Buddy Bell rose to prominence through the TLC hit series “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” The show was one of the most-viewed reality-television shows, and has been entertaining viewers for nine seasons. He has his own podcast, “This Podcast Doesn’t Matter,” in which he regularly shares his views, and discusses unpopular opinions about anything under the sun, including family, friends, trending topics on social media, and controversial issues. He has his own share of heartbreak, and has the tendency to fall in love at first sight. Many wondered if he had indeed found the right one for him when he became engaged, or if he would end up with his best friend in the show, as most of the fans wished for.
- 1 Brief background “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
- 2 The cast members for the past 10 seasons
- 3 Get to know Buddy Bell
- 4 Buddy’s journey in “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
- 4.1 Buddy was thought to have suffered from depression
- 4.2 He wanted to die due to cocaine addiction
- 4.3 Who is Buddy Bell in the life of Whitney Thore?
- 4.4 Whitney and Buddy’s friendship was almost ruined
- 4.5 Buddy knew Chase Severino was bad for Whitney
- 4.6 Was Buddy too overprotective towards his best friend?
- 5 Buddy’s dating history and current relationship
Brief background “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
TLC produced a reality-TV series about the life of an on-air producer named Whitney Way Thore. The cable network took an interest in her through a video of her dancing, which was entitled “A Fat Girl Dancing: Talk Dirty to Me.” Whitney’s staff on the 107.5 KZL radio show, “Jared & Katie in the Morning,” uploaded it onto YouTube in January 2014, and it quickly trended and garnered around eight million views. She inspired many people, especially those with plus-sized bodies, to be more confident. The show made its TV debut on 13 January 2015.
The cast members for the past 10 seasons
The reality-TV show revolved around Whitney, who started the show at 380lbs, hence the title “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” Her weight gain was diagnosed as related to a female body disorder referred to as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Her huge, quirky personality made TLC even more interested in chronicling her adventures. For the past nine seasons of the show, almost everyone in her life featured in it as either a regular or recurring member of the cast. The staple characters were Glen and Barbara “Babs” Thore (the parents), Todd Beasley (the eternal dance partner), Ashley Baynes (close friend), Tal Fish (close friend), Heather Sykes (close friend), and Buddy Bell (the best friend and roommate).
Get to know Buddy Bell
Buddy was one of the most prominent faces in “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” He was introduced to viewers during the premiere season as the best friend of Whitney Thore.
His early life and family
Luby Francis “Buddy” Bell III was born on 28 November 1983, in Greensboro, North Carolina USA, to parents Luby Francis Bell Jr. and Edythe Bell. His father, who was originally from Dunn, North Carolina, formerly worked at an English construction company, and his mother, who was originally from New York, was a Data Analyst at United Health Group. His older brother, Philip Bell lived in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Jeanette, and worked as director of engineering at The Ritz-Carlton. His grandfather, a bemedaled US veteran who served during the Korean War, passed away in 2016.
His career before “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
While other reality-TV stars were quite upfront and excited TO provide stories or details about their former lives, Buddy wasn’t one of them. He didn’t like to share much of his private life, and even Whitney didn’t talk about whatever her best friend did before he joined the reality TV show. Viewers theorized that it was probably because his family demanded it from him, his life was uninteresting, or conversely he had many skeletons in his closet.
Past legal woes
However, through the popularity of his reality-TV show, it didn’t take long for his past indiscretions and legal woes to be uncovered by fans. In January 2014, he was reported to have been arrested for assaulting and resisting a police officer of the Raleigh Police Department in North Carolina, at an event in the Memorial Auditorium. It was the time when the rock band, Queens of the Stone Age, performed in the venue. Buddy was also charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and second-degree trespassing, and was given 45 days of probation with a $380 fine.
Buddy’s physical attributes
He is 5’10 tall and weighs around 210lbs. Many people say that he has an uncanny resemblance to American actor, writer and producer John C. Reilly.
John C. Reilly dressed in a bespoke white Swiss cotton shirt with a self bib and navy tuxedo buttons at the 76th Golden Globe Awards. #JohnCReilly #GoldenGlobes #AntoBeverlyHills pic.twitter.com/1QLXkXfHnv
— Anto Shirt (@AntoShirt) January 8, 2019
Buddy’s journey in “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
One of the reasons why he’s a fan favorite in the TV show is because he’s quite spontaneous and expressive. He isn’t afraid to show what he’s feeling, and to speak up if something wasn’t right. Sometimes this would lead to an argument with the people around him, but there were also times when it helped make his relationship with them stronger.
