Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Oprah Winfrey reveals real reason behind sudden departure from WeightWatchers board

Oprah has admitted to using weight loss medication

oprah winfrey glaad awards
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
15 March 2024
Share this:

Oprah Winfrey has finally explained why she quit her position on the WeightWatchers board last month after almost a decade. 

The 70-year-old's sudden departure was announced in a statement by the company, but no specific reason was given for her exit. 

However, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, Oprah revealed that she decided to step down because of her upcoming special about prescription weight loss medications. 

Oprah walking in jeans and mustard sweater© Getty
Oprah filmed an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

"An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution" – which airs on ABC March 18 – "delves into the prevailing questions and concerns surrounding the impact on our health care, economy, lifestyle and culture". 

Speaking to Jimmy, Oprah said she was worried about a "conflict of interest", so she believed she had no choice but to quit the WeightWatchers board. 

She explained: "I decided that because this special was really important to me and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about, and WeightWatchers is now in the business of being a weight health company that also administers drug medications for weight. 

"I did not want to have the appearance of any conflict of interest." 

oprah winfrey white suit aft fest la© Getty Images
Oprah stepped down from the WeightWatchers board in February 2024

At the time of her resignation, it was reported that Oprah would donate her sizeable 10% stake in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which she confirmed to Jimmy. 

She added: "I resigned from the board and donated all of my shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. So, nobody can say, 'Oh, she's doing that special, she's making money, promoting.' No, you cannot say that." 

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

oprah winfrey grammys awards© Getty Images
Oprah turned to medication to help her lose weight

At her heaviest, she weighed 237lbs and credited WW for helping her to lose 40lbs. But recently, she sparked controversy when she revealed that she had turned to an unnamed weight-loss drug to help her maintain her slimmed-down physique after previously calling drugs like Ozempic an "easy way out".

Despite the backlash her revelation caused, Oprah stood by her decision and told Jimmy that she turned to weight loss medication after her doctor told her she would most likely always "yo-yo" because "obesity is a disease".

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

She explained: "I've been in the storm of losing the weight, gaining it back. Losing the weight, gaining it back. 

"What I realized when I listened to what the doctor said that you are always going to put it back on, and it's like holding your breath underwater and trying not to rise." 

She added: "You're always going to rise." 

Oprah looks incredible in purple gown© Instagram
Oprah has lost a dramatic amount of weight

During a previous interview with People, Oprah admitted that being able to turn to weight loss 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. 

"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."

Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features and profiles coming out of the U.S.  Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox. 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Health & Fitness

See more