The Tragic Truth About Randy Jackson

In many ways, music mogul Randy Jackson is the picture of success. The Journey bassist rose to superstardom when he joined the original judging panel of "American Idol" in 2002. Known for his straightforward critiques and amusing catchphrases ("It's a no from me, dawg"), Jackson became well-liked by fans and contestants alike. After ending his 12-year judging stint on the reality TV competition, Jackson continued to expand his television career as a producer of "America's Best Dance Crew" and bandleader on the "Name That Tune" revival.

While the former "American Idol" judge's career has brought fame and riches, Jackson has had his share of struggles behind the scenes. In a 2019 interview with Unify Health Labs, Jackson revealed, "You see, by the time I was on 'American Idol,' my health was in the worst shape it had ever been." The path to becoming healthier was no cakewalk for the television personality, as he added, "My journey was long and far from easy." Additionally, Jackson has suffered setbacks in the relationship department. And to top it off, he's heard some brutal criticism on camera. Needless to say, being Randy Jackson is not for the faint of heart.

Randy Jackson's second marriage didn't cross the finish line

After splitting from his first wife, Elizabeth Jackson, in 1990, Randy Jackson gave marriage another go. But his second marriage didn't have a fairytale ending either. In 2014, the star's wife, Erika Riker, officially ended their 18-year marriage by filing for divorce, something she attributed to irreconcilable differences. It took over four years for Jackson to settle the divorce. While details of their settlement were kept private, People noted that the couple didn't sign a prenuptial agreement.

When Riker pulled the plug on their marriage, Jackson reportedly had a tough time. A source told People, "Randy is bummed out. It's not the way he wanted it to happen or end." Riker initially sought full physical custody and joint legal custody of their son Jordan, who was 17 years old at the time. However, when Jackson eventually settled the divorce, Jordan, as well as their daughter Zoe, were adults. Riker had also asked Jackson for spousal support and payment of her attorney fees. While the "American Idol" judge agreed to pay for spousal support, Jackson wanted Riker to cover her own legal fees, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.

Negativity directed at Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson may be flying high career-wise, but the star isn't immune to rejection and negative feedback. In 2022, he recounted his experience as an "American Idol" judge with Yahoo! Entertainment. Jackson shared that being honest with contestants was extremely important to him. He explained how rejection helped him with his own career, saying, "I say all the time in interviews, the thing that helped me the most [when I was starting out] was the no's — the people that didn't like me, didn't like my playing, didn't like my songwriting, didn't like my producing. That's what made me work and try harder."

During his time on the reality TV competition, Jackson received some pretty nasty comments about his appearance. Back in 2020, he talked to People about his health and weight loss journey. Jackson shared, "I think it was season 2 on 'Idol.' You come in and they go 'Yeah dawg, you're telling me I'm terrible but you're fat!' ... And I would go, 'I am. I have mirrors in my house. I know!'" However, that harsh criticism, along with a sobering trip to the ER, actually inspired Jackson to make lifestyle changes.

Randy Jackson has faced major health challenges

Randy Jackson has famously opened up about his health issues on numerous occasions. Back in 2002, the TV personality learned that he had type 2 diabetes after landing in the ER. In his 2008 book "Body With Soul," Jackson wrote, "It's a curse to be saddled with a disease that's life-threatening and that you can't completely get rid of, though you can certainly manage it." When he received his diagnosis, Jackson weighed 350 pounds. As the "American Idol" judge became focused on improving his health, he underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2003.

Jackson has worked hard to maintain his 100-pound-plus weight loss over the years. In 2019, he shared his health tips with The Los Angeles Times. The bass player revealed his eating habits transformed after his diabetes diagnosis. In addition to portion control, he started consuming balanced meals. "For breakfast, I try to get in some protein — maybe eggs with bacon. Lunch is salad and fish. I snack throughout the day on Vega protein bars and crisps, which are all plant-based," he said. Jackson also described the importance of exercise, mindfulness, and behavior modification therapy. "I'm one of those addictive personalities that has to completely change the way I look at something to have it sit well in my life. I began to look at food as the nourishment I needed, not as a party," he explained.

Adam Levine clapped back at Randy Jackson

No stranger to speaking his mind, Randy Jackson's mouth has gotten him into trouble. When "The Voice" started to make waves, the "American Idol" team didn't hold back their true feelings about the increasingly popular show. According to Entertainment Weekly, Jackson threw some shade at "The Voice" during a Television Critics Association panel in 2012. "The winner of 'The Voice,' I will remind you, was an artist who had a deal at Capitol Records for several years, a failed contract. That show was almost 'second chance people,'" he said.

Once Jackson's comments surfaced, "The Voice" judge Adam Levine called the musician out on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Levine told Ellen DeGeneres, "Shame on Randy Jackson for saying that. Because he, of anybody, should know that if you're in this business, you need second, third, fourth, and fifth chances. So we love and embrace having that being part of the show." Acknowledging Jackson's tremendous success, the Maroon 5 frontman called the judge's comment "irresponsible."

Fans have expressed concern about Randy Jackson's frailty

During Kelly Clarkson's 2022 Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, Randy Jackson drew attention for his shockingly fragile appearance. Apparently, Simon Cowell helped support his longtime friend throughout the ceremony. After the event, videos of Jackson struggling to walk circulated online. One viral TikTok clip showed Jackson using a cane to stabilize himself. At one point, the former "American Idol" judge put his hand on his assistant's shoulder as he walked. Fans took to the comments section to express their concerns, with many theorizing that he suffered from a stroke. One user wrote, "He doesn't look good at all I hope he's OK." Another fan remarked, "Hi I love Randy Jackson but over the last couple of years he's looked sickly to me." Someone else commented, "What happened to [Randy]??..he was so big n strong and he's not that old either."

Sadly, this wasn't the only time Jackson ignited concern about his frailty. The "Name That Tune" bandleader has also caused a stir for his feeble appearance on the game show. Back in 2021, one user tweeted, "Randy Jackson looks very sick in this show 'Name That Tune.'" In 2023, someone else said, "Just saw Randy Jackson on 'Name that Tune.' He looks like a corpse. I pray he is okay."