Oprah Is Leaving WeightWatchers After Revealing Weight-Loss Drug Use

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Oprah Winfrey is leaving the board of WeightWatchers, the company announced Wednesday, after she acknowledged using weight-loss drugs.

The talk show star bought a 10 percent stake in the business for a reported $43 million in 2015 but won’t seek re-election at an upcoming shareholder meeting in May, WeightWatchers said in a statement. News of her impending departure saw the company’s share price fall by over a quarter, the latest blow to a business dealing with heavy losses and increasing competition from a new era of commercial weight-loss treatments.

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Winfrey said she would continue to work to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani “in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity.”

She also vowed to donate all of her WeightWatchers stock to the National Museum of American History and Culture. WeightWatchers said the donation was partly motivated to “eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medication.”

In December, Winfrey told People that she had started using a prescribed unnamed weight-loss medication alongside her diet and exercise. “I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing,” she said, adding: “I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself.”

Winfrey did not specify which medication she is using, but demand for semaglutide-based treatments including Ozempic and Wegovy has exploded around the world in recent months. Demand is so intense that Novo Nordisk—the Danish pharmaceutical company that developed the drug—briefly became the most valuable company in Europe in September.

WeightWatchers did not specify how Winfrey’s use of weight-loss drugs could be perceived as a conflict. The company last year launched WeightWatchers Clinic, which allows members access to doctors who can prescribe drugs including Wegovy, according to Time. A specific program was also created to support WeightWatchers members using the injectable medications.

WeightWatchers this week posted a loss of more than $88 million in 2023, more than double the $35.8 million loss suffered the year before.

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