This month Jillian Michaels is on the cover of both Shape and Redbook magazines. She just announced her return to primetime TV on the show that made her a household name in the first place, The Biggest Loser. She’s also got a brand new exercise DVD and is launching a nation-wide class at Crunch gyms. Sounds like business as usual for Jillian, even after she publicly acknowledged, for the first time during their three and a half year relationship, she has a female partner named Heidi.
Photo by Fredrick M. Brown/Getty
Last year, Jillian alluded to not being straight in an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal, saying she left herself open to love with both women and men. In all other profile pieces, she stuck with discussing her adoption as a single parent. It became frustrating for gay women and fans of Jillian’s who knew that the woman she called “Mouse” that was so often featured on her social media sites was, in fact, her partner. We wondered if it was a business decision — if Jillian feared coming out because she’d lose her job with NBC or her career would generally suffer. It felt like she was ashamed when she’d deny AfterEllen.com interviews and expect others to be honest with her about their personal lives but refused to make mention of one of the most important relationships in her life.
But everything changed when kids came into the picture. Once Heidi had a baby (Phoenix) and Jillian adopted 2-year-old Lukensia, Jillian said she wanted to come out about their family. She tells Redbook it had been Heidi’s decision to keep the relationship under wraps:
…only because Heidi wanted to keep her life private. But when we were having kids, I thought, How am I supposed to hide a newborn? So we thought, Let’s talk about it. It wasn’t so much about coming out. It was more about, okay, this is my family.
Photo from Redbook
Last week, Jillian told Larry King:
I never want my kids to grow up and think that I’m ashamed of our family. So, I realized that I had no choice.
And since she’s opened up about her relationship, she’s also discussed her sexuality, but not in terms of a label, per se. Instead the love she has for Heidi is prevalent. In Redbook, she mentions her frequently and happily. A recent break-in at their home had Jillian worried most about if her partner had been home, telling the magazine:
Oh, God, if something had happened to Heidi… And it’s not even about Heidi, it’s about me living without her! [Laughs] I just don’t want to live without her.
And then there’s this adorable excerpt:
RB: Speaking of which, I heard you ordered cream puffs for the REDBOOK cover shoot.
JM: Hold on. Hold on! Let me tell you. It’s for Heidi. She’s whittling away from nursing. The cream puffs were for her, for my mouse.
RB: Is that what you call her?
JM: Little Mouse.
RB: And what’s her nickname for you?
JM: Babe! [Heidi walks by and chimes in: "Big giant mouse! Bear!"]
Photo from People
Now that Jillian is returning to The Biggest Loser her family time might become a little strained, but it appears that her life has changed enough in such as short amount of time that she’s going to make her children and her relationship her number one priority, no matter what that means for her brand.
As a working, successful gay mom, Jillian is finally the role model we’d hoped she would be — and hopefully one she’s always wanted to be. There are no secrets or shame associated with the woman we take life advice from, and that’s something that has to be good for our collective mental health.