Jillian Michaels and Heidi Rhoades Become Two Mommies With Two Kiddies

jilian with 2-year-old daughter Lukensia and baby son Phoenix

In a truly bizarre twist of internet SEO fate, the number-two search term that has led people to Autostraddle.com over the past three years is “Jillian Michaels Gay.” The only search term ranking higher than “Jillian Michaels Gay” is “Autostraddle.”

See, once upon a time (January 2010, to be exact) Jillian Michaels “came out” as bisexual in Ladies Home Journal and we wrote about it. We also mentioned in our article that Michaels was dating Heidi Rhoades, although that information had not officially been made public yet — until today.

Today I did my early morning traffic-check and was surprised to see the 2010 Jillian Michaels post blowing up as our most popular post of the day, so I googled Jillian Michaels to see what was going on. Well, it turns out that Jillian will appear in People Magazine this Friday with her two children and is consequently going public about her relationship with Heidi Rhoades. People Magazine has a preview of Friday’s article on their website, which includes an adorable video. With the great power we amassed by unintentionally winning the Jillian Michaels Gay SEO game comes great responsibility. So, here’s the article:

As a trainer on The Biggest LoserJillian Michaels was known for dishing out tough love to contestants.

But these days, she’s doling out tickles and hugs to her 2-year-old daughterLukensia – whom she recently brought home from Haiti after a lengthy adoption process — and the newborn son, Phoenix, that partner Heidi Rhoades gave birth to on May 3 in Los Angeles.

“We’re swimming in babies over here,” Michaels, 38, gleefully tells PEOPLE in its latest issue.

In an exclusive at-home interview and photo shoot, she discusses the two-year journey that led her to her daughter and reveals an incredible twist of fate: Rhoades, 31, delivered their son the same week Michaels finally brought their daughter home.

The instant family has made for long days and nights for Michaels. But she insists she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t even answer email. I don’t have time to care about anything else,” she notes. “I want to be really present and enjoy all the nuances of their growth and development. I don’t want to rush any of it.”

Although rumors about Michaels’ sexuality had been circulating for some time, it wasn’t until the February 2010 Ladies Home Journal article that her bisexuality was confirmed (This being Ladies Home Journal, the cover promised “Biggest Loser Diet Secrets” rather than “Biggest Loser Lesbian Secrets,” which I would’ve gone with), albeit briefly:

As her star rises it makes me wonder about the status of her romantic life. In the past she has complained about being unlucky in love. Is that still the case? “Let’s just say  believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love… it’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!” Whoever it is for Michaels, they should know what they’re getting: one smart cookie.

heidi & jillian in 2010

As recently as October 2011, Jillian spoke to Redbook about the adoption process, revealing nothing about Heidi:

RB: Will you be parenting on your own? Or do you have somebody in your life?

JM: I’m adopting as a single parent. I am seeing someone, [but] I keep their life private, because the email has been hacked, the Facebook has been hacked….

RB: You said in your book, Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life, “relationships were not my strong point.” Do you feel like they’re stronger now?

JM: I’m making huge progress. In the past, if something made me feel vulnerable, I would shut down. Now I’m really good at saying, “Okay, I’m feeling insecure.” I’m dating someone who’s a twin, so it’s like, “Your relationship with your twin really intimidates me because you guys share everything.” If you can’t be vulnerable, how can you work on something? How can it improve?

Despite the Ladies Home Journal story, it’s likely much of Michaels’ fanbase was unaware of her sexual orientation. So this is a pretty big step for Jillian. In 2011, AfterEllen speculated that The Biggest Loser wanted to keeps its trainers in the closet or at least stop them from speaking to the gay press. She’s never really publicly allied herself with the GLBT community, and Michaels’ repeated insistence that she’d be raising the child as a single mother was puzzling, to say the least, especially for her to be saying that while her partner was in the middle of a pregnancy one imagines the couple planned together.

Safe to say, when Jillian Michaels and “controversy” are in the news, it’s never because of her sexual orientation. In the past, she’s spoken out against the weight-loss methods promoted The Biggest Loser, the intensely problematic reality TV show that made her famous. In 2010, Michaels was named in four different lawsuits which claimed her various products —  the Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control dietary supplement, the Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Fat Burner and the Triple Process Total Body Detox and Cleanse — were ineffective or dangerous. All the suits were dismissed, however. In 2010, The Los Angeles Times claimed Jillian “is not actually a real fitness trainer — she’s an actress playing the role of fitness trainer on TV and in a line of popular DVDs,” but Jillian threatened to sue for defamation and they subsequently posted a correction to their article. She was also under attack in April 2010 for allegedly telling a magazine that she’d rather adopt than give birth because “I can’t handle doing that to my body,” but that turned out to be a misquote — Michaels has PCOS.

So far, the reaction to her announcement has been overwhelmingly positive — she’s been flooded with support on Twitter and Facebook.  And this comes at the end of a week where Queen Latifah performing for ‘her people’ at Long Beach Pride was widely cited as her “coming out” and Raven-Symone‘s twitter response to rumors about her sexuality confirmed the rumors without actually confirming the rumors. Maybe this is the dawn of a new era, where stars forego the traditional “coming out” ritual for more subtle, roundabout affirmations of homosexual affiliation, and maybe this new era is one in which these kinds of announcements really aren’t a big deal anymore. Time will tell.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. It won’t be long before “Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual” is the #1 term leading the masses to Autostraddle. I’m guessing it’s a close third atm.

  2. I have serious problems with everything Jillian Michaels is/does/stands for in the weight loss and “health” arena, but good on her for coming out I guess. A lot of people who have little or no contact with LGBT people watch The Biggest Loser, so now they “know” a queer woman. That’s the first step.

