- 1 Background on Tammy Slaton
- 2 Tammy’s weight-loss journey
- 3 Tammy’s previous relationships before getting married
- 4 Tammy found love in rehab with Caleb Willingham
- 5 Tragedy strikes: Caleb’s untimely passing
- 6 Moving forward: Navigating love, loss, and self-rediscovery
Tammy Slaton, widely recognized from the hit reality television show, “1000-lb Sisters,” has become an emblem of determination and resilience throughout her weight loss journey. From the struggles of obesity to the triumphs of self-transformation, she became an inspiration to many. She not only captivated audiences with her life-changing decisions, but also garnered attention for her colorful love life. Everything seemed to be going great in her life until news about her husband passing away surfaced recently, after only being married for about six months.
Background on Tammy Slaton
Her weight gain began at a young age, as she found comfort in food to cope with her emotions.
Challenging upbringing and bullied in School
Tammy was born on 27 July 1986, in Dixon, Kentucky, but her childhood was far from easy. Raised by her single mother, Darlene Slaton, and her grandmother, she faced a lack of stability. Her parents had separated when she was young; she had limited contact with her father, and a strained relationship with her mother. At the age of 11, Tammy hit hard by the loss of her grandmother, whom she was really close to and felt loved by, and she sought solace in eating, in fact over-eating. Tammy’s weight gain intensified as she faced bullying at school, where she endured ridicule and harsh treatment from her classmates. It didn’t help that most of what she heard from some of her relatives including her mother were the words ugly, fat, lazy, and stupid.
Developed strong bonds with Amy
Amidst the difficulties, Tammy developed strong bonds with her younger sister Amy who stood out as a pillar of support, showing genuine care and concern for her well-being. They both suffered the same traumas during childhood, and gained so much weight because of it. Unaware of the health risks associated with their eating habits, by the time they reached their early 20s, they’d both ballooned into the medical category identified as morbidly obese. Tammy was a lot heavier than Amy, and exceeded 500lbs – her weight took a toll on her health overall, leading to hospitalizations for conditions such as high blood pressure, thyroid abnormalities, gall bladder issues, and a blood clot in her lungs. Tammy’s dependency on Amy increased as she struggled with mobility and lost her independence, too heavy to do anything on her own, even stand.
Became a reality TV star via “1000-lb Sisters”
Before Tammy became a reality TV star, she had already dipped her toes into the world of online content creation. Alongside her sister Amy, Tammy gained some recognition through their joint YouTube channel in which they shared videos of their daily lives, and as they engaged in various challenges. Their humorous and relatable content resonated with viewers, leading to a small but dedicated fan base. However, her life took a significant turn when she and her sister gained attention through a YouTube video entitled “Chubby Bunny Challenge”, uploaded in 2014. In this challenge, participants stuffed their mouths with marshmallows while trying to say “chubby bunny.” The video went unexpectedly viral, amassing millions of views, and bringing significant attention to Tammy and Amy’s online presence.
It caught the attention of TLC, a prominent television network specializing in reality programming. Impressed by Tammy and Amy’s authenticity and relatability, TLC saw an opportunity to share their weight loss journey with a wider audience. Instead of having them participate in another weight-loss show, the cable network offered the two sisters a reality TV series of their own called “1000-lb Sisters.” The show chronicled their efforts to lose weight, including undergoing weight-loss surgery, and so embark on a healthier lifestyle.
— The US Sun (@TheSunUS) July 12, 2023
Tammy’s weight-loss journey
Tammy’s journey in losing excess weight was riddled with obstacles and setbacks. She had a difficult time adjusting to a wellness-focused regime and adapting to new rules given by medical experts. While younger sister Amy was successful in following doctor’s orders, which led to her qualifying for bariatric surgery, Tammy struggled. Despite medical interventions and the support of her siblings, Tammy faced challenges adhering to the recommended diet and exercise plans. Homesickness led her to leave a rehab facility prematurely, hindering her progress toward qualifying for surgery.
Her relationship with her siblings was a focal point during the third season of “1000-lb Sisters.” A family vacation meant to foster unity turned into turmoil, when Tammy experienced anxiety and panic over unfamiliar surroundings. She proceeded to blame everyone for her misfortunes, and expressing that the vacation wasn’t her idea at all – she had a meltdown and became mean to everyone around her the ensuing arguments and tension straining her relationship with them. Viewers were happy that an older sister stepped up to put her in place, and tell her how bad her attitude was to everyone. Tammy was fortunate that her siblings understood her mood swings.
