The 80’s were a wonderful time full of tiny lycra leotards, sweatbands, and leg warmers. Everyone wanted the trendiest accessories to follow their favorite stars in workout videos. The stars of the fitness era were seen as the biggest celebrities of all, but where are they now?
Richard Simmons – Then
The outrageous Richard Simmons never failed to give people a kick out of his quirky personality. Through sharing his dramatic weight loss story, America fell in love with the curly haired fitness fanatic.
Richard Simmons – Now
Simmons has never veered from his infamous personality and has continued to rock his sparkling outfits throughout the years. However, with the evolving fashion and changing of times, many eyebrows have been raised if Richard’s outfits are still as appropriate as the were back in the 70’s. Nevertheless, the fitness star doesn’t seem to be phased by the comments and continues to be an icon in the exercise industry. Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills, California has had huge success and he has also signed many endorsement deals.
Fabio Lanzoni – Then
Most people know Fabio Lanzoni simply by his first name, Fabio. If you do not know him from his small acting career, you will definitely know him from appearing as the hunk with the long, blonde mane on the cover of many, many romance novels. He even took to, with the help of Eugena Riley and Wendy Corsi Staub, writing romance novels. Since people wanted to look like him, he took advantage of that market and put out an exercise video called Fabio Fitness.
Fabio Lanzoni – Now
Fabio became a cultural icon, and had endorsements from many companies including Versace, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!”, and Old Spice. This has given Fabio the money he needs to feed his collection of dirt bikes, racing bikes, and other motorcycles. Fabio also started a company called Healthy Planet Vitamins, which sells supplements necessary for a healthy body. Fabio also does good by being a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Here and there, he pops up in cameo appearances in movies and shows.
Cathy Lee Crosby – Then
Cathy Lee Crosby was born to a show business family, with her mother being an actress for RKO studios, and her father being a screenwriter. Although she too would join the family business, Cathy Crosby first pursued her first love, which was tennis. She played so well that she competed in Wimbledon. Eventually, she went to the University of Southern California, and graduated with a degree in psychology. That is when her career in media began with some small roles in TV shows and movies.
Cathy Lee Crosby – Now
Cathy Crosby famously portrayed Wonder Woman in a TV movie, but was out-shadowed by Lynda Carter’s eventual portrayal. She was also romantically involved with Joe Theismann, who was a quarterback best known for his time on the Washington Redskins. However, their relationship ended in a bitter fight over money, with Crosby’s side claiming, he “abandoned his promise to financially support her.” She now runs CLC Entertainment Studios, which is a production company that will, “create, produce and distribute quality, one-of-a-kind, life-affirming,” projects.
Jake Steinfeld – Then
Jake Steinfeld was so famous within the fitness world that he was commonly known by his brand name “Body by Jake.” Steinfeld was amongst the greats of the fitness industry and it has been claimed that he single handedly started the trend for personal training. Steinfeld went on to create 24-hour fitness network FitTV which he later sold to News Corp for a profitable amount. This then allowed him to create his passion project, Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
Jake Steinfeld – Now
After creating Major League Lacrosse, Steinfeld found his groove for new businesses and became an entrepreneur. As the Chairman and CEO of Body by Jake Global, Steinfeld utilized his knowledge to develop other brands and products. His latest venture set out to revolutionize the training industry through the invention of FitOrbit 2.0, an online personal training platform offering users a personal plan from trainers and nutritionists at an affordable rate. Steinfeld’s net worth skyrocketed following his success.
Tony Little – Then
Tony Little might be most commonly recognized for his infamous ponytail which often split opinion with some loving it while others despising it. However, the muscle man was also dubbed “America’s Personal Trainer,” being one of the greatest fitness guru’s in the 80’s. His success speaks for itself as he sold more than $4 billion worth of fitness products through infomercials. Little had a knack for selling himself on TV with his chained necklaces and pearly white smile.
