Octomom, a.k.a. Natalie Suleman: ‘I had to kill Octomom to save myself’

Natalie Suleman
Nadya Suleman and her large family launch their signature milkshake at 'Millions of Milkshakes' on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, Calif. Toby Canham/Getty Images

For those readers unfamiliar with Octomom (a.k.a. Nadya Suleman, now Natalie Suleman), here’s a refresher: Suleman reached international fame when she gave birth to octuplets in 2009, only the second full set to be born alive in the United States.

That’s pretty remarkable on its own, but Suleman came under fire from both the media and the public when it was uncovered that she already had six children, was unemployed and on public assistance. Her image took another hit when it was discovered that she’d been undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) since she was 21. Suleman gave birth to the octuplets at the age of 34.

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She had to partake in “dehumanizing and exploitative work” like stripping and making pornography in order to support her children, she claims, and her shame continues to this day. Her time in the media spotlight stirred controversy and debate about reproductive rights and IVF, and whether someone who’s ill-equipped to have children should have any in the first place.

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Now, at age 41 and seven years after giving birth to her octuplets, Suleman spoke to Daily Mail about her life, and why she “had to kill Octomom” to save herself.

Octomom pregnant
Natalie Suleman, then Nadya, pictured in 2009 pregnant with octuplets. Twitter/TMZ

She reveals that she left the world of porn, drugs and stripping in 2013, and said if she hadn’t, she probably would have overdosed on Xanax, which she claims she was taking every single day to alleviate her personal suffering.

“Everything I ever did was for money to put food on the table,” said Suleman to Daily Mail. “Everyone thinks I had all these donations and help but I didn’t – I did everything on my own and paid everything out of my own pocket, so I was Octomom for four years. The last two years of [doing porn] were so dark. I descended down a very dark and destructive path.”
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Her impoverished state, with 14 mouths to feed, caused Suleman to partake in things she otherwise wouldn’t have; everything she did, she asserts, was for her kids’ well-being.

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“I fully exploited and dehumanized myself with the porn and the stripping,” she said. “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 consequence of exploiting myself was deep toxic shame and self-disgust. To continue I had to [go] numb, and that’s when I started with the prescription drugs.”

Suleman says she even turned to plastic surgery, but denied she ever used funds provided to her for her children.

“I admit I’ve had plastic surgery but not half of what the media have said I had,” she revealed. “I had a breast augmentation after breastfeeding three kids, which I paid for myself as I was working. I had a tummy tuck after the octuplets, after a media outlet [which Suleman did not reveal] promised me $100,000 to pose nude. I have had no work on my face, but I admit that in 2008 I injected my lips and it looked horrible. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. In 2009 I did it again because a media outlet paid me.”
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“I was so embarrassed I denied it, but it feels so freeing to finally tell the truth,” she continued. “I don’t want my girls to go down the path of plastic surgery and wanting to change themselves.”

So, ultimately, Suleman decided to figuratively “kill” Octomom in 2013, when she returned home to find one of her older daughters, then only 10 years old, dressing up in her mother’s clothing and walking around the house in spiked heels.

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“Later on, I was cleaning up in the middle of the night and I saw that heel on the stair and the kids were all sleeping,” she revealed. “All my emotions I’d suppressed started to bubble out into rage, and I took the heel and threw it across the house and it stuck in the wall. It was like I’d escaped prison. That character of Octomom was dead.”

“We packed up all our things and I quit my manager,” she continued. “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.”

Suleman has since moved to her hometown in Orange County, Calif. and works as a family counsellor and therapist. The octuplets, six boys and two girls, are named Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jonah, Makai, Josiah, and Jeremiah, and all of them have the same middle name: Angel. All things considered, and despite Suleman’s struggles, the octuplets are in good health.

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For all the details of Suleman’s new life, head on over to Daily Mail.