Louie from Remember the Titans is unrecognizably gorgeous now

Louie from Remember the Titans is unrecognizably gorgeous now

10/08/2020

Ethan Suplee has been acting since he was a kid, originally landing a role on Boy Meets World back in 1994, before translating that success into several take-notice turns in the likes of Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (the first of several collaborations with the beloved indie filmmaker); American History X, opposite Edward Norton; and The Wolf of Wall Street. TV proved itself to be incredibly fruitful for the California native, particularly with his role on My Name Is Earl, alongside Jason Lee.

Suplee’s fluctuating weight defined many of his earlier roles, especially in 2000’s Remember the Titans, where he was at his heaviest playing offensive lineman Louie Lastik. While appearing on fellow actor Joey Diaz’s podcast, The Church of What Is Happening Now, Suplee admitted he weighed around 500 pounds at the time. Over the subsequent two decades, the Mallrats star gradually made his health a priority and emerged looking like a completely different person.  

Ethan Suplee was a big kid

As Today reports, during the debut episode of his podcast, American Glutton, Suplee admitted to having a difficult relationship with food since he was about 5 years old. His grandparents started limiting the food they were giving him, concerned about his size, but regardless, by the age of 10, he topped out at more than 200 pounds. Suplee’s father put him on a strict diet. and, although his mother just as quickly took him off it, the damage was done. Years of extreme weight gain followed.  

“I had this idea now that food was something that people didn’t want me to have,” he explained of his family’s overreaction to his eating habits. “So if I wanted to have more, I needed to do it privately, and it became something that I was withholding from people.” This led to years of binge-eating in secret, away from judgmental eyes.

Early acting roles were limited to "fat kid" stuff

As Suplee told People, when he began acting at 16 years old, every part the teenager was being offered was exclusively “roles for fat kids.” He was disheartened, desiring bigger challenges as a performer and not wanting to be pigeon-holed. “I never wanted to do something where I was the fat guy who was the butt of a fat guy joke,” Suplee explained. “I told my agents to look for roles outside the box that could work for me.”

Unfortunately, even when he did get put up for stuff where his size wasn’t the focus, “There were instances where somebody would want to add a line about me being fat and I would just say, ‘Hey, no, we’re not doing that.'” He wasn’t comfortable with his size, however, and knew that getting serious about his health was the best course of action for both himself and his career.

Ethan Suplee has tried every diet there is

Between 2002 and 2005, Suplee dropped from 530 lbs to around 290, but he didn’t stay there for long, admitting to People that he “got lazy and relaxed.” After My Name Is Earl ended in 2009, Suplee decided to lose weight again, but he went at it too forcefully this time. As he told Diaz, the actor has tried every diet you can imagine: the blood-type diet, South Beach, Atkins, keto, liquid, everything. At one point, he dropped over 200 pounds, but, as Suplee acknowledges (via E! News), he was cycling “100-miles a day, six days a week” and soon became “skin and bones.”

Annoyingly, the Remember the Titans star found he couldn’t get work when he was skinnier either, with Diaz admitting, “We were all used to you at your My Name Is Earl weight or more.” He started to increase his calories once more. “I was doing a lot of starvation-type diets and not eating enough at all. So I gained weight again,” the actor explained to People. Overall, Suplee estimates he’s gained and lost around 1,000 pounds over a 20-year period.

These days, it's all about balance for Ethan Suplee

In fact, it was a role on Hulu’s Chance, opposite Hugh Laurie, that encouraged Suplee to finally get healthy because producers initially thought he was too small. As the actor revealed to Men’s Health, “I found that I really enjoyed lifting weights and I could get my workout in an hour, and so that wasn’t like a huge part of my day.” Crucially, he sorted out his diet too, realizing everything he knew about nutrition was wrong. Suplee switched to a low-fat diet, understanding the science behind it and keeping track of his lean body fat percentage accordingly.

He aims to get to 10 percent body fat, then pack as much as muscle on as possible, describing it as a “crazy, kind of science-y fun project.” Although he made his career playing the “fat guy,” Suplee would rather never act again than go back to being unhealthy. He advised, “The most important thing I would want anyone to take away is that for me, the biggest change was understanding how food works. And the more I feel that I understand, scientifically, the more power I have over it.”

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