Tony Little – Now
Sadly, Little’s tough childhood caught up with him after his father walked out on him and his mother. Tony was able to put it behind him earlier, but his emotions became too much and the burden of his reality hit hard in later years. Little was subjected to bullying by other TV personalities in the fitness world including Fabio, Richard Simmons, and Susan Powter, but Little proved he was as strong on the inside as the outside and didn’t let it bother him.
Jane Fonda – Then
No one can forget The Jane Fonda Workout home video, becoming somewhat of a phenomenon in the 1980’s. The video was in such high demand that many people went out to purchase new VCR’s in order to play the video from the privacy of their homes. After smashing the record and selling more than a million copies worldwide, Fonda went on to release an incredible 23 videos, to the delight of fans. The fitness queen went on to sell an astronomical 17 million copies of her videos worldwide.
Jane Fonda – Now
Nowadays, Jane Fonda is loved and appreciated for being an incredible, award-winning actress. However, Fonda decided to venture back into fitness videos after taking 15 years off. Her lucrative business was exactly the same as previously, only this time the videos were released on DVD instead of VCR. In addition, this time Fonda focused on the older age group, not only to give them a young physique, but also to give them some of the 80’s fitness nostalgia.
Kathy Smith – Then
Through her hugely successful fitness videos, Kathy Smith became incredibly well-known and as a result, her career catapulted in the 80’s. Through selling more than 16 million workout videos worldwide, people began looking to Smith to transform their health and their lives. From this, Smith created a nutrition and exercise program entitled Project: You! Type 2, focusing on the ability to help people cope with diabetes and make the according changes, made in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association.
Kathy Smith – Now
Her successful work didn’t stop in the 80’s as Kathy has been labeled a “titan of the workout industry.” Through her overall brand including fitness apparel, books, equipment, and videos, Smith had grossed an estimated $500 million. In addition, her novel Moving Through Menopause was highly praised and her work was instrumental in landing Smith the position of International Council on Active Aging’s spokesperson. Smith’s website preached “progress, not perfection,” and she continues to be at the top of her game.
Cher – Then
Cher’s music was not the only thing that was admired by many, fans strived to achieve her perfectly proportioned and toned body. Cher penned the 1991 book Forever Fit: The Lifetime Plan for Health, Fitness and Beauty, looking like the epitome of strong woman in 80’s workout gear on the cover. Cher dedicated her life to being fit and healthy and from this, would regularly give out skin-care tips and nutrition ideas. Being one of the biggest stars of her time, people wanted to be just like Cher.
Cher – Now
Cher will always be an icon and consistently wows on every red carpet at every award show. Despite the fact the singing sensation is 71-years-old, she still has a stunning glow and her famous bodysuits cling to every toned part of her incredible physique. Cher has insisted that throughout her life she has always made a special effort to look after herself and her body. Cher has proven that putting in the time and effort seriously pays off.
Heather Locklear – Then
Heather Locklear was one of the true beauties of the 80’s. Not only did she have a stunning smile and a kind personality, she also had a great physique, leading many notable men trying to score a date with the beauty. Her high-profile led Locklear to appear on some of the most recognized TV shows and respected magazine covers. People wanted to be like Heather, and look like her in a leotard, resulting in her workout videos going into high demand.
Heather Locklear – Now
It wasn’t just fans who sung Heather’s praises, it was also her colleagues. Celebrity trainer Garrett Warren of Woodland Hills Athletic Club commented that “Heather is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but also one of the most professional,” he continued “She was always on-time, incredibly committed and very driven when it came to her workouts.” Heather’s commitment and dedication later transferred over to the silver screen and is still loved and worshipped by all of her fans.
Olivia Newton John – Then
Olivia Newton John might be most commonly remembered for her black skin tight leggings in hit musical movie Grease, starring opposite John Travolta as the super cool Danny Zuko, there was something else that Newton John made wavelengths in. Olivia’s “Let’s Get Physical” video had people staring in awe of the blonde bombshell’s impressive physique. The triple threat was just as good as hitting the high notes as she was getting her high kick on point.
