In the run-up to her octuplet pregnancy, American Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman had undergone extensive IVF treatments. In 2008, her doctor, vying against medical opinion, implanted 12 embryos in the hope that at least one would survive. Despite intense public criticism of Suleman -- who already had six children and was living on state benefits -- the treatment was more successful than medics could have hoped. Suleman became pregnant with eight children (a chance in excess of 5 billion to 1) and gave birth in January 2009 to Jonah, Nariyah, Josiah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Noah, Jeremiah, and Makai.
Within the first week of the arrivals, the US media labeled Suleman “Octomom” and began a semi-celeb life that she herself didn’t discourage. Suleman rode the media wave; she secured a reality show with UK production company Eyeworks for a fly-on-the-wall documentary, appeared on Oprah, and was featured in a Fox Network two-hour special called “Octo-Mom: The Incredible Unseen Footage.”
However, by 2012, the single mom of 14 was back on welfare struggling to make ends meet. Once Suleman returned to her pre-baby figure, she began glamour modeling, eventually finding a role in adult entertainment. She even won an AVN award for “Octomom at Home” produced by Wicked Pictures. Although she killed off her Octomom X-rated image in 2013 and re-branded herself as a good girl, the media is still digging the dirt. So in the spirit of the age, let’s have a look at 15 things Nadya Suleman doesn’t want her kids to know about her past.
15 To Neglect Or Protect
Suleman’s debt problems were never far away. In 2012, she filed personal bankruptcy in Orange County Superior Court claiming to have $50,000 in assets against at least $1 million in debts. Her owned home in La Habra was put up for auction, and she has been renting accommodation ever since. Her debt accrual is down to her living beyond her means, but it’s also thought the extensive plastic surgery she underwent added to this. She was also accused of spending hundreds of dollars on herself rather than her children for hair treatment like a Brazilian Blowout.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a child cruelty complaint was also lodged with officers from the La Habra Police Department. The complaint said, among other things, the children appeared to be “malnourished and unclean, and Suleman locked them in their rooms while she attended to personal matters.” However, after inspection of the property by social workers, the complaint wasn't upheld.
The Mail Online ran an article in 2012 about Octomom’s exploits at gentleman’s clubs. The headline read, “Bankrupt Nadya Suleman strips topless to the strains of Rihanna in a bid to pay her bills.” Allegedly, she was paid $5,000 to strip at Miami's Playhouse Gentlemen's Club, and her appearance drew an unprecedented number of spectators.
To the delight of punters, she came on stage in a PVC mask, thigh-high boots, a corset, a bra, and pants, and quickly began to make good money, especially performing $200 one-to-one sessions. Following on from this, Suleman dressed as a schoolgirl and reaped the same rewards. However, what didn’t go unnoticed by the club’s regular dancers was her sense of rhythm, which was non-existent. One dancer told the Miami Herald, “She's really stiff. Oh my God, she can’t dance. But it’s good for the rest of us girls because she made it a busy Friday night. We’re going to get extra tips.”
Nadya Suleman began working for the Metropolitan State Hospital, CA in 1997. In 1999, after a riot broke out in the hospital, Suleman injured her back after she was hit by one patient while restraining another. She was awarded disability payments until 2008, which amounted to $165,000 according to ABC News. The money she earned from the subsidy was used in IVF treatments, resulting in the birth of her first six children.
Although married to Marco Gutierrez in 1996, Suleman had an alleged relationship with Denis Beaudoin. In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Beaudoin said, “The Nadya that I knew, it never, it never came up to have such a huge family. It was just an urge to have a child because she was not able to," Beaudoin said. He called Suleman a “really great girl. A lot of fun to be around. Just her whole bubbly outward personality was really, really cool.”
12 Unknown Origin
The big mystery in people’s minds surrounds the identity of the father of the 14 children Suleman is raising. Although never having made public the father’s name, she denies it was her ex-husband, who, in any case, disliked the idea of 'test tube babies.' It may, however, have been Denis Beaudoin, who, by his own admission to ABC News, donated sperm on the premise of the two of them “starting a family together at some point.”
Suleman has alluded to the fact that her children (who were all born through IVF treatment) are the genetic offspring of “a friend who donated sperm to create 60 embryos.” Perhaps for good reason, Suleman has no wish to involve anyone else in her knife-edge existence. She maintains a wish to be able to independently support her children and has, according to her, been celibate for 11 years.
