BIOGRAPHY — From birth to adulthood

Jillian Michaels was born on February 24, 1974 in Los Angeles, California to Jo Ann McKarus. Her mother, who works as a psychotherapist, was blessed with being naturally thin and was always devoted to the well being of her daughter Jillian and her two siblings: George and Lauren. Her father, who was a personal injury lawyer, struggled with weight issues his entire life. Despite the fact that her parents were in the midst of a divorce, Jillian’s father made it a point to visit with his daughter. Unfortunately, his visits with her were not in her best interest physically. In an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal, Jillian recalls numerous visits with her dad when they would have nothing to say to each other so they would turn to food. She has been quoted as saying that she bonded with her father over food and that they only way her father knew how to relate to her was via food–mostly junk food! This unhealthy father – daughter bonding began to catch up with Jillian and at 14 years of age, she tipped the scales at an alarming 175 pounds! It was evident that she would follow in her father’s footsteps and struggle with obesity.

However, her mother began to notice her daughter’s unhealthy weight gain and immediately enrolled her in a martial arts class. It was this class that changed her life and made her into the fitness guru that she is today. Under the instruction of Robert David Margolin, Jillian turned her life around. She reached and maintained a healthy weight and thus began her love affair with fitness. After 17 years of martial arts training, she holds a black belt in both Muay Thai and Akarui-Do. She is a true success story — transforming herself from the fat girl to the fit girl.

Upon graduating from high school at the tender age of 17, Jillian put her passion for fitness to work and became a personal trainer. Unfortunately, the income was not steady and she was forced to put her love of personal training on hold and find a job that could pay the bills. She took a job as a bartender while attending the California State University, Northridge (at 17, she worked illegally with a fake ID) and after graduation she took a job as a talent agent at ICM — which was the biggest talent agency in Hollywood. This was a job that she absolutely hated!! During this time, Jillian was able to obtain two personal training certificates. One from the National Exercise and Sports Training Association (NESTA) and the other from The American Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She obtained both of these in 1993. It was only a few years later that Jillian was able to put her passion to work for her as she began to work as a personal trainer and eventually opened her very own gym, Sky Sport and Spa, with Jackie Warner. It seemed as though her once rocky childhood was over and things were looking bright for Jillian. Then in 2004, her life changed for forever.


  • Born: February 24, 1974
  • Childhood Home: Tarzana, California
  • Mother: Jo Ann McKarus
  • Father: Name Unknown — Jillian is currently estranged from him
  • Siblings: George (younger)
  • Lauren (younger half sister)
  • Height: 5’2”
  • Weight: 115 – 120 pounds
  • Eye Color: Green
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • College Attended: California State University, Northridge
  • Car Owned: Ferrari
  • Pets: Chihuahua named Baxter
  • 2 horses named Buzz and Mike
  • Best Friend: Vanessa Marcil
  • Favorite Place: Home
  • Favorite Food: Chocolate and Peanut Butter
  • Favorite Drink: Coke Zero
  • Favorite Song: “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
  • Favorite Accesory: IPod
  • Favorite Celebrity: Hilary Clinton
  • Favorite TV Show: Six Feet Under
  • Favorite Movie: Thelma and Louise
  • Favorite Saying: Drink It!


In 2004, Jillian Michaels exploded into the lives of millions of people as the tough as nails fitness trainer for the black team on NBC’s hit reality show, The Biggest Loser. However, after only 2 seasons, Jillian made the choice to leave The Biggest Loser. Millions of shocked Americans could only ask why? NBC released a statement that Jillian chose to leave to pursue other opportunities. Jillian, on the other hand, is adamant that she left because she didn’t like how the show portrayed her. She claims that the show made her seem like a crazy lady who did nothing but scream. Admittedly, she does push the contestants to the edge, but she is not heartless and she felt as though the show didn’t portray this side of her personality. Furthermore, she didn’t agree with the editing and the dramatization of the show.

During her one year hiatus from The Biggest Loser, Jillian joined the cast of the Australian version of The Biggest Loser and began to branch out into DVD’s and books. Season Four of The Biggest Loser saw the return of Jillian Michaels. Currently, Jillian is preparing for Season 9 of The Biggest Loser and is casting for her new reality show, “Losing It With Jillian.”

Reality Television Star:

  • 2004 – 2006 “The Biggest Loser” Black Team Trainer
  • 2007 “The Biggest Loser” Australia
  • 2007 Released her first book
  • 2008 – Present “The Biggest Loser” Black Team Trainer
  • 2010 “Losing it with Jillian” A brand new reality show featuring Jillian Michaels. Currently in the casting stage, this show features Jillian moving in with families who need help to get back on track. With the help of celebrity chef, Curtis Stone, Jillian will move in and help the entire family learn to eat healthier, exercise properly and be healthy in every other aspect of their lives. It is set to air in the Fall of 2010.

