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O’Donnell is now 50-plus pounds lighter and a happily married woman. She tied the knot for the second time to Michelle Rounds in 2012 and recently adopted a girl Dakota, in addition to her other children from her first marriage.
She told ABC News that she feels great.
“I feel good. I wouldn’t have said yes to coming back if I didn’t. They asked me a year ago, ‘Would you consider [coming back]?’ … The concept of being able to do this show in a way that celebrates and elevates women is hard for me to resist.”
O’Donnell had a procedure, a vertical gastric sleeve, which has less complications that gastric bypass. Now, she can’t eat as much, but getting used to her new body isn’t all positive.
“The fact that I look so different has been difficult and unexpected,” she said. “Everyone assumes that obese people would just be jumping for joy that they were healthier and thinner and able to fit into store-bought sizes, we don’t have to go to the plus store. But it’s also filled with a lot of emotional turbulence, you wouldn’t expect.”
O’Donnell added that she is getting support from people in similar situations.
“I have a group that I go to, where women talk about how they feel. A lot of marriages break up once one person gets healthy. Luckily, my wife is very healthy, always been healthy, loves me and encourages me to be healthy.”