Tammy Slaton suffered the terrible loss of her husband Caleb Willingham in June 2023. He was 40 years old. The 1000-Lb. Sisters star mourned his loss with a statement and spoke about how heartbroken she was by his passing on social media. The fifth season of the TLC show chronicles Caleb and Tammy’s love story, after their marriage in a rehab facility, including his tragic passing.
About six months after Caleb’s passing, look back on the couple’s love story here.
Tammy and Caleb Meet at an Ohio Rehabilitation Center
Tammy met the man she’d marry in 2022, when they were both enrolled in the same rehab center in Ohio to receive treatment for obesity. There have been two unverified Instagram accounts associated with Caleb, where he shared romantic photos from throughout their relationship, including posts where he gushed about Tammy. “She’s the wade to my water,” he wrote in one. “She’s the pop to my eyes,” he wrote in another.
Caleb Proposes to Tammy
After a few months together, Caleb popped the question to Tammy, while they were both still in the rehab facility in October 2022.
They Get Married
Just one month after getting engaged, the pair had their wedding ceremony at the Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center in Gibsonburg, Ohio in November 2022. “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 said of their wedding to People. “It was magical. Our wedding day was perfect, there was so much love in the room. I literally married my best friend.”
When reflecting on their wedding, Caleb showed that he couldn’t wait to see his bride on her way to the alter, and he said that seeing Tammy his heart would “explode.”
Tammy Leaves the Rehab Center
About two months after they tied the knot, Tammy was finally able to leave the rehab facility. In a December 2023 episode of 1000-Lb. Sisters, Tammy opened up about how “happy” she was that she was with Caleb. After getting married, the two of them were allowed to stay in the same room at rehab, but they weren’t able to share the same bed. Tammy admitted that she didn’t want to leave rehab without her husband. “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,” she told him.
At another moment, Caleb admitted that he was scared that he wouldn’t see Tammy again after she left the facility. “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 during an interview.
Caleb opened up about how nervous he was to continue treatment without his wife by his side. “We’ve got plans. We want a family. We want to travel. It’s kinda hard to do that when you’re a few hundred miles away,” he said.
Caleb Promises to Fight for Tammy
In an early January 2024 episode, Caleb admitted to struggling with food addiction, and he said that he wanted to continue to fight for Tammy, after she left rehab. Despite vowing to “fight” for her, he also admitted that he was struggling since she left. “On one hand, I’ve lost 12.5 pounds. But in my head and in my heart, I know that I should be below 500. It’s all lack of discipline on my part,” he said. “I wanna be the reason that things help get fixed and easier for you. And I haven’t done that. And I feel like sh*t for it. It’s easier to jump in and just eat a bunch of junk than to talk to you.”
Tammy was very open about how scared she was for her husband and how she wanted him to get better. ““I am worried about Caleb. I think he’ll let depression set in before he hits rock bottom again and gets determined to come home. I feel guilty, sad. I’m numb. I don’t know how to feel… Overwhelmed, stressed out, just everything,” she said.
They Reportedly Split
Before Caleb’s passing, a source close to Tammy claimed that they had split up in May 2023. They claimed that she was planning on filing for divorce after he didn’t stick to his diet, in a report to The Sun. “They split up because Caleb hasn’t been following his diet in rehab,” they said. “He has gained 30 lbs and hasn’t been working his program. They got into a big fight over it and he told her he wanted a divorce, but then he tried to backtrack.” After their reported split, Caleb made a post on social media, begging his wife to come back to him.
Caleb Dies at 40
Caleb died at 40 on June 30, 2023. Tammy confirmed his death in a statement to People. “He was my best friend and I loved him dearly,” she said. “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.”
Tammy Speaks Out After His Death
Shortly after the news of Caleb’s death came out, Tammy took to social media to grieve her late husband. She cried in a TikTok video, where she mourned his death. She spoke about the issues the two of them were having but said she still loved him. “I still do. I miss him like crazy,” she said. “I know he’s looking down on me and he’s not in pain anymore. I know he’s in a better place. Again, thank you all and I love you from the bottom of my heart. Believe it or not, he really loved you all, too.”