Go Away With … George Foreman

George Foreman x 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
August 23, 2016

George Foreman has many impressive achievements on his resume — world heavyweight boxing champion, gold medalist at the 1968 Olympic Games and entrepreneur (more than 100 million units of his George Foreman grills have sold worldwide). Now the fan favorite is starring in NBC’s new reality series, “Better Late Than Never,” which is a remake of the Korean series, “Grandpas Over Flowers.” Along with Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and Jeff Dye, Foreman travels the world in the fish-out-of-water concept.

“In many ways, I think that I needed this trip more than the show needed me,” says Foreman, 67. “I’d never traveled this way before and I made four new, really good close friends. When I returned home, I felt lost for a while, because they weren’t around all the time. We really are brothers.”

Fans may follow Foreman on Instagram and Twitter.

Q. I’ve heard that, though you travel a lot, you don’t take a lot of vacations.

A. This is true. The strange thing about doing this show is that before it, I’d never taken a really nice, long vacation. I think it’s the same for the other guys. We all worked our whole lives. When they told me I would be going away for an entire month, I didn’t think I could do it. I was afraid about what would happen while I was gone. But taking that time off changed my whole life. I really got to live. I thought I’d traveled before, but compared to this trip, it felt like I’d never been out of the U.S., even though I had. This felt like I had traveled overseas for the first time and I loved it.

Q. What are some of your memories of the trip?

A. We went to so many wonderful places — Korea, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. Hong Kong was a delight. Looking out and seeing all the boats was very nice. But Korea really stands out. It was my first trip there and I was able to do things I’d never done before. It was such an intriguing place. The skyline was amazing and my eyes will never forget seeing that sight. Then there’s the food. I’ll be honest — not all of the countries we visited made me feel at home when I sat down to eat. But Korea had all this tasty grilling. It tasted different from American barbecue, obviously. But it was delicious food that made you feel like you were at home. I don’t know if I’m making any sense, but it was comforting to eat in Korea.

Q. Do you adapt to foreign food well?

A. I love food. When I was a boxer, I always had to be so careful of what I ate and I sometimes still have that mentality. When we traveled for the show, I went with the mindset that I was going to eat everything and drink the local water and not worry about it. And you know what, Jae? I didn’t get sick. I never had so much as a stomachache. I almost expected that I would, but I never did. It was wonderful. I ate such good food. I still think about that Korean barbecue and get hungry. (Laughs)

Q. What was the first trip you went on as a child?

A. When I was very young my mom took me on a train trip from Houston to Marshall (Texas). My dad worked on the train, so he had passes for us, but that didn’t guarantee us seats. It must’ve been during the holiday season, because there were no empty seats. My mom took me to the women’s bathroom and I sat on the floor the whole time. I loved it and had so much fun. I remember it as one of the best trips I ever had. Nothing matters when you’re young!

Q. Do you and your wife have the opportunity to travel together?

A. My wife is from the Caribbean and loves going home to St. Lucia. I remember one time, she took great care to get our trip settled and she booked first-class seats for us to St. Lucia. There was a problem with the plane we were on, so they had to put us on another flight, but there weren’t any seats in first class. She was so sad, because she was thinking about me and wanted me to be comfortable. There we were sitting with another gal in our row and my big shoulders sticking out. It was fine! I told her that it’s all nice to travel in luxury, but I don’t need any of that. I can sit anywhere and be fine. I was just happy to go to St. Lucia with her.

Q. Are you onboard if this series gets pick up for another season?
A. Yes! We all have said that we’ll continue to travel. I can’t imagine that anything will be as exciting as this trip to Asia was, but I’m willing to give it a try!

Q. What is still on your travel bucket list?
A. India. I’ve never been there and I’d love to see what it’s like. I have heard that the people are very courteous and welcoming and I think I would really enjoy being there.

Q. Do you prefer warm or cold weather destinations?
A. I like cold weather. I like to go golfing and then come back in and have some soup. [Laughs.] I really enjoy that.

Q. Long trips can make enemies out of friends. How did you all fare?
A. We all became real close. Henry became my protector. I’m just this big guy walking around and he’s like, “George, I’ll take care of you.” Captain Kirk was the real master. He knew everything! And if he didn’t know, he’d get the answer and report back to us.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (15)

  1. Pat Lewis says:

    I ♥ this. I have his grill, too!

  2. Jenny says:

    Jenny Lee Oh my. You just reminded me that we have one of his grills in our storage area! ? That’s cool how he is doing a remake of Grandpas Over Flowers! ??

  3. Heidi says:

    He is so great in interviews! Just seems like such a happy go lucky guy!

  4. Pat Carey says:

    I just love this article – he comes across as being such a great guy. Thanks, it was so enjoyable, and so was he!

  5. Lee + Whitney says:

  6. Siobhan says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I now have a new appreciation for George.

  7. Lauren Muracz says:

  8. Danny Chisholm says:

  9. William McCarthy says:

  10. CodyDeeCanion says:

  11. David Amerland says:

  12. hawkgirl says:

Join the Discussion

Psssst! Your E-mail address will not be published.

Name *

E-mail *