Her health took a serious turn and she was rushed to a hospital shortly after entering rehab for the second time. In critical condition, she required a tracheostomy to assist with breathing. Miraculously, Tammy emerged from a coma, giving hope to her loved ones and reminding them and her of the fragility of life. During this time, it was her brother Chris who took care of her, because Amy became pregnant and then was busy taking care of her baby. Despite their differences and past conflicts, her family had shown their love and support. From her siblings to her mother, they stood by her, cheering her on during her weight loss journey, and providing comfort during difficult times. The strength of their bond served as a reminder of the power of unconditional love within a family.
As Tammy’s weight loss journey progressed, she fully realized that medical intervention was necessary to achieve significant results. As she faced numerous challenges in meeting the weight loss requirements prior to bariatric surgery, Tammy persevered and eventually qualified for the procedure. The surgery provided her with a tool for losing weight, and to help her break free from the shackles of obesity.
The details on how much she lost weren’t officially revealed, but she posted a selfie on her Instagram page showing her transformation. The fourth season had a mid-season finale in March 2023, and fans were surprised at the abrupt ending. They assumed that Discovery would be airing another batch of episodes at a later date, since it was rumored that the Slaton sisters filmed more episodes in January of this year.
The star of TLC's 1000-Lb. Sisters shared a series of photos on Monday that prompted excitement and encouragement from her fans and followers. Full story: peoplem.ag/3JuQyl9 | 📷: Tammy Slaton/Instagram
Tammy’s previous relationships before getting married
From scandalous relationships to heartbreaks, Tammy’s romantic escapades had been anything but ordinary, marked by controversies and unexpected twists. Here are some of the significant relationships that have shaped her journey:
Jerry Sykes: The Enabling Ex-
Tammy’s love life took an interesting turn when she entered a relationship with Jerry Sykes. However, their romance quickly turned sour when it was revealed that Jerry was still married. Social media exploded with outrage, with Jerry’s wife accusing Tammy of being a homewrecker. Despite the controversy, Tammy stood her ground, claiming that she was there to meet Jerry’s needs since his wife was unable to fulfill her wifely duties. Fans were dismayed by her attitude, much more so when the relationship became a symbol of enabling, as Jerry indulged Tammy’s food cravings and so considerably hindered her weight loss progress.
Philip Redmond: A Fiery Fling
After parting ways with Jerry, Tammy’s love life took another unpredictable turn with the arrival of Philip Redmond, also known as “BBW King.” Philip had a major fetish for overweight women, and his influence on Tammy’s weight loss journey was met with concern from fans. However, Tammy was smitten, and the couple even sported matching rings in a social media photo that caused quite a buzz. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t stand the test of time, and Philip was accused of using Tammy for social media clout, leaving her heartbroken once again.
Tammy found love in rehab with Caleb Willingham
Amidst the ups and downs of her romantic life, Tammy found love in an unexpected place – a rehab facility.
First met in 2021
While seeking treatment for obesity-related issues, she crossed paths with Caleb Willingham. Their immediate connection led to a flourishing romance, described as a whirlwind. Caleb shared a heartfelt revelation with their peers at the Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center during an episode of “1000-Lb. Sisters” in March. He recounted how Tammy had actually saved his life. There was a time Caleb struggled with depleted oxygen levels, difficulty breathing, and excruciating pain. He was desperate for assistance, and it was Tammy who bravely rose to her feet and sought help on his behalf. This act of kindness deeply touched him and held immeasurable significance. In a subsequent scene, Caleb confessed that witnessing Amy’s incredible weight loss journey had motivated him to embark on his own transformative path, leading him to enroll in the Windsor Lane program. It sparked something in him to dream again. They became a couple and Caleb shared their plans of getting married and having a couple of kids.
Tied the knot in 2022
In November 2022, Tammy and Caleb sealed their love by tying the knot at the same facility, exactly oa year after they first met, their wedding day radiating hope for a promising future. Reflecting on this momentous occasion during an interview in January 2023, Tammy expressed that it was the pinnacle of their lives. The room overflowed with an abundance of love, and she felt immense gratitude for the presence of cherished family members and their rehab family. Recalling the early stages of their courtship, Tammy shared an endearing anecdote about Caleb literally sweeping her off her feet. She recounted their first kiss in which he accidentally leaned forward, triggering the control switch and propelling them both, causing her to tumble back into her wheelchair. The TLC personality further revealed that she was in a positive mental and physical state, as she embraced her newfound role as a wife, finding contentment in it.
