Back in 2009, Nadia Suleman became an internet sensation when she gave birth to octuplets via IVF treatment.
Dubbed the ‘Octomom,’ people everywhere became enthralled with her strange journey, which later included stints in stripping and the porn industry.
These days, Suleman (who now goes by Natalie) lives a much more private life with her 14 children in California, but her return to a relatively normal existence didn’t come without struggle.
Opening up in a recent interview with The Daily Mail, the 41-year-old admits she felt that she needed to “kill” her Octomom persona in order to save her own life.
“I descended down a very dark and destructive path,” she explained of her downward spiral. “I fully exploited and dehumanized myself with the porn and the stripping. I was so desperate we were on the verge of homelessness, so rather than put my kids in front of the camera I decided to put myself out there. The consequences of exploiting myself was deep toxic shame and self-disgust. To continue, I had to numb — and that’s when I started with the prescription drugs.”
After battling an addiction to Xanax, she eventually was able to get clean and focus on a private life for her and her family, and she hasn’t looked back.
“It was like I’d escaped prison,” she recalled. “That character of Octomom was dead. We packed up all our things and I quit my manager. I’d rather be homeless with 14 kids living in my van than allow any of my girls, my daughters to go down the path I had gone down. If I had stayed in that life I might be dead right now.”
Despite the hard times, Suleman, who has returned to her work as a counselor, says she wouldn’t change her decision to have her children.
“I admit that I made many mistakes in my life and that I’m imperfect. I make mistakes constantly,” she said. “But my children were not a mistake — they were meant to be here.”