  3. Awww I’m happy for her!
    “Maybe this is the dawn of a new era, where stars forego the traditional “coming out” ritual for more subtle, roundabout affirmations of homosexual affiliation, and maybe this new era is one in which these kinds of announcements really aren’t a big deal anymore.”
    I really hope that this is the case.

    • I really hope so too, I like the more low-key announcements like Jim Parson’s where it was just a short mention in the middle of an article about his theater work.

  4. Lukensia read like Lukemia in my head. Lesbians and their baby names. Still, happy family is happy!

    • I thought the same thing too when I read it, I am assuming it may be the name she was given at birth, and she is just simply keeping her name, vs Jillian actually picking out the name herself….

  5. “..and maybe this new era is one in which these kinds of announcements really aren’t a big deal anymore. Time will tell.”

    Yes! This is the world I am living in (or trying to). Nobody has to make a big announcement nor does anybody have to keep a secret. It’s there, you see it and it’s natural. Nothing to fuss over, criticize, gawk at, or judge. Just a person in love with another person. End of Story.

  6. I saw this online at work today and my first thought was ” I will have to read about this tonight on Autostraddle”, so glad you always come through! Such adorable little ones too!

  7. With Jillian I went from “She’s super gay.” to “Okay. She might be bi.” to “Ohmygah! She said she could fall in love with a man or a woman.” to “She has out uhauled the best of us gays by a milestone.”

    Oh well. Those babies are beyond adorable so it’s all okay in the end.

  8. She is Super hot.
    Sorry. I wanted to comment on the celebrity low-key coming out trend but all I can do is stare at Jillian.

  9. Actually, I’d rather they pull an EVAN RACHEL WOOD BISEXUAL by answering questions about sexuality straight on, no pun intended, than giving ’roundabout affirmations’.

    Announcements like these do have impact and do matter. It’s true that anyone’s sexuality is their business and their business only, but if you still want to be in the closet, then say nothing. Don’t send out a few defensive and ambiguous twits or rally with your ‘people’ when you obviously want to keep things private. It’s one of the reasons I love about Anderson Cooper. He’s not out, but he doesn’t go to pride with ‘his people’ after stating that his private life is his private life.

    It feels like having your gay cake and eating it too. I guess I’m just tired of reading articles about gay celebs who aren’t gay because they haven’t come out so you have to respect that and pretend that they’re not gay or say nothing about it, and when there’re rumours about them being gay, it’s a violation of their privacy, so you’ll then have to endure blogs(not you guys)nitpick on every gay thing they do.

    //I apologize for this, I should sleep.

      • I agree, although what I’m irked by is the peekaboo out of the closet thing, the roundabout confirmation taken as subtle coming out when in fact they are still quite in the closet. When they do come out and say that they’re gay or has a partner, THEN they’re officially out.

      • Actually the reason it’s important for ALL to come out is because the more that come out, the easier it is for the whole gay community as more people will see we aren’t much different from them. I came out the minute I knew and in 1979, that wasn’t very popular. I didn’t care. I wanted to pave the way for the next person, and make their lives easier.

    • I find it interesting that Anderson Cooper talks about his brother’s suicide, which I think is a pretty private family subject, but won’t talk about boyfriend…

      • “The whole thing about being a reporter is that you’re supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you’re in, and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that.”

        – Anderson Cooper

        Quite different from the issue of suicide.

        • If that’s his position then he should never laugh on the air again EVER. Seriously. Since the two laughing attack episodes I’ve seen, I have a hard time treating him as a serious reporter. That may be wrong on my part, but really…. also, it’s hard to take anyone with a daytime talk show as a serious journalist. Coming out is the least of his problems w/r/t his rep as a journalist. Maybe he said that before the laughing episodes & the talk show?

      • Honestly, I wonder if Anderson Cooper isn’t out because he has a tendency to go places where homosexuality isn’t as tolerated as in the US and he’s already in a lot of danger (didn’t he almost get attacked/get attacked when he was covering the Egyptian Revolution?)

        • I think what you said is a reasonable factor for him to not come out. And yes, he did get attacked during the Egyptian Revolution, along with his crew. Probably not due to his sexuality as much as mob mentality, seeing how quite a few other journalists were assaulted too, but I can see how his sexuality could be an occupational hazard.

          Also, the objectivity while reporting about local politics, which is often tied in with gay issues would still be maintained if he doesn’t come out.

  10. I was happily on board the “aww, how cute!” train until I read this line: “‘Were swimming in babies over here,’ Michaels, 38, gleefully tells PEOPLE in its latest issue.” Then I got hung up on the weirdness of that statement and the image that it left in my mind,and stayed that way for the rest of the article.

  11. I don’t know, I’m a tad disturbed by the “she came out without actually coming out” line…
    I mean she should be allowed/left alone to come out when she chooses to, if she does/is non-hetero, and also this is a bit remniscient of the every-gay-supporter-is-gay thing…
    Sorry I know I’m really likely wrong but.

  12. i would like to call attention to the woman sitting behind jillian in the white dress. her face my favorite.

    ps-ubs happy for jillian & heidi.

  13. oh jillian michaels….i knew there was a reason i drooled over you for so loonnnggg… plus, maybe up until now, she’s thought it hasn’t been anyone’s business but hers what her sexuality is, famous or not.. as is her right.

  14. Something I find really interesting while reading all the tabloids and news articles about this story is that most of them don’t mention Jillian’s girlfriend or the other child at all. Us Weekly, Life and Style, and In Touch all mention that Jillian “secretly adopted” a two year old this week but leave out any mention of her sexuality, partner, or other child. And these weren’t just little blurbs. These were full page articles and yet no mention of the rest of her family at all.

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