Olivia Newton John – Now
Olivia Newton John might not be working up a sweat in 80’s music videos anymore, but she is still considered a star of her time. After four Grammy awards and five number and Billboard Hot 100 singles, selling around 100 million records internationally, as well as being on one of the most successful movie soundtracks of all time, Olivia certainly made her mark. The icon’s success has allowed her to continue to tour today, most recently performing in the United States and Australia.
Jamie Lee Curtis – Then
In 1985, Jamie Lee Curtis starred alongside John Travolta in the popular film Perfect. The movie was based on a feature in Rolling Stone magazine in the 70’s which documented the rise and hype of Los Angeles health clubs, especially for tinseltown singletons. The movie put Lee Curtis on the fitness map and in addition, brought attention and praise to the athletic community in 80’s society. It popularity led Quentin Tarantino to label it “greatly under appreciated.”
Jamie Lee Curtis – Now
Unfortunately, Perfect wasn’t the film that allowed Lee Curtis to assert her place in the Hollywood acting scene. Instead, it was horror films which she found her forte in and following her appearance in Halloween, she went on to star in Halloween II, The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, and Roadgames. As a result, Jamie became known as the “scream queen” to the masses. Outside of film however, she wrote a number of children’s books and showed her compassionate side in her philanthropic work.
John Travolta – Then
This wouldn’t be a list of the best 80’s fitness stars without the inclusion of the infamous John Travolta. Through his boyish charm and shaking hips, Travolta shimmied his way into the fitness world through his famous scenes in Perfect and his character as the bad boy Danny Zuko in Grease. Every woman wanted him and every man wanted to be him, Travolta had all the moves and managed to break a lot of hearts in the process.
John Travolta – Now
Being an icon in his prime years, John Travolta’s talent is still celebrated to this day, despite the fact his ripped body has loosened over time. Travolta’s charm, talent and nostalgia has allowed him to stay at the forefront of Hollywood, appearing in smash hit movies including Pulp Fiction, Swordfish, and Hairspray. In addition, his performances have received a wide array of praise from critics and fans, and he has been nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe.
Cynthia Kereluk – Then
Cynthia Michele Kereluk was more commonly known for being the Canadian exercise guru, having a hard, toned body that was envied by the masses. It wasn’t just Cynthia’s body that attracted attention, it was her beautiful looks. The blonde bombshell landed the Miss Canada 1984 title in addition to a slot in the Miss Universe contest. After her success on TV and in the pageants, she signed a lucrative deal to start her own fitness program entitled Everyday Workout.
Cynthia Kereluk – Now
The career of a fitness guru does not hold much longevity and Cynthia was blessed in this regard that she had other things going for her. Her looks went a long way and after her short-lived fitness career, she went on to star in B-Movies including Overnight, The Pink Chiquitas, and Mark of Cain. In 2007, it was a surprise to many when she and English rocker Paul Rodgers ran off to tie the knot in a private ceremony in British Columbia.
Raquel Welch – Then
Brunette beauty Raquel Welch shot to fame through her book Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program. The novel became a surprise success selling copies around the world. However, Raquel’s career did not stop there and she caught the eyes of Hollywood producers following her role in 60’s movie Fantastic Voyage. Raquel went on to sign a lucrative contract with 20th Century Fox and her gorgeous face and enviable figure were plastered on billboards around the U.S.
Raquel Welch – Now
Welch’s career went from strength to strength and she took on the role of playing strong, female figures in notable films. Welch was instrumental in inducing the shift from weak, powerless women in supporting roles to a strong woman who could carry the world on her shoulders. Raquel went on to gain a Golden Globe Award for her appearance in The Three Musketeers, followed by gaining a nomination for her role in the Right to Die film.
Suzanne Somers – Then
Suzanne Somers made waves back in the 80’s, leading Complex.com to describe her “As the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster, she [Suzanne Somers] is largely responsible for the invention of the infomercial … we would never have had the joys of ShamWow, Shake Weight, and Miss Cleo’s Psychic Friend’s Network if she hadn’t blazed that trail.” However, Somers tried to break away from this stereotype and transformed her role in fitness to expand to other platforms on TV and in movies.
