Tag Archives: Anna Kournikova

Alison Sweeney Defends Anna Kournikova

Alison Sweeney

News of Anna Kournikova leaving “The Biggest Loser” after one season was accompanied by anonymous quotes that the tennis champ clashed with show staff and some of the contestants, and calling her “difficult” and “a nightmare.”   “Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney is quick to leap to her defense, telling us, “I didn’t have that experience.  I got to know her a little bit, and I thought she was a great addition.  She’s so sweet.”

Sweeney reports that they’re already six weeks into shooting Season 13 of “Biggest Loser” and that Kournikova hasn’t been replaced.  Instead, the trainer she calls a “super talented competitor” — show stalwart Bob Harper — is “going head to head in the competition” with plucky newcomer, trainer to the stars Dolvett Quince.

Tonight’s (12/6) “Biggest Loser” episode includes the Season 12 marathon, giving one previously-ousted contestant a chance to vie for the championship on next Tuesday’s (12/13) live season finale.  “‘The Biggest Loser’ finale is such an exciting show, such a fun show, such a celebration of what the show is all about and what people have achieved,” says Alison, who keeps those specials moving along at a quick clip. 

MEANWHILE:  As if handling the demands of two different “Biggest Loser” seasons at once wasn’t enough, there’s also her day job.  Sweeney, who has played the role of much-married bad girl Sami Brady on “Days of Our Lives” since her teens, admits it’s feeling pretty lonely lately, with nearly all the other daytime dramas either being retired or already gone.

“I miss the other soaps.  It’s really hard to say goodbye.  I know they have a lot of followers,” she says.  “I just hope we can keep ‘Days of Our Lives’ on the up and up and hold onto the fans.  There are so many different issues at play with the ratings.  You know how complicated daytime is.”

With her popular “The Mommy Diet” book (it comes out in paperback Dec. 13) and her new TV Guide Network “Hollywood Moms’ Club” show that she’s producing, one might wonder whether she’s getting ready for “Days” to come to an end.  But Sweeney tends to always have a lot of irons in the fire.

“I’m always looking for a new challenges, new fun things to do.  I hope that ‘Days’ goes on for another 46 years.  I’ve been so blessed to do the show,” she says.

She and her husband, highway patrolman David Sanov, have a six-year-old son and a daughter who turns three in January.  Asked whether things have gotten any easier as the children have gotten bigger, she answers, “I think the mommy guilt starts to ease off a little bit once they’re in school and have their own friends and their own plans.  I’m happy now that they’re a little older, they can come with me when I travel.”   

Are they likely to go into show business or law enforcement?  She laughs.  “My husband and I just hope they follow their dreams, like we did.”

Trainer Bob Harper Feeling ‘Possessed’ By Jillian Michaels These Days

Bob Harper NBC photo

Trainer Bob Harper tells us that although Jillian Michaels left “The Biggest Loser” after last season, her spirit lives on, in a way.  “I’ve gotten possessed by Jillian a lot,” he jokingly admits.  “You’re going to see me in a different way, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, getting people to stand on their own two feet.”

 The beloved Bob, who has been known to shed a tear and share a hug with an emotional contestant every few episodes, has never been easy on his subjects.  But he’s even tougher these days, to hear him tell it.  He says, “Now that Jillian has moved on and is working with ‘The Doctors,” I’m getting a chance to spread my wings in my own way.  I’ve got to do what I can for these people, as passionately as possible.” 

Anna Kournikova NBC photo by Chris Haston

According to Bob, his new, high-profile fellow trainer — tennis star Anna Kournikova — is bringing plenty of passion to the show.  “She’s a sweet woman and a really strong competitor,” he says.  However, he points out that she is brand-new to the game of helping morbidly obese people get into shape.  “It’s going to be a real struggle, I think, because it’s such a specific job.  You can come in with all the heart you want, but you also have to know what to do.”  Trainer Dolvett Quince is also newly aboard “The Biggest Loser,” which launches its Season 12 on Sept. 20.

His friendship with Jillian continues.  “Of course!” he says.  “We talk all the time.  I’m about to leave for dinner with her right now.”