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Country comic and parody king Cledus T. Judd lost more than 100 pounds and went through some other serious life changes, culminating with his appearance on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club. Here’s some of what he had to tell CW about his experiences in our exclusive interview.
CW: Has going through this physical transformation also given you a good perspective on the spiritual part of your life? It sounds like it has.
CJ: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s almost like a rebirth. I feel like a new person. I was tired, I was overweight. I wasn’t motivated. And I think everybody that knows me knows that I’m a hustler, man. I go get it. I’ll put myself in a position all the time. And I was tired . . . physically, emotionally. It was just a life changer, man.
I was unhealthy in the process at one time. I’d gotten to the point, and I know you can’t look at me and think I’m anorexic, but I was eating like an anorexic. I wouldn’t eat at all. I’d eat blueberries and milk . . . blueberries and milk . . . blueberries and milk . . . ’cause I was so petrified of gainin’ weight.
But once I went to Fit Club, VHI really helped me to learn how to eat better. It’s portions. And it’s OK to have a piece of cake or a brownie. It’s just all about the portions. Just don’t make a pan of brownies and eat ‘em all.
I’m not Richard Simmons, but I can honestly say . . . I think I look . . . I feel . . . I went to L.A. for a lot of selfish reasons. For myself . . . and I say that because I did it for myself because if I do it for myself and I do it to get healthy . . . to clear my mind and get a better understanding of who I am as a person, I’d be a better father to my kid . . . a better friend to my friends . . . a better son to my parents. And that’s what I accomplished.
CW: What’s the biggest difference been? Has it been a lifestyle? Has it been a mindset? Or the combination of all of it?
CJ: Man, I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle change. I think bein’ in L.A. for 100 days is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But on the flip side of that, it showed me that discipline will get you there. You can say, “I can’t get that last 30 pounds off.” Sure you can. If you have the discipline, you can do it. It’s about portion control and being conscious about what you eat. And I cheat. It’s OK to cheat. I drink coffee with cream in it in the mornings. But I try not to when I leave there. I haven’t eaten red meat in almost nine months. It’s almost like it’s nonexistent now.
CW: So, is your body pretty much where you want it to be?
CJ: The body still needs work, trust me. But the thing I am most proud of is that I never took one diet pill, not one. No steroids. No HGH [human growth hormone]. No Barry Bonds thing. I did it the hard way. If you have to have surgery after you’ve lost the weight, that’s understandable. There’s excess skin that I’m trying to get rid of naturally. But I didn’t do the lap band or whatever that word is. I did it the right way. I’m really proud I did it. It was as hard as anything I’ve ever done. It’s hard to push back away from the table. I’m from the south. My god, they make you eat where I’m from! I grew up in an unhealthy family. It was always hamburger, steaks, gravy, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, biscuits.
CW: What’s your status with Julie Reeves? [His ex-wife]
CJ: Oh, great friends. Julie Reeves is a phenomenal mother and she allows me to be a phenomenal dad.
CW: Are you seeing anybody? Involved with anyone?
CJ: You know, I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t dated anybody since Caitlyn was born. I’ve had dates . . . but nothing serious. I just honestly felt like I was cheatin’ on my kid. I live in Tampa, away from her . . . and I just wasn’t ready to share that love. If that makes any sense at all. I think now that she’s getting older, Julie and I are in a good place in our lives. She’s gone on with her life . . . she dates. And I think if Caitlyn could talk better—not that she don’t talk a lot!—I think she would say, “Dad, don’t sit down there and be unhappy. I know you love me. I know you’ve got my back.”
So now I really want to. I absolutely want to be in a relationship. The way Julie and I explain it to Caitlyn is if there’s other people in our lives, that’s more people who get to love her. And a child can never have too much love. Julie and I could’ve made a decision to be hateful, mean and fight like hell . . . and we’ve had our trouble, absolutely . . . but when it comes to Caitlyn, she knows that I love that child more than my life and I know that she loves that child more than her life.
We’re great friends. Julie brings her to L.A. She brought her to Phoenix. She brings her to Florida. I go to Kentucky . . . I stay at her house when I go. And whether there’s other people in our lives, and I hope there will be, I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but the four of us will make it a point to get together in a house . . . at a vacation . . . at a Disney World. And see that we can co-habitate as a big family. I would love to marry again, and I’d love to have more children. And I will do that.
CW: Talk about Fit Club a little. What was your experience like with the other celebrities?
CJ: The people I worked with—Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), Warren G., The Brat, Kimberly Lock, Ross the Intern. I don’t have a lot of use for Screech . . . Dustin Diamond is a pathetic individual. It was a great experience for all of us. And I was in awe of Marcia Brady anyway [chuckles]. But they really worked with us.
CW: How determined were you to make this work?
CJ: Because of my fear of flying, I drove back and forth from Florida to California on the tour bus four times. And I would literally have the bus let me off, and take off on Interstate 40 goin’ to California, and go two miles . . . or a mile. Then I would run and chase the bus. I’d get back on the bus, I’d drive 200 to 300 miles, make the bus stop, go a mile, then I would run and catch the bus. I was determined to make this work.
For more on Cledus’ transformation, see the Aug. 13 issue of Country Weekly.