Vanderpump Rules star Jax Taylor is opening up about how being fat-shamed prompted a health turnaround, which has seen him lose 42 pounds.
The 39-year-old reality star detailed his transformation in a new interview with Men’s Health, in which he also talked about losing his father and the toxicity of the skinny-focused modeling industry.
Taylor said he gained 60 pounds over four years of filming the Bravo reality series, explaining that delivery apps like Postmates made it too easy to sit on the couch, watching Making a Murderer marathons and binging on “everything in sight.”
In February 2017, as Vanderpump Rules viewers started shaming him via social media with comments like, “Man, you got fat,” Taylor used their digs as motivation to get in shape.
“I’m glad they did it. I thought, ‘Why didn't my friends tell me? Why didn't my own girlfriend tell me this?’ I looked disgusting,” he told the outlet. “I was like a butterball. I was not lean. I didn't have the chiseled look that I used to have. I was, like, ‘This has got to stop.’”
At that point, Taylor weighed around 235 pounds instead of his usual 175 pounds. He said that he developed an unhealthy relationship with food during his 2002 – 2010 modelling days in Europe and New York City, where he would often eat just one meal a day. Other models he worked with would meanwhile “stuff their mouth full of cotton balls,” in an attempt to suppress their appetites.
Not making enough money and never feeling skinny enough, Taylor eventually quit modeling, and moved to California, where he started appearing on Vanderpump Rules, based at Lisa Vanderpump’s West Hollywood restaurant, Sur.
“When I started the show, I took a back seat on the gym,” Taylor said. “I looked great because I was still coming off of the modeling, but the show turned into so much work. We're filming all day. We're also partying all of the time. We're drinking all of the time. I didn't have the time to go to the gym.”
He resorted to “steroid adjacent” supplements to lose weight, but subsequently developed gynecomastia, meaning his breast tissue became swollen and had to be surgically removed.
The death of Taylor’s father, Ronald, from esophageal cancer, sent him into another battle which impacted his health.
“I get a phone call over speaker and it was my mom bawling her eyes out,” Taylor recalled. “She's, like, ‘Your father is dead.’ I pulled the car over. I collapsed. I didn't know how to deal. I was on the way to see him the next day. I fell on the ground in the middle of the highway. I threw my phone on the highway. I was convulsing and everything. I was freaking out. I didn't know what to do. My life flashed. My best friend died.”
“I was in a deep rut. I was literally going to lock myself in a room and do enough drugs to hurt myself,” he added about his journey through grief, which reached a turning point when fiancee Brittany Cartwright suggested he try medical marijuana. “I tried it and it changed my life. I said, ‘You know what? I'm not going to hurt myself. I'm not going to drink. I'm going to flip this around and make my dad proud. I'm going to go to the gym. We're going to start some businesses. We're going to move up.’”
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Since then, Taylor has been a regular at the gym, working out twice a day up to five days a week -- often after smoking marijuana. He has also developed healthier eating habits, dropped 42 pounds and is now looking forward to starting a family with Cartwright.
And, when he does, he is determined to be “the best father that I can possibly be.”
“I really want to be at every PTA meeting, every soccer practice, every ballerina class,” he shared. “My dad was there. I've done everything I've wanted to do, partied my brains out, traveled the world. It’s time to start the next stage in my life.”
As for Cartwright, she couldn’t be prouder of Taylor’s turnaround.
“He impresses me every single day. Not only by going to the gym and making healthier choices, but by seeing how happy and confident he is now,” she told Men’s Health. “He has helped me in so many ways to stick to my own gym classes, and being a great gym partner. We diet together and we have amazing cheat meals together. I think he looks so handsome and his dedication to me and to change is so sexy!”
In November, the couple talked to ET about weight loss, sharing how they were dedicated to the gym and were “shredding for the wedding.”
“I'm just going to town,” Taylor said about working out. “I'm a little older so it takes a little longer for me.”
“We are committed,” Cartwright added. “He is like killing it -- he's in there twice a day! I got to get on that level. I'm not there yet, but I'm trying.”