When someone's been on television for over a decade, it’s easy for fans to pick up on changes to their appearance. So naturally, Frank Fritz’s significant weight loss in between American Pickers’ eighth and ninth seasons elicited a strong reaction from History Channel viewers.
Sadly, the Iowa native’s healthier physique is partly due to his ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that he’s been suffering from for over 30 years.
'American Pickers' star Frank Fritz’s most noticeable weight loss occurred in 2013.
The 54-year-old addressed rumors surrounding his slimmer figure in a Facebook post published a couple days before the Season 9 finale. "A lot of you have been wondering about my health and my weight loss," he wrote on Aug. 17, 2013. "I have an illness called Crohn’s [disease], which at times is difficult to deal with."
Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stool, and reduced appetite. "I started losing weight and ran with it!" Frank shared at the time, adding that he had felt much better lately. "I have been exercising and eating good… Thanks for all of your kind words of concern! I couldn't do what I do without all of you!"
In a 2011 interview with the Quad-City Times, Frank said his "terrible" Crohn’s disease not only affects him but also his family members and co-workers. Luckily, he’s become a master at dealing with his condition on the road.
The antique dealer travels across the country in a recreational vehicle equipped with portable facilities so that he never has to worry about finding a bathroom in the rural locales he and co-star Mike Wolfe frequent.
"Crohn’s and travel is all about management," Frank explained in a 2012 chat with the National Enquirer. "My entire crew knows about my Crohn’s. They understand it when I need a break. I mean… if I have to go, I have to go!"
Frank hopes to inspire those in the Crohn’s community who feel limited by their disease. "I’m trying to show people that regardless of the adversities... and the social situations, the awkwardness, accidents, that you can live a productive life," he told the Quad-City Times.
Frank revealed that he also suffers from anxiety.
The reality star publicly disclosed a prescription for Xanax after being charged with an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) in 2017. Along with the anti-anxiety drug, THC was detected in the motorbike junkie’s system at the time.
Frank told the Quad-City Times that having people watch his every move due to his celebrity status led him to seek medication. As for the THC, "I still had [it] from the three weeks I'd spent in Colorado. When in Rome," he stated before insisting, "I'm not a big drug user. I don't have time for that."
The collector ultimately pled guilty to the OWI charge, but claimed the media blew the incident out of proportion. "They made me sound like Public Enemy Number One," he shared of local TV reports. "They said I was drunk and weaving all over the road. I blew a point zero, zero, zero on alcohol. There was none in my system."
New episodes of American Pickers air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on the History Channel.