Charlotte Hannah
August 09, 2012

‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ Mom Loses 250 Pounds (PHOTO)

Remember the morbidly obese woman who played Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp’s mother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Her name is Darlene Cates, and you won’t believe what she looks like now.

When 64-year-old Cates filmed Gilbert Grape in 1993, she weighed in at 575 pounds. Now, nearly 20 years later, she’s down to 331 – no easy feat. After the film, which earned DiCaprio an Oscar nod, was released, Cates basically dropped off the face of the planet. Now we know why.

“I refuse to be the joke,” she explained to the Dallas Morning News. “The fat woman joke in any movie and I’ve turned down roles that wanted me to be.”

Well, that and the fact that Cates has basically been housebound for a number of years. She has also had four surgeries and three near-death experiences due to her weight.

After losing 250 pounds, Cates is hoping to lose 100 more. She has already overcome diabetes and is doing physical therapy, but she has a long way to go before she’s out of the woods. Cates also wants to regain the ability to walk so she can leave her house and score some more acting gigs.

“I’m ready to blow this joint,” she said.

Best of luck to her.