Tamy Lyn Murrell, the latest subject of My 600-lb Life, no longer loves her husband, and the feeling is mutual. But at the start of the TLC reality show's March 7 installment, they were still married and living together because Tamy couldn't fend for herself like she did in her youth.
As the youngest child in her family by 11 years, Tamy spent many of her childhood years as an only child, in effect. Though she was a "pretty normal size" as a young girl, those formative years weren't easy for her, especially because peers would make fun of her stutter. Then, when she was 8, she watched her father collapse to the kitchen floor and die of a heart attack.
"After my father passed away, my life was never the same," she said in her episode. "My mom just fell apart. She had a hard time getting out of bed, and she went into a deep depression. It was like I lost my mom, too."
With her mother in such dire straits, Tamy took over the grocery shopping — buying and eating anything she desired, with no supervision or even company. "I could just eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and it was my friend," she said. "It was my parent, my friend, my loved one."
She had hit 140 pounds by age 14 and was "well over" 175 pounds by age 16, the same year she dropped out of school. She started working as a janitor, and when she was 18, she fell in love with a fellow janitor named James. "I tend to like bigger girls, so that's what attracted me to Tamy," James told the TLC cameras. "She was a big girl. It was kind of love at first sight."
A month into their relationship, Tamy became pregnant. "For the first time in my whole life things seemed good, but that didn't last long," the Kentucky resident said.
Sometime between then and now, these spouses fell out of love. But they still stayed married, as James was the only one who would take care of her and their teenaged son.
Tamy’s health scare leaves her family wondering if she is ready to take on more by herself. Watch this sneak peek from tonight's new episode of # My600lbLife: https://t.co/H7mUftxPqc pic.twitter.com/34DndiAeLO— TLC Network (@TLC) March 7, 2018
Atop that emotional pain, Tamy also endured physical pain on account of her 591 pounds. "Living in my body, it's miserable," the 45-year-old said. "My belly has gotten to the point where it's got a mind of its own, and it's so painful. I feel like I'm not living. I'm just existing. It's horrible."
With a healthier diet, a gastric sleeve operation, and the expertise of Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, Tamy eventually lost 246 pounds over the course of the episode. But her marriage to James deteriorated even further. Though he helped move Tamy and their son to Texas for the surgery, James also started dating another woman during Tamy's weight loss and moved out. Maybe that's for the best, though. This woman deserves a fresh start in more ways than one.