Freddie Combs sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" on "X Factor." (Ray Mickshaw/FOX)
A wheelchair-bound 540-pound man named Freddie Combs wowed the judges on “The X Factor” on Thursday night (and even brought Britney Spears to tears) with his rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” but it’s not the first time he’s performed for a national audience. In 2010, Combs, a self-proclaimed minister, and his equally-overweight wife Kay, starred in their own (albeit short-lived) TLC reality series, “Ton of Love.”
Although Freddie, 41, presented himself as a loving husband on “X Factor” and even dedicated his song to his wife, “Ton of Love” depicted an impatient, lazy man who yelled for his wife to wait on him hand and foot. “I began needing help taking care of myself two weeks into our marriage,” Freddie says in an online clip of the show. He’s then shown sitting in front of a Styrofoam box of takeout food asking Kay for a spoon. When she hands him one, he holds it up along with a fork and complains, “These are not the same weight.”
Over a 90-second sneak peek, bed-ridden Freddie orders Kay around non-stop. Some highlights: “Kill that fly!” “Give me a pillow!” “Chop Chop woman, come on!” (while snapping his fingers), “Get down here!” – and not once, does he say please. “When he calls my name, he expects me [to come] like three seconds later,” says Kay in the clip. Adds Freddie with a laugh, “I ain’t gonna lie, I like having women waiting on me.”
On Thursday’s episode of “X Factor,” the Tennessee native told Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Spears, and L.A. Reid that he had once weighed nearly 1,000 pounds, but lost over 400 pounds of it with a healthy diet and light exercise. “I don’t think you deserve to be stuck in that chair,” Cowell told Freddie during his critique. “But it has to come from you. I kind of felt if we go forward, we’re going to have to make sort of deal with each other that we’re both going to work hard to sort this out. Because I’ll back you if you back yourself.” After Freddie agreed to Cowell’s challenge, all four judges gave him a “yes” to go on to the next round of the competition.
Backstage, a tearful Freddie told his wife before she wheeled him out of the arena, “I have a lot of work cut out for me when I get home. [Next time] I’m going to stand and sing that song.”
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