Suzanne Somers – Now
Today, Suzanne Somers continues to be a successful businesswoman, dipping her toes into many different industries. From her her role as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, or as Carol Foster Lambert on Step by Step, Suzanne managed to raise her profile and branched out into being an author, singer, actress, businesswoman and health spokesperson. Her personal brand has managed to earn the formed fitness woman millions of dollars. Nevertheless, Somers has shown her strong willed attitude on many controversial issues including health care.
Tamilee Webb – Then
It was Tamilee Webb’s appearance on the hugely successful series, Buns of Steel and Abs of Steel which propelled Tamilee’s name and profile to stardom. Her gorgeous looks and fit body were admired by both men and women across America. Webb then found herself appearing in plenty of informercials across America, selling fitness merchandise to huge success. A exceptional $10 million worth of sales were made from the videos, leading Tamilee to be employed as as one of the fitness experts that were featured on FitTV.
Tamilee Webb – Now
Throughout the years, Tamilee has managed to stay at the forefront of fitness and health, releasing her newest fitness videos which she titled Abs of Steel 1, Buns of Steel 3, and Arms & Abs of Steel. They were met with high demand and sold in many stores internationally. In addition to her work in fitness, Webb is much more than just a pretty face with a great body. Webb holds a master’s degree in exercise science and is even the CEO of Webb International.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Then
When you think of body building and fitness, no one springs to mind faster than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He began his career in 1965 when he won the Junior Mr. Europe contest, which was quickly followed by winning Mr. Europe in 1966 at the ripe age of 19. His profile boomed and Schwarzenegger appeared on every major health and fitness magazines which transitioned into writing his own monthly column for bodybuilding magazines, Muscle & Fitness and Flex. He went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Now
Nowadays, the Arnold Schwarzenegger who often wore tiny leotards and posing in next to nothing on the cover of fitness magazines is long gone. Schwarzenegger soon became an international superstar appearing in some of the most iconic films of all time including The Terminator franchise and Total Recall. However, in 2003, Schwarzenegger’s career took another turn and he announced his candidacy for the 2003 California recall election for Governor of California. He was later elected the Governor of California.
Lou Ferrigno – Then
Lou Ferrigno’s occupation included everything from fitness trainer and consultant, to actor and professional bodybuilder. The muscle man famously won the IFBB Mr. America title and went on to appear in acclaimed bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron. Lou’s career took a major U-turn, as he started out in life as a sheet metal worker for $10-an-hour but later realized that this minimum wage job was not his calling and took another route. Lucky that he did.
Lou Ferrigno – Now
In addition to his bodybuilding, Ferrigno attempted to play professional football for the Toronto Argonauts, but everything was ruined after his strength broke the legs of another player during a scrimmage. After a failed attempt, Ferrigno turned to acting and was cast in the recognizable film The Incredible Hulk, playing the Hulk himself. As it turned out, acting was the right career path for Ferrigno and following his movie career, he was offered to play himself in guest appearances on CBS sitcom The King of Queens.
Judi Sheppard Missett – Then
It wouldn’t be the 80’s if we didn’t mention the all important Jazzercise. The craze that popped up everywhere was started by Judi Sheppard Missett, who founded the dance and the company. The different form of getting in shape combined dance, strength, and resistance training and was popular with all ages. The fun routines with the great music and overall results that people saw allowed the activity to see huge success. It was no surprise that it did so well.
Judi Sheppard Missett – Now
To this day, Judi swears by exercise and in particular, Jazzercise, keeping her healthy and in shape over the years. Sheppard Missett wrote articles in the Huffington Post in 2016, which noted how she felt at her age and what she thought it was down to. She stated “I feel about 30. Then I look in the mirror, and I don’t see a 30-year-old. What I do see is someone who looks pretty good, is active and healthy, and has a serious spark to her.”
Tonya Harding – Then
Unlike many of the other fitness stars on our list, Tonya Harding was not encouraged to be athletic or fit from a young age. She came from blue-collar parents from Portland, Oregon, but they always encouraged her to be whatever she wanted to be. This is exactly how Tonya found her passion for figure skating and she pushed herself harder and harder until she competed in the 1994 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Competition and Exhibition. Unfortunately for Harding, she couldn’t escape the controversy.
