Everyone has their preferred type of trainer — and the fitness coaches on NBC’s Biggest Loser fill each of those needs. If you’re looking for tough love, you opt for Jillian Michaels. Want someone easy on the eyes? Dolvett Quince is your man. And for the past 15 seasons, Bob Harper was the go-to guy for those in need of spirituality and positive encouragement.
When Bob came out as gay last fall, it was the first time we really got to learn more about the personal life of this mainstay in our television lives. And now that Season 15 is winding down (the finale’s next week!), we thought it was about time that we do a little more digging into Bob’s background.
If you love Bob as much as we do, read on for five facts about the Biggest Loser trainer:
1. He’s pals with Michelle Obama.
Okay, so he works for her, but still. He, like, totally knows the First Lady! Bob works with Michelle on her “Let’s Move” campaign, helping to promote healthy eating and physical activity among children. They’ve clearly created quite a bond: Bob posted a photo of the two getting cozy on Michelle’s 50th birthday last week. “Happy 50th Birthday, Michelle Obama! You. Look. Incredible. @FLOTUS,” he captions the sweet pic.
2. He’s a New York Times bestselling author.
Bob isn’t just brawn — he’s got brains, too! The fitness guru is an author four times over, with the health/lifestyle books Are You Ready!, The Skinny Rules, and Jumpstart to Skinny already under his belt as bestsellers. His latest tome, Skinny Meals, will be released in April 2014.
3. He came out to his family when he was 17.
Though Bob only opened up about his sexuality to the media last fall, he’s been out to his family and friends for over 30 years. The 48-year-old shared his own teenage struggle to come out to his parents on the November episode of Biggest Loser, telling contestant Bobby that "being gay doesn't mean being weak, and being gay doesn't mean you're less than anybody else. It's just who you are." Preach!
4. He was once voted one of the “Sexiest Vegetarians” by PETA, but now eats animal products.
Though he was once publicly vocal about his decision to forego meat and animal byproducts — earning himself a place among PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarians” — Bob has changed his mind in recent years.
"I still believe that a plant-based diet has tremendous health benefits, but I have incorporated more animal protein into my diet,” Bob has said. “I found that my body personally got to a point where I needed something more.”
5. He’s a dog lover!
Bob has been very outspoken about the dangers of puppy mills, and even chose to adopt his own Havanese mix, Karl, from the Animal Advocates Alliance in Baldwin Park, California. To this day, the fitness coach is proud that he chose to go to shelter for his canine pal:
“It just kills me when people buy a dog when there are dogs in shelters,” he’s said. “I still get emotional when I think of Karl sitting in that shelter. I wasn’t looking. I didn’t even think I had time for a dog, and then I met this little one and he needed help. It’s been so amazing to see him transform into a happy and confident companion. He is the best dog in the world. I love him!”
Did you learn something new or surprising about Bob? Tell us in the comments below.