On "The Biggest Loser," trainers go to great lengths to inspire contestants on their teams to gain mental and physical strength while losing weight. Bob Harper did that in an unexpected way on Tuesday night's episode when he decided to help one contestant by coming out.
Bobby Saleem, like the rest of Bob's blue team, won a chance to spend some time with family on the ranch. But while Bobby opened up to his folks about his weight-loss journey, he still couldn't bring himself to tell his father that he's gay.
"I come from a very strict Catholic background," Bobby revealed. "Homosexuality, in a sense, was wrong, so I kind of hid it. It's just something I've kind of kept from my parents — or at least my dad. I always felt like there was something wrong with me."
Bobby's struggles struck a chord with Bob.
"I haven't talked about my sexuality on this show ever, and now meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time," Bob said before sitting down for a one-on-one chat with the member of his team. "I want to show Bobby that he doesn't have to live in shame."
And so Bob decided to come out publicly by discussing the time he came out privately.
"I totally understand what you're talking about," he told Bobby. "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. 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."
Bob recommended Bobby simply realize that his father is "a good man, a smart man," and most of all, a man capable of accepting his son the way he is.
The talk seemed to do the trick for Bobby, who vowed to have another important talk soon — with his father.
As for the rest of Bob's blue team, things didn't go quite as well. At the weigh-in, they fell behind the other teams and that left one of Bob's favorite players to ever enter the competition, Olympic weightlifter Holley Mangold, under the dreaded red line and off the ranch.
"The Biggest Loser" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
First published November 27 2013, 5:57 AM