Tonya Harding – Now
When the news came out that champion skater Nancy Kerrigan was prevented for performing in the Winter Olympics after being brutally beaten in her knee a month before the competition, eyebrows were raised at the involvement of Harding. Many rumors began flying that Harding and her ex-husband were the ones responsible for the attack on Kerrigan and following a court case, they were convicted of the crime. From this, Harding’s life spiraled downwards and after hitting rock bottom, she left the public eye.
Nancy Kerrigan – Then
Nancy Kerrigan did not come from a family of great means, but her ambitions of becoming a skater pushed through all socio-economic boundaries thanks to her hardworking father who worked three jobs at the same time to support her. He even drove the Zamboni to pay for her lessons. She was famously physically assaulted in early 1994 by someone hired by rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, but she was able to recover thankfully and win the silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Nancy Kerrigan – Now
Nancy Kerrigan retired in 1995, and married her agent, Jerry Solomon. They have three kids: Matthew, Brian, and Nicole. She has focused on ice shows, rather than competitions, since she retired, like Broadway On Ice. As of 2017, she is trading in her skates for dancing shoes, as a contestant on the 24th season of Dancing With The Stars. Sadly, her father died at age 70 after fighting with Mark, his son. Mark was charged and sentenced to prison.
Chris Evert Lloyd – Then
In the Evert family, the important morals all centered around two things: Catholicism and tennis. This is because Chris’ father, Jimmy, was a professional tennis coach. She and all her siblings became stars of tennis at one level or another, with Chris becoming most famous for ranking as a Women’s Tennis Association number one. In fact, some consider her to be the best female player of all time. Before she had even won a Grand Slam, she already had an endorsement deal with Puritan Fashions.
Chris Evert Lloyd – Now
Chris Evert retired in 1989. She now operates a tennis school in Florida. In her personal life, she had a highly publicized relationship with Jimmy Connors, a top men’s tennis player. However, they broke off their engagement and never married. She married tennis player John Lloyd, where she got her new last name. They divorced in 1987, but in 1988, she married skier Andy Mill. They split, and Chris married Greg Norman, a golfer, in 2008 but their marriage lasted a brief 15 months.
Charlene Prickett – Then
Charlene Prickett, who hailed from Little Rock, Arkansas, produced fitness videos like Charlene and the Bench Boys, Charlene A Major Step, and Serious Curves with Charlene Prickett. They were notable for being great for easing one’s way into an active lifestyle, as the exercises were simple, yet effective, and did not include complex moves. These videos, like Low Impact and High Intensity with Charlene Prickett were especially appreciated by older folks. Some criticized the videos for having too much talking and not enough exercise.
Charlene Prickett – Now
Charlene seems like she was active in making videos up until Charlene Prickett: Strong At Any Age, around 2004. Although her official website is no longer accessible, she has a blog called “Charlene says…” where she last posted in 2012 about her cousin’s app. There is also a post about Jim Parsons, the nerdy star of The Big Bang Theory, who apparently is a big fan of Charlene’s old thirty-minute Lifetime channel show It Figures from the mid-1970s.
Denise Austin – Then
From her big blue eyes, infectious smile and great physique, it is no surprise that Denise Austin was labeled “America’s Fitness Sweetheart” in the 80’s. Fitness was not the only thing that Denise was associate with, and she went onto expand her career as a columnist, author, and former member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Denise’s husband, sports agent and former tennis player Jeff Austin, also helped further her career.
Denise Austin – Now
In recent years, Denise has upheld her dedication to health and fitness. She gave an interview to Shape magazine and stated, “I still have so much fun promoting fitness. It never goes ‘out of style’ or gets old!” Despite her age and minute height, standing at 5’4, Austin has pushed on and is a constant bundle of energy. Her career speaks for itself and in 2014, she released her 100th DVD entitled Yoga Booty Lift, making waves in the fitness industry.