Prepare yourselves now “Velvet Teddy Bear” fans, singer Ruben Studdard is a contestant on the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser, marking the first time in show history to have a celebrity. Studdard is best known as the winner of American Idol’s second season when he topped runner-up Clay Aiken. He will be part of a yet-to-be-named cast of new contestants losing weight together in the show’s fifteenth season, set to debut Tuesday, October 8.
It’s a later start than usual for the hit reality show, but no doubt the addition of Ruben will make it worth the wait. NBC is staying mum on pertinent details like Ruben’s starting weight, but we’ll surely see his story unfold as his journey begins alongside other men and women primed to change their own lives while inspiring others.
Essence Magazine reports that Ruben weighed upwards of 450 pounds in 2003 when his American Idol season debuted. Shortly after winning, he joined the Duke Diet where he lost 70 pounds, citing a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure as motivation. It was after that program that he became a vegetarian, and later a vegan, saying he doesn’t eat anything that has a parent. As best we can tell, Ruben remains a staunch vegetarian to this day, however, his health is still greatly at risk due to his obesity.
As recent as August 2012, BET reported that the singer weighed 400 pounds and that doctors were issuing a bleak look at his future – diet or die.
In addition to Ruben’s life-saving debut on The Biggest Loser, all three trainers will return to the ranch. Jillian Michaels, Dolvett Quince, and Bob Harper will be coaching Ruben and his fellow contestants, although no information has been shared about which trainer he’ll be working with.
Since Idol, Studdard has released five studio albums. More information about his decision to go on The Biggest Loser, and who will be joining him on the ranch, will be made available closer to the season 15 premiere. Season 15 of The Biggest Loser premiers October 8, 2013 on NBC at 8pm ET / 7pm CT.