Whitney Way Thore went through a lot during her time in “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” her show on TLC. After her dancing video went viral, the production company gave her a platform to prove that being overweight doesn’t always have a negative emotional and physical impact. However, after fans discovered her fun personality and saw her get into drama-filled and toxic relationships, the format switched to a reality TV show. Moreover, Whitney eventually shifted her focus to entrepreneurship with her business, No BS Active, which picked up speed in late 2020. However, there were some untold truths and interesting speculation over the years, and we’ve listed them.
Whitney wasn’t always overweight
While her life is anything but dull, and she does her best to empower women to be comfortable and confident in their bodies, Whitney used to be of average size and even skinny and athletic at times. However, her problems with polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS) began affecting her in her late teens. From being slim until she was 19, Whitney gained about 100lbs or 45kgs, then almost double that amount in college.
Even worse, she only got diagnosed at 23, and was the first time that she’d heard about the condition. Despite not dancing for almost a decade due to her weight gain, Whitney gained fame with her popular show on TLC between 2015 and 2023, showcasing her skills, tight-knit family, and a slew of toxic relationships. A new season may even uncover a secret that her father has hidden for over five decades.
Her show had a different name
Many new fans don’t know that Whitney Way Thore caught TLC’s attention by posting a video entitled “A Fat Girl Dancing”, to the YouTube channel of 107.5 KZL radio station, on 27 February 2014, where she worked at the time. After several interviews with media outlets such as NBC, ABC, and Huffington News, the show TLC offered to film “Whitney: Fat Girl Dancing,” according to the BBC. However, the executives changed it to “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” when it premiered 10 episodes starting in January 2015.
Her family struggled to accept her weight
Although Whitney always emphasized that her parents and brother supported her decisions throughout her life, her sudden weight gain still shocked them to a degree. For a while, she felt ‘a bit of a disconnect,’ especially with her father, Glenn Thore. Despite telling him that she still felt confident and wanted to raise awareness that you can be healthy at any size, he said, ‘Whitney, I know you’re struggling, but you can’t change the world. You have to fit into society’s mold.’
However, after losing close to 50kgs or about 110lbs and regaining it, Whitney decided to be herself and focus on her health instead of weight. Her father agreed, but warned her that she would run into trouble being so decisive. However, he changed his mind in 2015, and told her that he was convinced of her ability to positively affect the world, which is a story that brings Whitney to tears whenever she tells it.
— Whitney Way Thore (@whitneywaythore) May 11, 2015
Her brother, Hunter, also distanced himself for a while, because he didn’t know how to interact with her, and she thought that he was embarrassed with her. However, like her father, he changed his tune at one point, and is now fully supportive of her.
Whitney and her brother love theatre
Many people don’t know that Whitney Way Thore has acting experience, which helped her land the position of an on-air producer for the radio show “Jared & Katie in the Morning” in her hometown. First, in 2000. she was accepted into the Governor’s School of North Carolina of Meredith College, and their Theatre Summer Enrichment Program. Two years later, she matriculated from Page High School in her hometown, then majored in Theatre at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She later changed her majors to Communications and Public Relations, and subsequently earned a Master’s in journalism.
Her brother Hunter, who fans sometimes call her twin since he’s only 10 months older, is theatrically inclined, too. He attended Terry Knickerbocker Studio, The William Esper Studio, and The Freeman Studio among others, to refine his acting skills. He then moved to New York City and planned to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a movie and TV actor. Unfortunately, he had to take a break when his mother, Babs, had a stroke on 28 December 2021, and instead spent time at home, and in his mother’s retirement community.
Luckily, his fans saw him on-screen in the ninth episode of the 13th season of the “Blue Bloods” series in January 2023, playing Wayne, a dog-stealing criminal with a beard and a mullet. That was his first co-star role, and he noted that his mother would have been proud of him, especially since he afterwards landed the lead role in a feature film. Moreover, Hunter appeared in TV shows such as “Skye of the Damned” and “Skeleton Crew” and said that as a young teen, performing with Kathleen Turner, a two-time Golden Globe Winner, sparked his passion for acting. Hunter is also a guitarist for the metal punk band, Plague of Jackals.
