Who Was Tammy Slaton’s Late Husband, Caleb Willingham? All About His Life with the '1000-Lb. Sisters' Star

'1000-Lb. Sisters' star Tammy Slaton’s husband, Caleb Willingham, died in July 2023

<p>Tammy Slaton/Instagram</p>

Tammy Slaton/Instagram

Tammy Slaton was married for a little over six months when her husband, Caleb Willingham, died at age 40.

Slaton announced Willingham's death in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE on July 1, 2023.

“I am devastated to share the news of my husband’s passing," Slaton said. "He was my best friend and I loved him dearly. When I met Caleb he became my guardian angel and now he really is watching over me."

Willingham and Slaton met when they were both living at Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center in Gibsonburg, Ohio. They decided to get married at the same location and had a small ceremony with family and friends on Nov. 19, 2022.

Related: All the Ups and Downs of '1000-Lb. Sisters' ' Tammy and Amy Slaton

So, who was Caleb Willingham? Here’s everything to know about Tammy Slaton’s late husband.

He met Slaton in a rehabilitation center in Ohio


When Slaton announced her marriage to Willingham, she revealed the pair met while they were both residing at the Windsor Lane Rehabilitation Center. Slaton had previously said that she was at the center to focus on her weight loss journey.

The facility had a special place in the couple's hearts as they also decided to get married there.

He proposed in October 2022

In a March 2023 clip from 1000-Lb. Sisters, Slaton revealed how surprised she was at Willingham’s proposal and fans saw more details of the sweet moment.

"So today I decided I'd set up a little something for Tammy," Willingham explained in a confessional. "I'm rounding everyone up — our friends, even the staff — and at this point she knows something's up because why is she in the parking lot? She starts shaking a little bit and turning red and doing everything that's absolutely adorable to me about her."

Though the two had only been dating for three weeks, both felt confident they were the ones for each other. When Willingham popped the question, Slaton got up and gave him a hug and kiss before he slid the heart-shaped diamond ring on her finger.

"We're engaged! I know it's only been three weeks but I've never felt this way about anybody," she shared in her confessional. "The last two relationships I was never this happy."

"We're gonna get married, we're gonna have a couple of kids, hopefully. Life's gonna be great," Willingham continued before Slaton said, "Life already is great. But it's basically about to be even better."

They got married in November 2022

<p>Michael Moretti</p>

Michael Moretti

After Willingham proposed in October 2022, the two didn’t take long to make their marriage official. On Nov. 19, 2022, the pair married at the rehabilitation center with 30 of their closest family and friends present.

In a March 2023 clip from the show, Slaton shared some behind-the-scenes details of her wedding. As she walked down the aisle in a white gown and tiara, Willingham began to cry.

“When I saw Caleb at the altar, I was just picturing doves and butterflies all around like God had opened up the clouds and let the sunlight in," Slaton said. "It was magical."

"When I finally see her, my heart explodes," Willingham added.

Their home care nurse and friend Billy officiated the wedding and went through the customary procedure of asking if anyone objected to the union— which Slaton was originally nervous about.

"I don't think anybody's gonna object, but you never know. My family can be surprising," she said. "But no one said anything, thank God."

Slaton said her wedding day with Willingham was "perfect"

A month after their wedding, Slaton exclusively told PEOPLE that she was in honeymoon bliss with Willingham as the two were enjoying their time as a married couple.

"Our wedding day was perfect, there was so much love in the room," Slaton said. "I literally married my best friend."

Later, in a teaser for season 4 of her TLC reality show, Slaton revealed that she’d never been happier.

"I love waking up every morning and seeing his face,” she said. “And seeing his face every night before going to bed."

Willingham died in July 2023

<p>Tammy Slaton/Instagram</p>

Tammy Slaton/Instagram

On July 1, 2023, Slaton confirmed that Willingham had died at age 40. After confirming the news to PEOPLE, Slaton posted a tribute to her late husband on her Instagram, including photos of the two celebrating Christmas together.

“Rip sweet angel you will forever be missed and loved so much thank you Caleb for showing me real love and happiness ❤️❤️,” Slaton captioned her post.

In a statement, TLC also added, "We are deeply saddened to learn of Caleb Willingham’s passing. Our condolences go out to Tammy, his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Tributes to the late reality star poured out in droves, including from family and friends on Facebook. Willingham’s cousin, Amber Brandon Clark, wrote on Facebook: “Yesterday, I lost my cousin, Caleb Willingham. My friend since birth, my buddy, my home skillet, and the sweetest guy. It still doesn't seem real. I already miss him so much, but I know he's at peace now. Rest easy, cuz. I love you, Kay-Kay.”

In November 2023, Slaton shared a photo of Willingham's sunset urn.

“The sunset was our thing,” she wrote alongside the image. “Even though I’m not in love with him, I will always love him and I miss him every day. Things will get better.”

Slaton reflected on her relationship with Willingham shortly after his death

On July 5, 2023, Slaton posted an emotional video to TikTok, sharing some of her grief and addressing the rumors that she and Willingham were having marital struggles before his death.

"I hate getting on here and letting everybody see me like this," she said at the beginning of the video as tears streamed down her face.

“I’m in the stages of grief. Yeah, we were having problems, but I loved that man and I still do,” she continued. "I miss him like crazy but I wanted to thank everybody for your comments."

She added that she didn’t plan to “get into the details” of their issues since it was “really personal,” but thanked fans for their support and kindness as she dealt with his passing.

“I’m aware he’s looking down on me. I know he’s not in pain anymore. I know he’s in a better place,” she said. ”I love you all from the bottom of my heart," she told her fans. "Believe it or not, he really loved you all, too.”

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