In love and happy
Tammy was over the moon when sharing her experience being a wife, gushing that she hadn’t felt this invigorated in such a long time; everyone noted that she had a radiant glow emanating from her. She also said that her energy levels skyrocketed, and that she was fully embracing life. She couldn’t help but express her adoration for Caleb, remarking that she fell in love with every single aspect of him, particularly his kind nature. Tammy marveled at the stark difference in the way he treated her, compared to anyone else she’d been in a relationship with.
She openly acknowledged how she and her husband supported and empowered each other, during their individual battles in their pursuit of a healthier way of life. In an exclusive interview with an online magazine in February 2023, Tammy spoke candidly about having a united front as a couple. She emphasized that her gastric bypass surgery hadn’t altered their relationship, and even said, ‘We support each other wholeheartedly on our weight loss journeys.’ Each time Caleb struggled with emotional eating or cravings, he would lean on her and they would deal with it together. She and Caleb became each other confidantes, as they continued to learn to adapt to each other’s personality.
With her new-found happiness, Tammy found encouragement from her sister and co-star, Amy Slaton. In a confessional segment during a February 2023 episode of “1000-Lb Sisters,” Amy’s relief was palpable, as she reacted to Tammy getting the doctor’s approval for weight loss surgery. Amy was also happy that her older sister was highly inspired by a new boyfriend who had a positive effect on her, unlike her previous relationships. Given her older sister’s past struggles, she had a hard time believing Tammy could pull it off. Amy was proven wrong, and was extremely delighted about it.
Tragedy strikes: Caleb’s untimely passing
Tammy’s world was shattered by a tragedy that struck all too soon. At the age of 40, Caleb passed away, leaving Tammy consumed by overwhelming grief and heartbreak. The circumstances surrounding his untimely death remain undisclosed, but Tammy openly expressed her sorrow while cherishing the precious moments they shared. She acknowledged the numerous challenges they confronted together, and the support they provided each other on their transformative weight loss journeys. Tammy’s resilience during this trying period stands as a testament to her inner strength.
On Saturday, 1 July 2023, Caleb’s stepmother, Shirley Willingham, verified the passing of the TLC star via a popular entertainment news portal – no further information regarding the specifics of Caleb’s passing has been made public. Subsequently, Tammy, posted something on her social media account addressing the death of her husband. She included throwback photos of them as a couple as she poured out her sentiments, writing ‘Rip sweet angel, you will forever be missed and loved so much. Thank you Caleb for showing me real love and happiness ❤️❤️.’
Caleb leaves behind his wife, Tammy, and his grieving parents enduring a loss that has forever altered their lives.
Tammy’s romantic journey has been a rollercoaster of emotions, filled with moments of exhilaration, controversy and heartbreaks. As she traverses her path forward, she confronts the daunting task of healing from the profound loss of Caleb while embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Tammy’s unwavering resilience and determination have shone through, garnering support from her supporters who yearned for her ultimate happiness, and a renewed chance at finding love.
Two days following the tragic news, Tammy took to TikTok, overcome with emotions as she mourned her late husband. Tearfully, she revealed that their relationship had been facing challenges prior to his passing, and expressed that she was going through different stages of grief. She admitted that they had their problems but she loved him and she still does. Though she chose not to delve into the specifics of their struggles, she assured her followers that Caleb is watching over her from above. “You know, he’s not in any pain anymore. I know he’s in a better place,” Tammy shared, finding solace in the belief that her late husband has found peace.
There were rumors circulating in May 2023, suggesting a potential split between Tammy and Caleb due to a heated argument surrounding Caleb’s weight gain. Allegedly, Caleb had gained 30 pounds and wasn’t actively working on his program, leading to tension in their relationship. Initially, Caleb sought a divorce, but later attempted to reconcile. However, Tammy allegedly had made up her mind and had no interest in reuniting. At that time, with Tammy residing back home in Kentucky while Caleb remained in rehab, their union had seemingly been on a rocky path, ultimately contributing to their eventual separation.
From the tumultuous relationship with Jerry Sykes, marred by scandal, to the fiery fling with Philip Redmond, and the devastating loss of her beloved husband Caleb Willingham, Tammy’s love life had been controversial, colorful, and inspiring at the same time. Her story served as a powerful reminder that even in the depths of heartbreak and making wrong decisions, hope can be rekindled, and happiness can be discovered once again.