She’s lived in at least two more countries
Whitney spent most of her time in the US, and chose to stay close to family. However, following her college graduation, Whitney taught English to schoolchildren in South Korea for several years. Moreover, she revealed that she lived in Derry, the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, for a few months in 2005.
She is non-religious
Whitney was surprised that many of her fans assumed that she was Christian; consequently, she received several hateful messages for not ascribing to that religion. She stated that she’s non-religious but that she loves learning about all religions, and is particularly interested in Islam.
Whitney’s sexuality is flexible
Although Whitney dated and becamet engaged to men during the show, many fans forget that she admitted to kissing women in the past. Moreover, she’s candid about loving to be touched by men and women, and enjoying massages from both sexes. When asked about her sexuality, she defined it as “hetero-flexible,” The description became relevant once she announced that she’d opened her relationship with her French boyfriend in October 2022. She promptly went on a holiday to Saint Lucia, where she got close to her ex-boyfriend Lennie Alehat, sparking rumors of rekindling an old flame. Because she seemed excited about her newfound freedom, some fans thought that she might also experiment with women.
Whitney published her memoir and first book, entitled “I Do It with the Lights On And 10 More Discoveries on the Road to a Blissfully Shame-Free Life”; in it she discussed self-acceptance and promoted fighting fatphobia, discouraging overweight people from feeling ashamed of themselves to the point of ‘doing it with the lights off,’ among other things.
JUST ANNOUNCED!!!Whitney Way Thore will be joining us Monday June 6th at 7pm to discuss and sign her book “I Do It With The Lights On”
Posted by Barnes & Noble Events, The Grove on Friday, May 20, 2016
She may have kissed Buddy for fake drama
One ex-boyfriend who fans didn’t like seeing but couldn’t stop tuning in to watch, was Buddy Bell. He had been her friend since college, and they had an undefined relationship. While he has supported Whitney, she treated him poorly, and even called him fat, which some viewers saw as hypocritical and contrary to her message.
Many people do not realize that besides having a drug problem, specifically using cocaine, which was covered in the fourth season, Buddy has also been addicted to alcohol, and is a criminal. Fans discovered that he was arrested on 30 January 2014 for assaulting a government official, resisting a public officer, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct at the Memorial Auditorium venue during a Queens of the Stone Age concert.
While Whitney wasn’t responsible for his actions, and tried to help, fans were disappointed when she let him move in with her in 2015. That’s because she seemed to force him to air his dirty laundry in public for drama, despite him saying, ‘I’m just tired of looking like a loser in the f*cking show.’
Things went further; Whitney criticized him for mistreating his then-girlfriend, Heather, by drip-feeding his love to keep her hooked. Then, while he was apparently in a relationship during the fifth season, the first episode began with Whitney kissing him. While she said that she had good intentions, viewers thought that they’d fabricated a romance to increase the viewership’ moreover, her pushing to get into a relationship was because she was ‘feeling a vibe being with her “Boo Bear”, wassimply manipulative. Buddy openly stated that he started going to the bar after breaking up with his then-girlfriend, Chelsea Roark. After he finally sobered-up, his friends and family advised him not to rush into a relationship, as he was still vulnerable, and Whitney knew that.
Whitney cut ties with a business partner
Whitney started rumors in October 2020 that she was moving or quitting her business, when she announced on Facebook that her business, No BS Active, a monthly subscription for fitness, dancing, and lifestyle content, was taking a one-month hiatus. While the moving part was genuine, she never said that she’d broke ties with her business partner.
Several things pointed to discord in their partnership, however. Only six days before Whitney announced her plans, Ryan Andreas teased that he was releasing a mobile fitness app. He released “Training Partners by Natalie & Ryan” with his mother, Natalie Betsko, on 5 October 2020, a day later. As if adding fuel to the flames, he uploaded a picture holding his friend’s newborn baby, Aurora, and said that he was a proud uncle. That wouldn’t be a problem if his friend weren’t Chase Severino, whom Whitney broke off her engagement with in May of that year! Moreover, his daughter was conceived behind Whitney’s back, which meant that Chase had cheated on her for some time, which he later admitted, adding that not living in the same city and slowly drifting apart caused it. Additionally, Ryan knew about it since Chase was his friend from college, but never told Whitney because he reportedly wanted to protect her from getting hurt.