Radio Talk Show Host:

KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles is the home to the weekly two hour long Jillian Michaels fitness talk show in which she discusses health, diet, and other health related topics. In addition, she will take calls from listeners, answer questions and help them in their journey to weight loss.


Jillian Michaels has had an extremely successful career in both physical fitness and in the public eye. Starting as an unknown trainer on a reality TV show whose future was uncertain at best, she has become a household name and an inspiration to millions. As a reality TV star, a New York Times best selling author, a radio talk show host, and entrepreneur Jillian is truly on top of the world. However, with the start of a new year, it seems as though she still has many surprises up her sleeve for her loyal fans. Let’s take a look at the variety of products and services that the Jillian Michaels brand has to offer…

New York Times Best Selling Author:

Having written and collaborated on several books, Jillian herself is an author of 6 books in total and a NY Times best selling author of two books.

  1. Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You. This was the first book written by Jillian and the hardcover edition went on sale on April 10, 2007.
  2. Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You. This book was so popular that it was re-released on January 22, 2008 as an ebook and in paperback format.
  3. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body. Released on April 7, 2009 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is set to be re-released on March 23, 2010 as an Abridged Audiobook Download and a Abridged CD.
  4. Jillian Michaels Hot Bod in a Box: Kick Butt with 50 Exercises from TV’s Toughest Trainer. Also released on April 7, 2009, this is a non-traditional book. Rather, it is a deck of cards filled with energetic and challenging exercises.
  5. The Master your Metabolism Cookbook. Will go on sale April 27, 2010.
  6. The Master your Metablism Calorie Counter. Will also go on sale April 27, 2010.

In addition to writing these particular books, she has had a hand in writing many “Biggest Loser” weight loss, exercise, and cookbooks.

Video Games:

In 2009 Jillian Michaels teamed up with Majesco Entertainment Company to star in Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 for the Nintendo Wii. This game allows players to choose from four different types of workouts: (1) weight loss, (2) intervals, (3) hill climb, and (4) strength training. In addition, players will be able to choose the intensity and the duration of the workout. Of course this was widely popular and the follow-up, Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010, will be released in 2010.


With so many DVD’s to discuss, Jillian has definitely taken the home workout video to a new level. Here are some of her most popular DVD’s:

  1. “30 Day Shred” — This was one of her first DVD’s and has gotten a lot of positive reviews from men and women alike
  2. “No More Trouble Zones”
  3. “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism”
  4. “Yoga Meltdown” — This is her newest DVD that is set to be released on February 26, 2010. It can be pre-ordered from the official Jillian Michaels store or

Weight Loss Products:

In addition to the success of her books and DVD’s, Jillian has a full line of weight loss products such as the Triple Process Total Body Detox & Cleanse Plus Probiotic Replenishment and the QuickStart Rapid Weight Loss System. Also, in June of 2008, she launched her very own home delivery meal plan.

Business Owner:

As previously mentioned, Jillian is co-owner of the famous and successful Sky Sport and Spa, with Jackie Warner. Both Jackie and Jillian share a similar philosophy of helping people physically and psychologically by stressing the importance of fitness, nutrition, and behavioral changes.


In addition to being uber-successful, Jillian has also received recognition from many organizations for the work that she does both on and off the television. Jillian has received the following:

  • The United States Sports Academy’s Dwight David Eisenhower Fitness Award winner for 2010.
  • America’s Healthiest Body 2009
  • Number 84 on the Top 99 Women


It is no wonder that Jillian is the new, hottest thing in the fitness world but what is she really like? This is a very difficult question to answer as she is a very private woman and likes to keep her personal life, well, personal. It has been reported that she is currently dating Henry Cavill and that she is also dating long time BFF, Vanessa Marcil. Rumors have been spreading like wildfire that Jillian is either a lesbian or bisexual. However, none of these statements have been confirmed…or denied. Jillian did, however, in an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal make this statement: “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.”

First comes love, and then comes children. According to reports, Jillian doesn’t have any children yet but she does have a plan. In fact, she has even chosen her baby’s daddy — her very own co-trainer on The Biggest Loser: Bob Harper!


Even though everyone may not be a fan of Jillian Michaels she does have these words of advice for everyone:

  1. Get educated. She urges everyone to learn a new lifestyle, not just a new diet. Like she told Ladies’ Home Journal: “You can lose weight a hundred different ways, but if you want to keep it off you have to do something you can maintain for the rest of your life.”
  2. Treat the real problem. Jillian is well known for saying that “Weight gain is a manifestation of other issues, not the problem itself.” Therefore, every single person should get to the root of their problems and not be afraid to ask for help.
  3. Put Yourself first. This is especially true for women who tend to put their own needs behind everyone else’s.