Sad Ajay Rochester has confided to friends she’s ‘eating herself to death’ on a greasy diet of hamburgers, nachos and chips.
With her dream of LA fame and fortune disappearing faster than her savings, the former host of The Biggest Loser admits she’s stacking on weight as she binge-eats cheap comfort foods.
Broke, depressed and increasingly desperate, single mum Ajay has been reduced to scrounging coffee at fast food restaurants, and taking toilet paper from public restrooms because she can’t afford to buy her own.
Humiliatingly, the former TV favourite has told friends she was recently thrown out of one burger joint when the manager discovered she was mixing free tomato ketchup with hot water to make a no-cost ‘soup’.
Last week, an eviction notice was delivered to the rented Beverly Hills apartment where she’s been living with her 10-year-old son, Kai, who was born with Asperger’s syndrome. Her car is due to be repossessed and it was recently reported she’s also being chased by debt collectors for $6636 in unpaid Montessori school fees in Australia.
‘I am terrified Ajay and her son will end up on the streets,’ says a worried friend, who has helped her financially. ‘She’s still trying to keep up appearances, but even that is becoming too hard.
‘Kai is the centre of her universe, and if they could live on love alone, they’d be fine. But she is literally flat broke and existing on fast food, because
you can get a whole meal for $3.
‘She tries to give her son fresh fruit and vegetables, but she has to buy the cheapest junk herself, and that means she’s putting on lots of weight. She told me she’s eating herself to death. She’s coming out in spots and getting sick because of her atrocious diet. She says she feels like Kirstie Alley.’
Ajay, 41, is so depressed that her psychiatrist has recommended medication – which she refused.
‘Generally she tries to keep herself fit and happy with exercise,’ her actor friend tells New Idea. ‘But with no money, no mum, no family and no support network over there, she says it’s like being dropped, Tom Hanks-style,
on a waterless desert island.’
It’s the thin end of the wedge for one-time singer and comedian Ajay, who shot to fame as host of The Biggest Loser on the strength of her enormous weight loss – more than 87kg, or half her body mass, in 10 years.
She quit Australia for LA last year, thinking she had a job co-hosting US television’s Celebrity Fit Club, however, it was not to be. Visa problems resulted in her being dropped from the show only days before filming was due to begin – and she has been struggling ever since, her Sydney-based friend says.
‘She was crushingly disappointed. She had to pack up and come home although she finally got her working visa. With no money, she was just going from house to house, staying with friends, with her son in tow.
‘Of course it wasn’t helping Kai. He needs a stable environment and that breaks Ajay’s heart. They are extremely close. I don’t think a boy could love his mother more and she gives him all the affection she missed out on as a child.’
But despite the hardships, she was not ready to abandon her dream of one day being on Oprah. With her friend’s support – he paid for airfares and 10 days’ accommodation – Ajay and Kai returned to LA four months ago.
‘She’s trying to hang on over there, because the sad truth is she has nothing to come back to here either,’ the friend says. ‘I’m terribly worried about her.
‘She was involved in a car accident in LA last October and she’s still in horrendous pain from her injuries, which is making her even more depressed. Just before Ajay left my place in January, she burst into tears and told me she didn’t know how much more she could take. She knows she has to keep going, because she needs to be there for Kai.
‘The truth is she’d probably be better off giving up and getting a job behind the hamburger counter in the meantime to earn some money.’
By Jenny Brown