Tracy Anderson

Madge dropped her trainer, Tracy Anderson, amid claims of money woes and a dubious résumé. Jacob Bernstein on how she kept Gwyneth and picked up Shakira despite her controversial past.

Casey Rodgers / AP Photo

Casey Rodgers / AP Photo

Dancer Turned Trainer

Raised in Noblesville, Indiana, Tracy Anderson was surrounded by dance from a young age: Her mother, a ballerina, owned a dance studio in her hometown. She was a varsity cheerleader in high school and enrolled in the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City after graduation. Faced with scrutiny about her weight, she began experimenting with creating the perfect exercise regimen.

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Illusion of Wealth

After Gwyneth Paltrow started working out with Anderson, the actress recommended the trainer to her friend Madonna. Anderson and her team flew to meet the singer in London, staying at the pricey Goring hotel for 10 nights at $1,500 a night to impress her potential client. “It was a lifestyle that we couldn’t afford,” Anderson’s business associate Glynn Barber told the Indianapolis Monthly. “Tracy has always wanted to be a star. That’s pretty clear now.”

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Special Favors

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s representatives first got in touch with Anderson in October 2006, when they inquired about the trainer’s program and Hybrid Body Reformer machine, according to Indianapolis Monthly. Anderson had employees drive a machine to New York City and lug it up 62 flights of stairs for Paltrow, where they put the thing together in the star’s room at the ritzy Waldorf-Astoria.


Looking Young

Anderson’s goal with Madonna was to “keep her body looking like it’s 20 years old,” she told the Guardian in January. “Because you don’t have to have saggy arms, or poor skin tone in your 50s, or not have cute hips. It just doesn’t have to happen. [A superfit body] should start being your standard when you’re young—and after that, why should you ever want less? Plus, it’s good for your body to train all the time, it keeps you young. Who wants to get old? That is part of my inspiration and it is going to end up helping so many other people.”

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In early October, Anderson lost her most famous client: Madonna. The singer “had grown tired of the baggage that Tracy always seemed to be carrying with her,” a source told the New York Post’s Page Six. “Tracy had grown to be more of a distraction than anything else.” The news came only a month after the head of Madge’s Raising Malawi charity, Philippe van den Bossche, resigned to take up house with Anderson in New York. When reached for comment, Anderson’s publicist told the paper: “This is not true. After working together for three years, Tracy and Madonna mutually parted ways because Tracy wanted to look after her son.”

Jennifer Graylock / AP Photo

Empowering Women

Anderson says her mission is to help women like Paltrow feel their best: “To love their bodies, to absolutely not have cellulite, to not spend their money on gimmicks, to not have their emotions messed with,” she told the Telegraph in June. “To not think they can’t lose the baby weight—no way! Don’t even go down that miserable road! My method is the best girlfriend you could ever have!”

Peter Kramer / AP Photo


This summer, Anderson launched her own gym in Tribeca, where she charges $900 a month for personal training. She told the Telegraph that it’s “a huge thing because this is the first studio to provide the level of workouts that Madonna and Gwyneth do. Every single person has a customized program every 10 days. It’s the absolutely Bentley of what my method is.”