Tammy Slaton, 37, experienced tragedy when her husband, Caleb Willingham, died at the age of 40 on June 30. The couple met at weight loss rehab center and their relationship was documented on 1000-Lb Sisters on TLC. Shortly after his death, Tammy released a statement after her husband’s passing and said she was “devastated” over his death.
Caleb is shown on the fifth season of the show, which premiered on TLC on December 12, 2023. Tammy took to TikTok to share a video of herself counting down the days to the premiere, which can be seen below. In a preview of the upcoming episodes from PEOPLE, it shows Tammy finally going home from spending 14 months at Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center in Gibsonburg, Ohio. Another clip from Us Weekly also shows Tammy saying a tearful goodbye to Caleb, who reads her a poem, in the premiere.
Keep reading to learn about Caleb, his relationship with Tammy, and his tragic death.
What Happened to Caleb Willingham?
Caleb died from unknown causes on June 30, 2023. Tammy confirmed her husband’s passing in a heartbreaking statement to People.
“I am devastated to share the news of my husband’s passing,” the reality star said on July 1. “He was my best friend and I loved him dearly. When I met Caleb he became my guardian angel and now he really is watching over me. Our families appreciate everyone’s sympathy and ask that you respect our privacy at this time.”
TLC also addressed Caleb’s death in a statement. “We are deeply saddened to learn of Caleb Willingham’s passing. Our condolences go out to Tammy, his family and friends at this difficult time,” the network said.
Tammy Shared How She Found Out About His Death
Tammy recalled the moment she learned about Caleb’s death in an interview with People, published on December 13, 2023. “I got a text message from his friend up there and the text said, ‘Caleb’s not doing good. They’re in there working on him.’ 20 minutes later he texted me back and said he was gone,” she said.
Since his passing, Tammy revealed that he had his ashes made into jewelry, and she feels closer to him by wearing it. “Knowing that he’s with me, it’s helping me pass the day. I find myself grabbing my necklace and holding it a lot. When I take off my jewelry, I feel like it’s weird, separation anxiety. I start panicking,” she told the outlet.
What Was Caleb Willingham’s Job?
It’s unclear what Caleb did for work. Before the fifth season, he appeared on only one episode of 1000-Lb Sisters. The episode aired in March 2023 and documented his and Tammy’s wedding that took place in November 2022.
How Long Were Caleb Willingham and Tammy Slaton Married?
After meeting at the Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center in 2022, Tammy and Caleb got engaged in October and were married by November. They said “I do” at the same rehab center in Gibsonburg, Ohio where they met.
“When I saw Caleb at the altar, I was just picturing doves and butterflies all around like God had opened up the clouds and let the sunlight in,” Tammy told People at the time. “It was magical. Our wedding day was perfect, there was so much love in the room. I literally married my best friend.”
After five months of marriage, The Sun reported that Tammy was in the process of filing for divorce from Caleb. Allegedly, the couple broke up because of Caleb’s weight gain, while Tammy was making progress in losing weight. “He has gained 30 lbs and hasn’t been working his program,” a source close to Tammy told The Sun. “They got into a big fight over it and he told her he wanted a divorce, but then he tried to backtrack.”
It’s unclear if Tammy and Caleb were officially broken up at the time of his death.
In the season 5 premiere, Caleb opened up about how he wasn’t yet ready to leave the facility, and he admitted to being afraid of losing Tammy. “The last time I’m going to see Tammy in this room. The last time I hold my wife’s hand, that I’ll kiss her. In my head, all that I keep saying is, ‘Tammy’s gonna leave you. Tammy doesn’t think that you’re enough,’” he said.
At one point, Tammy spoke about how she didn’t want to leave without Caleb in the season premiere. “I can’t imagine walking out of this place without my husband,” she said. “I let the world pass me by, biggest part of my life, because of my weight. It’s just I’m not mentally prepared to leave you.”