In a move that will surprise few and delight many, Bob Harper — a personal trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser — came out publicly on Tuesday’s episode of the show. Harper has never publicly discussed his sexuality, but decided to approach the issue during the show to help one of his contestants.
Bobby Saleem, blue team member, revealed that he is overweight due to comfort eating caused by the emotional turmoil of being gay and struggling to tell his father. Harper decided the best way to help Saleem was to talk openly with him about his own struggles.
He told the audience “I haven’t talked about my sexuality on this show ever, and now meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time. I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame.”
Harper sat down with Saleem, telling him, “I totally understand what you’re talking about. I totally get it. I’m gay. I knew a very long time ago that I was gay, and the family that I grew up around was very much the same in that way, you know, there was so much repression there. I think that when I came out, when I was 17 years old, it was one of those kind of things where I realized there were so many obstacles.”
Harper further bolstered Saleem by adding “But being gay doesn’t mean being weak. Being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.” Saleem resolved to speak to his father.
Harper took to Twitter after the show to express his happiness with the overwhelmingly positive feedback he has received.
THANK YOU to everyone that supported my decision to talk about being gay w/ Bobby. I felt like it was appropriate & necessary. LOVE Y’ALL!!
— Bob Harper (@MyTrainerBob) November 27, 2013
Included below is the E! News story with video of Harper’s conversation with Saleem.
Image Source: NBC