian admits to having an aversion to pregnancy, the result of being an overweight kid. “I can’t handle doing that to my body,” she explains. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”
Jillian admits that she was caught off-guard when she was asked about pregnancy. She was unprepared to answer very personal questions about a future family. Jillian answered the Women’s Health’s original question (about wanting to have kids) with her plans for future adoption. But she was then asked “why not pregnancy?” Jillian says she answered that “there are many personal reasons,” and when pressed conceded that her overweight issues from childhood could be one of many reasons. She didn’t answer the question directly, because (as Jillian told me) she was panicking, not entirely sure she even wanted to answer such a personal question (which includes a now-public medical history of endometriosis and polycystic ovaries) but not wanting to lie either or avoid the question altogether.
Gee, Jillian sounds human. Indeed she is. And likable to boot.
On the issue of Jillian’s quote about “rescuing something,” it was actually given much earlier in the interview and NOT when she was talking about adoption! In fact, I think a lot of this brouhaha would have been avoided if people would have read that damn article, which unfortunately was unavailable online. Looks like media sources were working off of a Women’s Health Mag press release. It was clear that the concept of “rescuing” was a big one for the author, making the chance of that quote being taken out of context pretty high.
Look, I’m not a journalist. I don’t have an agenda to uncover the truth. Even though Jillian shared more details with me about why she wants to adopt and the reasons for not choosing pregnancy at this time, I don’t feel compelled to share them because I don’t think they are any of our damn business.
I do think Jillian deserves to have a forum to share her version of what happened. She chose not to go to traditional media. She chose to go directly to mom publishers. She tells me it’s because she cares what we think of her and how her words affect us and other moms. And I believe her.
I like Jillian and this piece is biased. But everything here is the truth.
Jillian can be a drill sergeant and looks perfect to us on television, but she’s also sensitive and imperfect and learning. Learning that moms care about what she says. Learning that her words carry a lot of power. She told me that it troubles her greatly that women felt scared or were hurt by her words, even if they were misconstrued.
As an aside, my son and I have been reading E Is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About Morals, Values, and What Matters Most each bedtime. On the Forgiveness chapter it discusses how to show forgiveness and I hadn’t really thought about the phrase “forgive AND forget.” I learned that if we really want to forgive, we won’t bring up the issue again.
I’m ready to move on and kick some Shred booty. Are you?
(If you’d like to read more about this chat with Jillian, visit MomLogic; their writer participated in the same interview and did a more traditional write-up)