Following on from her glamour modeling and stripping, Suleman was approached by American adult film movie studio Wicked Pictures. She was offered a five-figure deal and half the rights to an X-rated film, which would yield a handsome profit by the month. She duly agreed. The film features Octomom in several solo scenes; it was a stipulation of hers at the outset that the movie would not feature anyone else. “Octomom Home Alone” received four AVN Award nominations and won Best Celebrity Video.
The payments from the film allowed her to move into a 5,000-foot mansion back in La Habra after having lost her previously owned home in the same area. Defending the manner in which she made the money, Suleman said in a Mail Online report, “I had to do it. I’ll just have to explain to the kids I only did it for them, once they are old enough. Nobody takes me seriously in job interviews because of all the negative things people say about 'Octomom,' like calling me a benefits parasite.”
10 Sexual Abuse
One year after claiming her children were monsters, allegations spread that Suleman had “allowed one of her children to sexually abuse another.” The allegation, which seems to have been started by a former nanny of Suleman, involved the suspected abuse of one of the octuplets by Suleman’s older son. “One of the boys would take (his sibling) away and take her to another area,” the nanny told CBS2. “And he would be touching her.”
It was also claimed that Suleman neither intervened in this behavior nor did anything when the older children physically assaulted the octuplets. The nannies also accused Suleman of “tying her eight children to bed with cheese cloths shortly after they were born, so they couldn't get out of their cribs.” More than one of Suleman’s child carers asked Child Protection Services to intervene. However, the allegations were rejected by the District Attorney after it was agreed there was insufficient evidence to back up the claims.
9 Inheritance = Nil
Even before she had the octuplets, Suleman’s finances were a mess. She had been living with her six older kids and her mother in a small three-bedroom house in Whittier, California. Back then, the house had fallen into a mortgage default and was sold by auction, leaving the family effectively penniless, homeless, and owing the mortgage company. And it seemed as though the bad luck ran in the family. In 2008, Suleman’s own parents filed for bankruptcy, citing a handsome $1 million in liabilities.
Having already lost the La Habra house to Orange County Superior Court, Suleman made an impassioned effort to save the house for the family by filing for bankruptcy, too. In so doing, she might have been able to at least relinquish her outstanding debt. However, the judge dismissed the case because she “didn’t complete the paperwork,” according to USA Today.
In 2014, after coming clean, refusing any more adult work, dropping Xanax, and getting rid of the Octomom image, Suleman was confident her previously tumultuous life would settle down. To some extent, it has, but at the beginning of 2014, the State of California filed against her for undisclosed earnings while claiming benefits.
CNN reported that the money she had made from film royalties and strip club appearances had not been declared at the time she was claiming State subsistence. The Los Angeles District Attorney said, “While applying for public aid, the mother of 14 children allegedly failed to disclose that she was also getting checks for personal appearances and residuals from videos.” The amount of public assistance in question was $26,000, and, as a consequence, Suleman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and two years of probation and ordered to pay a small fine.
7 I Hate You
The Mail Online ran a story back in 2011 in which Suleman allegedly told InTouch magazine that her babies were “disgusting," that she hated them, and that her six older children were “animals.” The then self-professed ex-octomom also said her life was in such ruins financially that she had contemplated suicide. Speaking after filming for the HDNet show Celebridate, she said, “My bank account is overdrawn by $300, and I have no money to pay for the children’s school, food, or the mortgage. The only way I can cope is to lock myself in the bathroom and cry.”
The outburst came after years of trying to make ends meet as a single mother and falling pregnant with eight babies, more or less, by accident. Although her cussing was a sign of desperation, it didn't help portray the image of a stable guiding force for her children. What’s more, already under scrutiny from social services, Suleman’s reputation as a self-absorbed and neglectful mother was an easy target.
6 Oy Vey Ist Mir
After previous IVF treatments, Suleman - a staunch anti-abortionist - had twelve embryos left over. Contrary to the usual medical treatment for a woman of her age, which was to have just two or three implanted at a time, Suleman insisted all were used in order to avoid destroying them. Her physician, Dr. Michael Kamrava, went along with her request despite reservations.
In a disciplinary session of the Medical Board of California, Kamrava stated that although he had misgivings about the number of embryos he was being asked to implant, he felt un-entitled to refuse a patient’s wishes. Speaking at his assessment, he said, “The guidelines don't say people can only have one or two babies... that's her prerogative. It’s not the doctor that's going to decide how many children this lady is going to have.” The Board was unimpressed and struck off Kamrava for “gross negligence.”