A month later, in early November, Whitney indirectly confirmed that she’d ended things with Ryan when she introduced Jessica Powell as her new business partner, who long-time fans remember as her fitness trainer. Thus, the business restarted without fanfare, with tweaks to the fitness program, while rumors circulated that the two also went their separate ways after Whitney didn’t immediately congratulate Jessica on her engagement to Isaiah Martin on 11 July 2022. Luckily, nothing happened, since Whitney was merely unavailable as she vacationed in France, so they’re still partners.
Her confidence to post workout videos from the gym, in a bikini or dressed, up surprises many viewers. However, she says that she regularly gets accused of being ‘too fat and not losing weight’ with her workouts, a mix of Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and No BS Active programs. She responded to that criticism with, ‘You can lose weight or you can not, but regardless exercise will benefit you in a million other ways.’
With that in mind, she was curious about the reaction when she implemented a new workout routine, and lost 50lbs, over 20kgs between late 2018 and mid-2019. After she found that people continued to berate her instead of celebrating her weight loss, she concluded that their comments were just fatphobic, and resolved not to read/listen to them.
She was accused of photoshopping her images
Another untold truth is that Whitney promised never to digitally alter her appearance outside of improving the photo quality. Thus, many angry viewers called her out for pictures she posted with her then-boyfriend, Chase Severino, in June 2019, in which filters allegedly made her look thinner. In response, she posted a screenshot of her camera roll, showing the unedited photo without filters, which looked identical save for the color hue and saturation. As additional proof of authenticity, a cleavage thumbnail picture was among other pictures of Chase and her family.
Additionally, she is honest about all procedures that she’s done, or does daily. For instance, she had lip fillers at Sōna Dermatology around July 2021, and reported being obsessed with them despite what people say. She also stated that she covers the bald spots from PCOS with Toppik hair fibers, has her eyebrows micro-bladed, dyes and plucks the grey hair strands, and sometimes metaphorically wears 10lbs of make-up.
She got a dog in 2020
Whitney is a proud cat owner, and has called herself “cat mama” for years, thus, viewers often see her three cats, Hench or Henchie, Ollie and Wanda. However, she surprised most people by getting a black poodle named Caniche in June 2020. Her loyal fans knew that Whitney had a history of dog ownership – her family had two dogs, and she had another dog after moving out of the family home. Another surprising fact is that Caniche means “poodle” in French, and she visited her French boyfriend in Paris almost exactly a year later. That may be a clue, or only her affection for the French language.
Whitney progressed a lot
Whitney has been forthcoming about her struggles with food and medical issues, and has come a long way in her journey to advocate for body positivity and self-acceptance. She admitted to having a food addiction that began in middle school, forcing her to try several diets to reduce her calorie intake. Moreover, she had bulimia, and confessed to ‘purging food’. Furthermore, Whitney is open about issues caused by PCOS, which makes her hair fall out, leaving bald spots, and is making her pregnancy nearly impossible. Nonetheless, she used medicine to recover, including controlling her weight. Additionally, she visited a fertility doctor in August 2021 to freeze her eggs, and learned that the number was twice as high as the average for women with her condition.
Although her conditions weren’t the primary cause, they contributed to the format shift from dancing to typical reality TV drama. Nonetheless, fans stuck by her, and TLC will likely greenlight a following season, especially if the news about a third sibling is trustworthy.
Her dad may have a secret child
While the focus has been on Whitney and her celebration of life, and it’s likely that season 11, if it airs, will focus on her relationship with Lennie and getting closer to her father after her mother’s passing on 7 December 2022, some rumors indicate that a new person will enter the family dynamic.
In 2022, an insider came out with rumors that Hunter and Whitney aren’t the only children of their father, Glenn Thore. They speculated that this would be the topic of season 10, since TLC briefly focused on Glenn’s ex-girlfriend, Keiko in 2018, but that Babs’ death interrupted those plans. Glenn even stated, ‘Babs seems to be a bit jealous of Keiko, and I’m not sure why because I’ve been hers for 40 years. She doesn’t even want to touch her.’ According to the insider, Glenn had a boy with Keiko while he was with the Marines in Japan, and he’s between 47 and 57 years old. Based on their information, Hunter and Whitney have only recently learned of his existence, and their shock would undoubtedly spice things up.