— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has both joked about his weight and said that it's a real concern, secretly underwent a weight-loss surgery in February that experts say could help him if he gets exercise and watches what he eats.
The father of four agreed to the surgery, in which a band was placed around his stomach to restrict the amount of food he can eat, after turning 50 in September, spokesman Michael Drewniak confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday. Christie told The New York Post, which first reported the surgery, that he said he wasn't motivated by thoughts of running for president.
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he told the newspaper. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
Christie has never disclosed his weight, but it's been an issue throughout his political career. Christie said four years ago that then-Gov. Jon Corzine was bringing it up in a campaign commercial that accused Christie of "throwing his weight around" to get out of traffic tickets.
Comics including Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman also have made fun of it. In interviews with Letterman, Orpah Winfrey, Barbara Walters and others, Christie has both joked about the issue and said solemnly that he's trying to shed pounds.
During a February appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman," the governor pulled out a doughnut and said his girth was "fair game" for comedians.
Over his appearances the next few days, he was asked repeatedly about his weight. At one point, he said he had a plan for shedding some pounds: "Whether it's successful or not," he said, "you'll all be able to notice."