‘Today’ Star Al Roker Marked a Special Anniversary in His Health Journey: ‘It’s Still a Struggle’

Today star Al Roker recently opened up on Twitter to observe an important milestone date regarding his health. The veteran morning show anchor shared that it’s been 20 years since he underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Even Roker expressed disbelief at the progress that’s taken place, saying that while he may “struggle” at times, he refuses to allow himself to return to his former weight.

'Today' co-host Al Roker stands on the morning show's set in this photograph.
‘Today’ star Al Roker | Nathan Congleton /NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Roker has struggled with his weight most of his life

The iconic television personality has dealt with weight issues since his childhood. In his 2012 book, Never Goin’ Back, the Today co-anchor remembers when his weight began to bother him – when Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert animated series appeared on television.

He told NPR, “I’m black, I’m fat, my name is Albert. It was the embodiment of who I had become.” It led to a great deal of teasing by his classmates, which Roker said he learned to navigate by being the funny fat kid.

The weather anchor has also been honest about his weight’s impact on his marriage to journalist Deborah Roberts of ABC News. His wife would urge Roker to take his health more seriously, causing friction between them, as he revealed in an article for Today.

“She was upset about it, she was frustrated, she was angry,” he wrote. “She thought, ‘Why don’t you care enough about yourself and why don’t you care about me and our relationship enough to change?’ And I said, ‘Look, it’s not about you. It’s about me.’

“For the overweight person, the person who’s struggling, there are obviously issues that we’re dealing with. It’s not like we’re being fat to spite the person who’s in good shape. That’s what the person who isn’t struggling needs to realize.”

Al Roker marked 20 years since he underwent gastric bypass surgery

The morning show star recently posted a tweet noting that it’s been two decades since he chose to undergo gastric bypass surgery, and expressing his gratitude for the positive changes in his life since then.

“Hard to believe it was 20 years ago today, I wore these jeans to my #gastricbypass at 340 lbs and here I am today,
Roker wrote. “It’s still a struggle but I’m never going back. I may have setbacks but I work on it [every] day.”

Along with the tweet, Roker included a video of himself climbing into his larger-sized jeans from 2002, with a great deal of room to spare.

The ‘Today’ star kept his surgery a secret at that time from his co-workers

“It was weird because in a sense, I was living a lie – not a bad lie, but I didn’t like being untruthful, especially to people who were genuinely concerned about me,” Roker said in his book.

“For whatever reason, it was hard for me to tell people and be accountable for my decision because I thought they would judge me,” he revealed. “I had a real fear of being found out.”

Roker’s anxiety was well-founded, as a major publication began inquiring if he had had surgery for weight loss.

At that point, he told his colleagues the truth and wrote that “They were all extremely supportive. They each said they’d noticed I was losing weight, but they thought something was going on with my health and didn’t want to invade my privacy until I was ready to share with them whatever was going on.”

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