‘Rosanne’ Star John Goodman Lost More Than 100 Pounds — A Look At His Weight Loss Journey

Jan 07, 2021 by apost team


With a decades-long Hollywood career, John Goodman is both a family man on- and off-screen. However, being a family man comes with all of the trials and tribulations that one could expect — and for Goodman, struggling with weight was certainly one of them. We have always revered Goodman for his prolific acting career, and now we can also admire him for his weight loss transformation. 

Challenges From The Start

John Goodman has actually struggled with weight even before he made it to Hollywood. In a podcast interview from 2019, Goodman revealed that he struggled with being overweight as a kid, and this struggle that started out in childhood was carried into adulthood. Unfortunately, this was not the only adversity that Goodman faced early-on in life. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, he talked about how he lost his father when he was only two years old.

Despite these initial setbacks, Goodman moved to New York at the age of 23 to continue his passions. He told The Guardian that the first few months he spent in New York were “pretty terrifying.” Just starting out in his career, times were tough, as Goodman explained:

“There were times when I’d run out of money…[one night] I had some beans on the stove. I left them on the stove to simmer and I got locked out of the apartment so they were gone. And that was the last meal for a while.”


There were also times when Goodman wasn’t sure he would make it onto the silver screen while he lived in New York. He had taken a leap of faith that many who have similar dreams do, and his mother, a waitress at a restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, had little idea of what being an actor meant. 

“I don’t think she cared just as long as I was happy,” Goodman told The Guardian in 2015. “And I think the concept was just so foreign to her that it just didn’t register as anything to object to.” To him, acting was an “urge” he could not quite localize, and he fell in love with the craft of acting as he studied drama at Missouri State University. “I knew that if I didn’t, I’d regret it – if I didn’t at least try,” he says of his dream of becoming an actor. With a small loan and big dreams, he made his way to New York and give it his all. 

For most people who move to this sprawling city with big dreams, it can often be overwhelming to push through the difficulties New York can throw. Moreover, being on a tight budget and not knowing what is to come is hard on even the best of us. His hard work and perseverance paid off, however, after 2 years of struggle when Goodman got a steady flow of work from a commercial agency after landing a small break. Though it would still take time for him to become the household name he is today, it was a welcome event despite the additional challenges it brought. Eventually, after some Broadway roles, Goodman got his ticket to Hollywood and made his debut in the 1983 Eddie Macron’s Run. This was the beginning of a what-would-be prolific career for Goodman.  

Early Hollywood Career

After his debut, Goodman went on to work in Hollywood more productions such as in the 1983 TV film The Face of Rage, and the 1998 Coen brother’s hit The Big LebowskiGoodman even eventually branched out to take on voice-acting roles such as in The Emperor’s New Groove movies, the Monsters, Inc. movies, and the Bee Movie from 2007. However, there is one role that sticks out from the others — both to Hollywood critics and Goodman’s fans — and that is his role on the ABC TV series Roseanne

Family Man On Roseanne

Goodman’s work on Roseanne from 1988-1997 — as well as the 2018 “The Conners” reboot — is what coined him as the classic family man for countless viewers on TV. The sitcom featured both drama and comedy, and John Goodman’s role as Dan Conner secured him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in 1993. In an interview with People back in 1988, Goodman reinforced that he was happy about the character he played in the show, he said: 

“I like Dan Conner. He’s like a lot of guys I know. In the wintertime they don’t work because construction is sporadic. I don’t want to have to stand for the American workingman, but if this guy’s gonna be one, I’d rather have him be semi-intelligent, not a dumb beast who sucks down beer all day.”

With Goodman working with co-star Roseanne Barr, the two seemed to have perfect chemistry, and Goodman’s role in Roseanne surely mirrored some aspects of his real-life at home.

While Goodman has had the fortune of becoming an actor that is not only good at what he does but also has a great ability to resonate with his audience, he has also struggled with alcoholism behind the scenes. The Guardian reports that he found it difficult to cope with his sudden push into fame that came with his role in Roseanne, which had turned him into “tabloid fodder.” 

“It took a while for me to deal with it. It was very unnatural,” he said.

After relocating to New Orleans with his wife Annabeth Hartzog to get away from the spotlight and have a chance at a more normal life, Goodman stated that he further spiraled into alcoholism during the transition. In 2007, he checked himself into rehab and reports that he has stayed sober ever since and that his wife has stayed by his side throughout.

“It was getting to be too much,” he said. “It was 30 years of a disease that was taking its toll on everyone around me and it had got to the point where, every time I did it, it was becoming more and more debilitating. It was life or death. It was time to stop.”

There were times when the alcoholism led to him second-guessing his own talent. When asked if he had suffered from a lack of confidence due to the number of challenges he was facing, he responded, “Not as much as I used to. I had a problem with it and… I drank for a while and towards the end of that, the lines would not come. And it was like a snowball. It just built up a lack of confidence that I could even learn lines. And I was punishing myself more than anything else and even using my energy wrong and it’s just a matter of being relaxed with it, and knowing [the lines] are going to come, have patience. It’s my personality disorder that I want everything right now. I gotta have it now, now! Mr. Now! I mean, you can’t do that [on stage]. It’s a process.” 

Goodman also states that his personality can sometimes also be “depressive.” He describes it as a “chemical thing” in his brain and a feeling of “general dissatisfaction with everything.” He adds, “I don’t want to do anything, nothing seems right. I have to be doing something else, but I don’t want to do anything else.” However, he has also learned to recognize the warning signs and take preventative action, which involves an elliptical machine, a bit of cardio, and some boxing. 

Family Man Behind The Screen

In his role as Dan Conner, Goodman projected a family-man persona that was actually true for him behind the screen at home. In 1989, John Goodman married Anna Beth Hartzog and the two started a family together with their daughter, Molly Evangeline Goodman, being born in 1990. Juggling Hollywood and home was not always easy for Goodman, and he often expressed his desire for privacy.

He told The Guardian:

“I’d had it with show business, publicity, tabloid stuff – I’d just had it. I kind of wanted to get her, my daughter, away from that.”

Even the hit show Roseanne was hard for him; Goodman told David Letterman on The Late Show:

“I’d get off of Roseanne every spring. I’d lose 60 pounds every spring. I’d gain it back and then some, every year. It’s going to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.”

Incredible Transformation

However, it seems that this “ongoing process” for Goodman got easier and easier. According to the New York Post, Goodman lost over 100 pounds after “pushing 400 pounds” back in 2011. His fitness guru, Mackie Shilstone, told the magazine:

“This didn’t happen overnight — it’s been an ongoing process. “There needs to be strategic planning. This time, he really wanted to do it.”

Goodman told People in February 2018 that he had managed to keep his weight off for a long time due to his portion control. His secret was to say “no” when it came to eating unnecessary meals. “But I don’t want to be an example to anybody when the weight comes thundering back on – when I start eating Crisco out of the can with a spoon and a side of confectioners’ sugar,” he jokingly said. However, it seems like he needn’t be worried as he has kept the pounds at bay.

Shilstone told the New York Post that Goodman was dedicated to exercise as well as a “Mediterranean-style eating plan” that included a diet of mainly fish, nuts, olive oil, and vegetables and fruit. It seems that this was the key to Goodman shedding the pounds he had carried his whole life, and what a wonderful transformation did he make!

Isn’t John Goodman’s weight loss journey so inspiring? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to pass this motivating story on to someone who needs a pick-me-up or just loves John Goodman!

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