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Billy Gardell Gives Weight-Loss Update and Reflects on ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’s Final Episodes (Exclusive)

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Billy Gardell‘s physical transformation in the last few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. He’s lost some 150 pounds since he first underwent bariatric surgery in 2021. And while maintaining the weight loss has and always will remain the goal, the 54-year-old actor admits it’s not easy.

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Speaking to ET’s Denny Directo on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, ahead of the Bob Hearts Abishola series finale on May 13 on CBS, Gardell says the key to maintaining his weight loss is consistency. Not everyone will be perfect in their weight-loss journey, but consistency throughout will go a long, long way.

“Everything you do in this life is between your ears. It’s whether or not you want to. I think strength is asking for help when you can’t do it yourself,” Gardell says. “That’s how I attack this and, you know, I do it daily. And I don’t do it perfectly, but I do it way better than I used to. And so I think anything you want to change in your life is a day at a time.”

Gardell dropped the weight — a physical transformation that manifested in front of everyone’s eyes on Bob Hearts Abishola — when he underwent bariatric surgery in 2022, a process he underwent in an effort to minimize his risk of COVID. At one point, the Mike & Molly star weighed over 370 pounds. Since dropping the weight (he told ET in 2023 he hovers between 205 and 210 pounds) that the weight loss now means he no longer suffers from Type 2 diabetes.

Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell on Jan. 31, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. – Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Naturally, people from all walks of life come up to him for advice about his weigh-loss journey, and he gives it to them straight.

“I think whatever you do, you just got to be consistent. That’s the trick. The way I did it was bariatric surgery. And I tell people who ask me about that, I’m very open about it. And don’t look at it like the answer. It’s the beginning,” he says. “Because if you’re not willing to commit to the stuff on the other side, it’s just gonna happen again. So, look hard at what you have to commit to, keep going and find some consistency. Consistency is the key.”

Billy and Patty Gardell on Oct. 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. – Getty

Gardell’s way was bariatric surgery and he’s stayed committed on that path. For others, it may be a different route, and Gardell says that’s OK.

“You know, man, I have no judgment. You know, you got to do what you got to do in this world to get your hand in the air as a victor. So, whether it’s a low carb or keto or the operation, you know, it’s about self-love,” the actor says. “I looked in the mirror for 35 years. ‘Lose weight. You’re a piece of crap.’ That doesn’t work. When you look in the mirror and go, ‘All right, I’m gonna take care of you today.’ That’s where strength lies. That’s where change lies, in my opinion.”

Gardell’s transformation was so dramatic, his wife, Patty Gardell, at first, hardly recognized him.

“When I first lost the weight, my wife thought a stranger was in the house,” he quipped. “So, something’s going right.”

Billy Gardell on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. – Getty

His professional life will undergo another transformation of sorts, when Bob Hearts Abishola airs its series finale on May 13 on CBS. The Chuck Lorre-executive produced sitcom will come to an end after five hilarious seasons. Gardell says Lorre and the brilliant writing staff may have a tearjerker up their sleeves to put a bow on the series.

“Our writers, man, Matt Ross and Gina Yashere and Chuck oversee all the gang in our writing. They’ve been so wonderful. One of the staples in the Chuck Lorre campus, the table read is usually better than most people’s final script,” Gardell gushed. “So we’re very spoiled. And I know they take great care in satisfying the ending of each show. So, I think we’re gonna rise to that, too … I think there’s probably gonna be some tears and there’s gonna be some moments and, again, you hope it impacted your life in a positive way. And I think this show did and I think that comes through on the TV.”

Folake Olowofoyeku and Billy Gardell on the set of Bob Hearts Abishola. – Getty

Gardell plays Bob Wheeler, a compression sock businessman from Detroit who unexpectedly falls for Abishola Adebambo (Folake Olowofoyeku) — a Nigerian immigrant and his cardiac nurse — after experiencing a heart attack early on in the series. Despite their completely different backgrounds and Abishola’s initial lack of interest, Bob follows his heart and pursues Abishola and eventually marries her in the show described as a “comedic examination of immigrant life in America.”

“I think everyone’s just gonna miss each other. And that’s a good thing,” Gardell says. “It’s a good thing to connect with people, learn from people and take that into the next part of your life.”

The Bob Hearts Abishola series finale is set to air May 13 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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