Buddy was thought to have suffered from depression
Halfway through the fifth season of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” loyal viewers were worried because they hadn’t seen Buddy yet. There wasn’t an explanation, and it was as if Buddy had just vanished into thin air. It was only later on during a magazine interview that Whitney explained in detail what happened – Buddy became addicted to cocaine. She said it was quite hard for her to realize that someone, who was not only close to her but also living with her, struggled with something as serious as drug addiction, and when she learned about it, she didn’t know what to do, saying ‘It makes you feel really powerless.’ Apparently, all their friends knew something was off with Buddy, but they didn’t have any idea what it was. Whitney only thought that he was depressed, and needed time to sort out his feelings. At one point, she blamed herself for not seeing the signs, so that she could have been more supportive or helpful.
He wanted to die due to cocaine addiction
Buddy checked in to a rehabilitation facility during his brief absence from the reality-TV show. It took an intervention from his friends and family, especially his mother, for him to be convinced that he needed professional help. He shared his journey with viewers later on, telling them, ‘Truth of the matter is, I just started using cocaine recreationally, and it got out of hand. I was almost about to fall off a cliff.’ By the time he went into rehab, he was already pretty far down. During one of the intervention talks that he had with his mother in 2018, he realized that he was always worried about how his parents would die one day, but he never gave a thought that his mother would worry about his death too. Before the intervention, he didn’t care at all, because at that time he was ready to die. He said he was thankful that his friends and family didn’t give up on him.
Who is Buddy Bell in the life of Whitney Thore?
While Whitney had a few other close friends, Buddy was recognized as ‘the’ best friend. Both of them had each other’s back, especially during the worst times of their lives. Fans of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” loved their relationship, and some of them hoped that they would end up with each other. It was a wish that was fueled even more during the premiere episode of the sixth season of the show, when they shared a kiss. However, it wasn’t a kiss that was brought by romantic love; they wanted to test the waters to see if there were any lingering feelings or chemistry between them, as they’d gone out on a date in the past. It was also around the time when Whitney felt insecure because Buddy found love again while she hadn’t found a life partner yet.
Whitney and her best friend Buddy talking about dating over pizza.
It was probably something that they needed to address, because sometimes there’s that thin line between best friends and lovers. The kiss made them both realize that whatever they had was simply platonic. Even if Whitney had a huge crush on her best friend in the past, she told her other friends that nothing would ever happen between them, saying ‘Sometimes some people have that chemistry that was just there,’ but the kiss, she reiterated, was just plain weird, and that was the only word she could think of that would best describe the experience.
Whitney and Buddy’s friendship was almost ruined
Whitney had a boyfriend named Chase Severino, and it was logical for the guy to be wary of Buddy’s relationship with Whitney at that time; Chase didn’t approve of the kind of closeness the two had. He found it too close for comfort especially when one time he found Buddy sitting on the couch of Whitney’s home, wearing only boxer shorts. Fans of “My Fat Fabulous Life” were divided on this issue – on social media, viewers argued if it was right for Chase to put limitations on Whitney’s interaction with her male friends. Some of them said that an official boyfriend had the right to put up boundaries, especially if they felt uncomfortable with it. When Whitney told Buddy to stop the flirting or hugging, which was a normal occurrence between the two, he was annoyed with her; he couldn’t understand the reason, because it was all harmless. From then on, they became distant from each other.
Buddy knew Chase Severino was bad for Whitney
When Whitney announced her engagement to Chase Severino in 2020, tension was high between her and Buddy. He expressed his disapproval, and thought that it was too soon. Their discussion led to a fight that made her think that he was probably jealous, but realized in the end that it was out of concern for her. Unfortunately, Chase proved to be unfaithful and cheated on her; Whitney was devastated when she learned that her fiancé had impregnated another woman. Buddy immediately went to Whitney to support and help her move on during the post-break-up phase. He said, ‘There have been a lot of tears and talks, but mostly we’re just kickin’ it. I’ve been cooking a lot, and every night we watch a movie or a show. We’ve been laughing a lot.’