5 I Only Wanted One
In a televised Dr. Drew interview back in 2011, Suleman claimed she had only wanted one child and that she had diligently imparted this to her doctor. But she said that at the time consent for the procedure was being sought, she was on a “cocktail of drugs,” including Valium, according to the Daily Mail, which rendered her incapable of reasonable thought. Taking all evidence into consideration, revoking Dr. Michael Kamrava's license was necessary to “protect the public.”
The chance of having octuplets is incredibly remote. The odds of having twins is 80 to 1, triplets 6,400 to 1, quadruplets 512,000 to 1, and quintuplets 40,960,000 to 1. In the same year as Suleman, 21-year-old resident of Mexico City Maria Teresa López de Sepulveda produced the 20,971,520,000,000-to-l chance of octuplets, four boys and four girls. Suleman’s pregnancy was the only other recorded instance of octuplets in the USA.
4 Closer Than You Think
As her debts began to mount and while living on a subsidized income, Suleman turned to glamour modeling to make extra money to support her brood. Having undergone a tummy tuck and breast augmentation after the birth (although initially denying she’d done so), she appeared in UK magazine Closer. The “nearly nude” shots caused a controversy in her home country with some considering her transformation too miraculous and questioning how she could afford surgery whilst on welfare.
Talking to celebrity news website TMZ, Suleman defended what some complained were “hyper-sexualised” pictures. “I'm not ashamed of doing it ... I feel as though no woman or man should be ashamed of their body.” It was rumored the 41-year-old Californian was paid $10,000 for showing off her body, and she added for the doubters, “I just pinged back into shape like a rubber band after the kids – I don't know how I did it."
3 Xanax Addiction
Quickly running out of steam and money after giving birth, Suleman’s choice of making money through glamour made her feel “ashamed of the 'dehumanizing and exploitative' lifestyle,” according to a Mail Online article. But her consequential descent into adult entertainment, including sessions at a strip club, were a necessary evil, in her mind. In order to “numb the shame of her work,” she developed an addiction to Xanax, a tranquilizer with similar qualities to Diazepam.
In 2012, it was revealed that doctors had, in fact, prescribed her Xanax to cope with the increasing psychological demands placed upon her, but misuse quickly followed, and in October of the same year, she checked herself into Chapman House Treatment Center in Los Angeles for “rehabilitation for anxiety, exhaustion, and stress.” In an interview with The Sun in 2016, Suleman expressed that she believed she would have died of an overdose “if she hadn’t quit that line of work in 2013.”
2 Movie Surprise
Originally released in 2012 and then re-released two years later, “666 the Devil’s Child” was a Fubot Pictures production, which gave Suleman a starring role. Running at 74 minutes (strictly a short feature rather than a long short) the docu-horror film also stars Jeff Kongs, Chanon Finley, Valerie Mya and Brian Blessed. IMDb’s tagline for it reads, “'666 The Devil's Child' is the story of two friends, a young woman and young man, who visit another young woman who they've met on the internet. Once they arrive at the woman's remote house, unexplainable things begin to happen.”
Although originally cast just for name recognition, producers were “surprised by [Suleman’s] acting talent,” according to Best Horror Movies. Watching a brief trailer, she does seem quite the natural actor, but the film offers little else in respect of a narrative path; it feels like a path well-trodden, and we don’t think it will be a film her kids will want to watch.
Back in 2013, Suleman managed to find somewhere rent-free to stay. The house of Octomom’s friend, Tim Chapman - owner of the rehab center she went to for anxiety and depression - allowed her to stay at the house indefinitely. However, in the same year, he had to sell the house and place Suleman and the family in the hands of the new owner, Lana El-Jor. Naturally, because of Suleman’s reputation at previous addresses, El-Jor immediately evicted her.
Apparently, Suleman had left her previous home in Palmdale CA “badly damaged and littered with rubbish,” and the financial chaos that she left in her wake must have been a contributory factor in El-Jor’s decision. Speaking to The Mirror at the time, El-Jor supported her decision by saying, “That’s one of the things why we have to ask her to leave. The bank refused to support the loan. She is said to have left her houses abused and everything, and it worried the bank.”
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.com, usatoday.com