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Oprah Winfrey quits WeightWatchers board amid weight-loss drug controversy

The Oprah Winfrey Show star was on the board for nearly 10 years

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Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
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Oprah Winfrey is leaving her position on the board of WeightWatchers after nearly 10 years, it has been confirmed. 

The 70-year-old reportedly told the company of her decision to step down earlier this week when she said she would not stand for re-election at its annual shareholder meeting in May. 

While no reason for her departure was given, the company said in a regulatory statement that her "decision was not the result of any disagreement" or "any matter relating to the company's operations, policies or practices." 

Oprah Winfrey attends the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 07, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.© Getty
Oprah has stepped down from the WeightWatchers board

Sima Sistani, CEO of WeightWatchers, said: "Oprah is an inspiring presence and passionate advocate both for our members and for society at large, in elevating the conversation around weight health. 

"While I and the rest of our directors will certainly miss her in our board meetings following the end of her current term, she remains a strong strategic voice and collaborator with WeightWatchers." 

While she may no longer be on the board, it appears she will continue to work with the company in an advisory role. 

"I look forward to continuing to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers and CEO Sima Sistani in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity," Oprah said in a statement. 

oprah winfrey smiling holding slice of cake© Instagram
Oprah has used WW to help her lose weight in the past

According to CNN, Oprah plans to donate her sizeable 10% stake in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Oprah joined the board in 2015 and has long been an advocate for WW's (formerly WeightWatchers) points-based weight loss program. 

At her heaviest, she weighed 237lbs and credited WW for helping her to lose 40lbs, and in recent months she has been displaying a noticeably slimmed-down physique

Oprah looks incredible in purple gown© Instagram
Oprah looks slimmer than ever after turning to a weight-loss drug

However, she sparked controversy recently when she revealed that she had turned to an unnamed weight-loss drug to help her maintain her new look after previously calling drugs like Ozempic an "easy way out". 

Despite the backlash her revelation caused, Oprah stood by her decision, candidly telling People that her being able to turn to medication felt like "a gift".

"The fact that there's a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for," she said. 

oprah winfrey green dress smiling on stage© Getty Images
Oprah was 237lbs at her heaviest

"I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing," she added. "I'm absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself." 

Her decision to use weight-loss medication doesn't appear to have been a factor in her reason for leaving the company's board, especially since it launched a new membership plan in December for people on drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy. 

The new plan gives members access to doctors who can prescribe weight-loss medications, including Mounjaro, as well as daily nutrition plans, insurance coordination, and other weight-loss support programs. 

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 4:  Oprah Winfrey at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, airing live from Arena in Los Angeles, California, Sunday, Feb. 4 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Stewart Cook/CBS via Getty Images)© CBS Photo Archive
Oprah has not revealed which weight-loss drug she uses

"As science advances rapidly, we know there is a significant opportunity to improve outcomes for those using medications," Sistani said in a statement. 

"It is our responsibility, as the trusted leader in weight management, to support those interested in exploring if medications are right for them."

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