Was Buddy too overprotective towards his best friend?
For many years, Buddy had always looked out for Whitney’s welfare, especially when there was a new person in her life. Some viewers believed that he was being too overprotective, and some even thought that he was jealous of any man getting close to his best friend. For instance, Buddy also never approved of Ryan Andreas, who was Whitney’s business partner and Chase’s best friend. Ryan was the reason the two met and eventually fell in love. While Ryan sided with Whitney during the break-up, it didn’t take long for Whitney to cut her business relationship with him; they had major differences in how to run the business during the pandemic anyway. Buddy’s gut instinct about those two men was proven right.
Buddy’s dating history and current relationship
While most fans of the TV show wanted Whitney and Buddy to be romantically involved, this was far from reality. During the entire nine seasons of the show, Buddy dated several women. Here are just some of them:
Heather Sykes – the girlfriend at the beginning of the show
During the first season of the show, Heather Sykes was introduced to the audience not only as one of Whitney’s longtime close friends, but as Buddy’s girlfriend – it was Whitney who set them up together. He continued dating the single mom with two kids for quite some time, and many thought that it was serious, because Heather had already introduced him to her two kids. However, Whitney noticed that Buddy was no longer interested in the relationship; she felt that he was throwing crumbs at Heather, and it was unfair because the girl was so in love with him. In the fourth season, Buddy broke up from her through a text message – no reason was given, but he wrote, ‘It (didn’t) come down to you not making me happy, I’m sorry for letting you down.’ She later understood, because the break-up happened shortly before he checked into rehab. She was hoping that after he became sober, they would get back together.
Chelsea Roarke – the post-rehab girlfriend
After Buddy came out of the rehab center in the sixth season of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” fans and even his friends were totally surprised that he quickly found a new girlfriend – her name was Chelsea Roarke, from Chicago, Illinois. He wasn’t shy in sharing photos of them on social media. For a time, he was fixated on her, as she helped him deal with his newly found sobriety. It seemed pretty serious at that time, since the two planned to live together, and Chelsea decided to move to Greensboro; they even went around the city to look for apartments. During one of Whitney’s business trips, he tagged along and introduced Chelsea to her. Whitney was pretty anxious about the meeting, since everyone told her that it wasn’t a great idea to have a partner right after a rehab bout, and they were right. The relationship did not prosper further and the next thing the fans knew, they’d broken-up. He stopped uploading photos on his Instagram account, and Chelsea deactivated her account.
Brittany Sherman – the brief fling
Buddy had been pretty busy in 2020, and was in and out of love quickly. During the 8th season of the reality-TV show, he surprised everyone when he said that he had a new girlfriend, Brittany Sherman. After dating for two weeks, they wanted to move in together, at which Whitney was incredulous. Buddy introduced Brittany to her during a weekend trip, and Whitney didn’t approve of it at all. Their other friends thought she was jealous about it, but the reality was that she saw so many red flags around the relationship. She told him that everything happened too fast and it might end just as quickly like his previous relationships, and it sure did.
Courtney Renee Marsh – the fiancée
Despite another failed relationship, Buddy didn’t lose hope, and was soon secretly dating. He met Courtney Renee Marsh during the pandemic, and his best friend was amazed that he was able to have a girlfriend amidst the chaos of Covid-19. Whitney liked Courtney after meeting her, and was quite supportive of the relationship. In one of his uploaded photos of himself and Courtney on social media, Whitney left a comment, ‘hot and nice.’ It seemed that this relationship was for keeps. They spent the holidays together, and shared many photos of how they celebrated Christmas. Just before December 2021 ended, Buddy announced that he was engaged – the engagement ring that he gave to Courtney was from a melted heirloom.
As of June 2022, Buddy and Courtney are still together, based on his Instagram posts. He shared that he was in constant gratitude that he could sleep and wake up beside her, whom he professed was the woman of his dreams. He kept working hard to stay sober, especially now that he would soon be married. In his 2 July 2022 Instagram post, he said that he was five years sober, ‘But holy hell it wasn’t always easy. My brain took time getting back in shape.’ He was thankful for having family members and friends who were ‘gentle, but firm in their expectations’ of him.
The 10th season of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” is scheduled to air in August 2022, and fans are now expecting more news about his impending nuptials.