"American Idol" judge Randy Jackson was in a decade-long marriage with his beautiful wife, Erika Riker. When he got diagnosed with a hereditary disease, she stood by him through thick and thin. But Riker later filed for divorce.
Singer Randy Jackson was happily married to German native Erika Riker. The couple met on his music video shoot set in early 1995.
Riker was only 25 years old, while the Louisiana native was 39. Despite Jackson weighing over 300 pounds then, Riker fell madly in love with him.
Musician Randy Jackson pictured with his wife Erica during The Fresh Air Fund Salute To American Heroes at Tavern On the Green in New York City, New York. | Source: Getty Images
The lovebirds walked down the aisle just after a few months of dating in December 1995. Riker and Jackson welcomed two children in their marriage. Their daughter Zoe was born in 1996, while their son Jordan arrived in 1998.
Sadly, the couple's life changed when Jackson got diagnosed with diabetes. The record producer delved more into the experience in his autobiography, "Body With Soul: Shed Pounds, End Diabetes, and Transform Your Health."
The "Name That Tune" star revealed that he was vulnerable to the disease because of his weight, including his family's history of diabetes.
Music producer Randy Jackson arriving with Erika Riker and their daughter Zoe at the premiere of the movie "X2: X-Men United" at Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 28, 2003 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
However, it was not until he severely fell ill one fateful week that he discovered he had the disease. Jackson recalled that the night before he was scheduled for surgery in July 2003, he and his wife barely had a good night's sleep.
He remembered being extremely sick for five days straight, feeling dizzy, sweaty, exhausted, and thirsty. Jackson said in his book that he took every remedy he could think of, but nothing worked.
Randy Jackson during Mariah Carey Performs on The Today Show Summer Concert Series at NBC Studios, Rockefeller Center on May 30, 2003 in New York City, New York. | Source: Getty Images
He and Riker drove to the hospital, where he had his blood pressure checked with the doctor ordering a series of blood tests, including one that would determine the sugar level in his blood. Shortly after the results came back, Jackson said the doctor told him it was what he suspected:
"'It’s kind of what I thought,’ my doctor told me. 'You have type 2 diabetes. Your blood sugar is over 500.'"
"To give you some idea of how scary that is, normal blood sugar readings are in the low hundreds. Mine was five times that" Jackson continued to explain.
Randy Jackson during "American Idol" Season 2 Finale - Backstage Creations Talent Retreat - Day Two at Universal Studios in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images
While he stated that it should not have come as a surprise to be diagnosed with the disease, the TV personality shared that he was stunned regardless.
RIKER STOOD BY JACKSON NO MATTER WHAT
Randy Jackson and Erika Riker arriving at the Livin' Large celebration at The Lounge at Astra Pacific Design Centre in Hollywood on February 13, 2003 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Jackson revealed that his wife Riker "was scared" after discovering his diagnosis. But at the same time, she wanted him to get his health in order:
"When I was diagnosed with diabetes, Erika was scared, and of course, she wanted me to get it together."
The bass guitar player admitted that he did not initially make an effort to lose weight following the diagnosis until he realized that he needed to gain control over his health. "I wanted it for me," he said.
Randy Jackson and his family attending the world premiere of "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat" at Universal Studios on November 8, 2003 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Jackson explained that deciding to shed some weight is not a decision that could be easily influenced by others especially loved ones. He emphasized that it was an individual choice to make:
"While it's great if they all support you and will help you in whatever ways they can, dropping pounds is a personal struggle."
Jackson noted that diabetes could be a "potentially life-threatening" diagnosis. In 2003, he underwent gastric bypass surgery, which helped him to shed some weight. After the procedure, the musician maintained a 100-pound weight loss.
Randy Jackson and Erika Riker pictured at Tavern on the Green on Central Park West for the Fresh Air Fund's "Salute to American Heroes." | Source: Getty Images
Jackson later disclosed that after the operation, his "diabetes went into remission," and his "blood sugar returned to normal." The music industry legend candidly spoke about his weight transformation over the years in an interview with "Today" in January 2021:
"Lost a ton of weight, started gaining it back, then went on my own journey to try and discover 'How do I keep it off? What do I do?'"
Jackson mentioned in his book that it was a curse to be diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that one could not get rid of even though it could be managed. However, he said it was a blessing to get a wake-up call.
JACKSON HAS LIVED WITH DIABETES WITH RIKER BESIDE HIM
Randy Jackson and Erika Riker arriving at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre on September 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Jackson divulged that when he worked as a full-time musician, he often ate at late hours. But the dynamics changed when he started filming "American Idol" because he split his time between the studio and the set where they shot the singing competition.
The Hollywood veteran explained what had not changed much was eating at restaurants or events frequently whenever invited to showbiz events:
"When you're in the music business, it's the nature of the beast: Everybody is always wanting to do dinner meetings, or some celebrity is launching a restaurant, and my wife and I are invited to the opening."
Randy Jackson and Erika Riker celebrating Randy's birthday at Tao Las Vegas on June 21, 2008 in Las Vegas. | Source: Getty Images
After going through his own journey of obesity, Jackson decided to be of assistance to the community with the help of Riker.
The pair founded a foundation called Randy and Erika Jackson Family Foundation, which helps children who are obese to get fit, he told Sentinel in January 2009.
Randy Jackson and Erika Riker arriving at the Fresh Air Fund "Salute To American Heroes" gala event at Tavern on the Green on June 3, 2004 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
When asked how he ensured his brood remains healthier in an interview with Essence, Jackson shared that they have a family diet at his house.
He explained that since his father had diabetes, and he got it as well, he was doing everything he could to ensure his kids were healthy.
JACKSON & RIKER DIVORCED AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS OF MARRIAGE
Randy Jackson celebrating new wellness endeavor, Unify Health Labs at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on November 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images
Sadly, after the mother of his kids stood by him for years, showering him with support through his health journey, she filed for divorce from him. People reported in September 2014 that Riker was ending her 18-year marriage to Jackson.
The mom of two cited irreconcilable differences as a result of their divorce. She stated that she was seeking full physical custody and joint legal custody of the couple's son Jordan, who was then 17. The court documents mentioned nothing about their adult daughter, Zoe.
An insider revealed that Jackson and Riker had a plan in place on how they would tackle their separation, but she blindsided him:
"Randy is bummed out. It's not the way he wanted it to happen or end."
Even though Jackson was taken aback by how Riker went about their divorce filing, TMZ reported that they continued to live together and got along well. More than four years later, in 2019, the exes amicably settled their divorce.
TMZ had previously reported that Jackson and Riker had no prenup and that she would receive 50 percent of his $40 million fortune. But when they officially got divorced, details of their settlement remained undisclosed.
After going through a health scare, a weight loss journey, and a divorce, Jackson now looks good in shape following the fighting he went through with his family.
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