Jillian Michaels opens up about why she left 'Biggest Loser'

Trainer Jillian Michaels in New York on Jan. Trainer Jillian Michaels in New York on Jan. 6, 2012. Photo Credit: AP / Carlo Allegri

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Personal trainer Jillian Michaels, who gave no explanation last month when NBC announced she was leaving "The Biggest Loser," says now that the weight-loss competition has been misrepresenting her training style.

"I don't want fans to think I feel like I'm too big for the show or that I'm seeking greener pastures. I'm so grateful to the show and so sad to leave," she told People magazine. But, she adds, she and the producers have had "some fundamental differences that have existed for a while."

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The largest of these, says Michaels, 40, is that she was unfairly portrayed as overly harsh.

"In the beginning of the show it was tough love," she told People. "You saw the tough, and you saw the love." But more recent episodes were edited to spotlight the harsher portions of her training, she says. "You saw none of the bonds that I build with my clients."

Her televised persona even began to affect family life with her partner, Heidi Rhoades, and their children, daughter Lukensia, 4, and son Phoenix, 2. One TV commentator wondered "about what kind of mom I must be," Michaels says. When she picked up her daughter from camp once, she adds, someone had told the girl, "I know who your mom is -- she's a cheater. I saw it on TV" -- a reference to Michaels allowing her "Biggest Loser" team to take caffeine pills, which the trainer says was justified.

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