New York - Oprah Winfrey, who has publicly struggled with her weight for decades, is going on a diet again. But this time she stands to gain a lot of money from her efforts.
Weight Watchers said Monday that it signed a five-year deal with the former talk show host. Winfrey, a co-owner of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, is paying about $43.2m for a 10% stake in the weight loss company.
The deal is already paying off: Weight Watchers shares more than doubled after the partnership was announced, earning Winfrey about $45m on paper.
Winfrey will use the Weight Watchers mobile app and work with a personal coach, the company said. She has also agreed to let Weight Watchers use her name, image and likeness for its products and services. Additionally, she will make appearances on the company's behalf.
"Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for," Winfrey said in a statement. "I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution."
Weight Watchers is no stranger to celebrities. It has paid singers Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson to promote its plan. But the deal with Winfrey is a shift to focus on overall health and wellness, rather than just dropping pounds.
"We are expanding our purpose from focusing on weight loss alone to more broadly helping people lead a healthier, happier life," said Weight Watchers President and CEO Jim Chambers said in a statement.
Winfrey's weight has yo-yoed over the years, and she's been very open publicly about her struggles with dieting.
In fact, weight was a frequent subject of her talk show, which ended nearly five years ago after 25 years on the air. In 1988, a thin Winfrey famously walked out on stage wheeling 67 pounds of fat in a wagon, representing the weight she lost. But her weight has fluctuated over time.
Her weight was still an issue as The Oprah Winfrey Show came to an end. She told the TV interviewer Barbara Walters that one of her goals was to "make peace with the whole weight thing".
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