Interview: Eminem's Mom Debbie Nelson on Her Son Marshall, Her New Book, Sending Slim Shady Holiday Checks

"I'm a very proud mother. I don't think there's anything [Marshall] can do to me that he hasn't already done through the media."

Eminem's mom Debbie Nelson hasn't seen her son since last July, but even then, she didn't really see him. He'd returned to his birthplace of St. Joseph, Missouri, looking for the grave of his uncle Ronnie, who'd committed suicide in 1991 and was later famously mentioned in The Marshall Mathers LP's stalker-fan screed "Stan." Debbie had been alerted to the pair of SUVs seeking out her younger brother's headstone, went down to make sure the visitors weren't miscreant vandals, and discovered that Marshall was behind one of those tinted windows. She went to say hello, but the vehicle took off. "I was kinda hurt," the 53-year-old admits. "It would have been good."

Eminem has rather memorably called his mother a "crazy" "fucking bitch" who "does more dope than I do" and has "no tits." He has also publicly joked about matricide and said, "I hope you fuckin' burn in hell" in the giant fuck-you-mama of a rap song "Cleanin' Out My Closet." For her part, Nelson once told Marshall that she wished he'd died instead of Ronnie ("Of course, I didn't mean it," she has written, "It's something I will regret to my dying day") and sued him for defamation and emotional distress, a move she now describes as an accidental crusade waged by a predictably opportunistic lawyer.

All things considered, Debbie Nelson's new ghostwritten memoir, My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem: Setting the Record Straight on My Life is not a backbiting retort, but rather a long, rocky explanation-by-way-of-defense of her admittedly naïve decisions and lifetime of catastrophe: four failed marriages, four lawsuits (including the one against Marshall), various familial deaths, child-protective-services fights, and one truly horrendous relationship with Slim Shady's ex-wife and baby mama Kim Scott, who supposedly once mailed Em's mom a live tarantula. The book's tone is far more sad than angry--exactly how Debbie Nelson sounded when I recently spoke with her on the phone from Sarasota, Florida, where she was temporarily staying with a friend. An edited transcription of our conversation follows.

I'm surprised you're doing interviews.

I had already said for a while I wasn't going to do any, and I wasn't up to it, my health has really taken a toll on me. And I don't want to upset anybody, and I don't want to upset, per se, the apple cart. [coughs] My son's book [The Way I Am] is out too, I've never read it, but I applaud him for anything he does, I'm behind him 101 percent.

Have you read his book?

I've heard bits and pieces about it and I was told, well, it doesn't give that many details, and it's mostly has lyric sheets and pictures.

Why haven't you seen his book yet?

I've not got it. I have not gotten a chance to get it, honey.

Oh. It's out.

Oh no no. My friends had went out and got it--you know, I always encourage everybody to contribute to him.

Have you heard the first song that's supposed to be on his new record? It's called, "I'm Having a Relapse"?

No, I haven't. I'm hoping to. But not yet. I don't use the computer right now. Where I'm at [in Sarasota], they don't have a computer hook up.

He adopts this silly Jamaican dialect in it, but it's a great song.

He's very, very creative. You gotta give him credit. He's borderline genius. He always was. And I can remember getting into so many arguments in school with teachers, saying "This kid is retarded." Because he's always like to bounce around his desk or a chair and home and maybe tap a pencil. And a lot of people would be like, "Oh, no he's got something wrong." And I'd be like, "No, leave him alone. Don't ever say that." I would never allow anybody to say one unkind word about him. I'm very overprotective.

That definitely comes through in the book. Why else did you write it?

The main reason for writing this was to let people know that I'm not this evil monster that's drugged out and strung out on booze and pot and all that stuff. It's like, no, they've got a big misconception. Nothing [in the book] is mean to hurt anybody. I do idolize my boys. They're my world, just like my grandchildren. Anything that they do, I applaud them.

But it's basically, to know me as a person as far as what's the media's put out there, as far as being this horrible evil monster that hates everybody and I abandoned my child and he had no shoes and he walked to school uphill both ways without shoes on. I have heard so many [supposed] horror stories. He was beaten everyday, locked in a closet with no door, left in an English orphanage. It's been crazy.

Do you think your book is helping Eminem's career?

I hope so. I think he could do anything, he's basically his own person, I can't really speak for him.

It's just basically, he needs to get out there and really get on the ball and start doing things. I know he's been dormant for a long time.


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42 comments
katgoe
katgoe

I think Em is right about her having lost some brain cells. She's all over the map for sure. Can't keep track of what she's said and contradicts herself. But definitely wants to be seen as a benevolent, protective mommy. Kind of makes me want to gag. Kind of seems like someone who would have Munchausens. Marshall definitely doesn't need your help or checks, lady. I'm embarrassed for her.

ebonyemrald1994
ebonyemrald1994

Their are many people whos mothers are worse and they dont go on dissing their parents like that front of the whole nation, thats just disgusting and horrible and stupid, their is a line you dont cross sometimes and u shouldnt. Eminem is a good rapper and I think he is funny and good looking and smart but sometimes he just goes way over the top. You shouldnt bring ur wife, mother and children into ur work thats not right, at least ask their permission. Some people might disagree with me but thats fine I dont care.

ebonyemrald1994
ebonyemrald1994

I have actually read her book twice and i think she is telling the truth. I dont think she really is a bad mum but u know  there are two sides to a story so I dont know. Its just what she said made sense but I cant believe some of the stuff that Kim did to Debbie and him. She sounds honest  and people need to know that most of the time the media makes up alot of stuff that isnt true. Maybe she did make a few mistakes but to eminem they were probably huge. I dont know Eminem and his family that well but I think they should all sit down and talk it through and get everything out. Ow and her lawyer sued eminem for 10million debbie didnt. Her lawyer was greedy and just wanted to make some money out of him and her.

Blazergirl7100
Blazergirl7100

She's a bitch I don't believe a fuckin words she says EMINEM WE LOVE YA<3

Fadiljuliana
Fadiljuliana

No you have it all wrong, who brain washed you? If you have a mother that is abusing you, raping you, or anything of that sort, THAT IS NOT REAL LOVE SIR! That means she had you as an accident and is not doing anything to help her and YOU out. That is not a best friend or a loving support system. A mom is your Angel, your haven. People these days think that just because a parent opened up their legs and had you, they are your parent. NOOOO It's who raised you and who has put up with all of the bullshit and STILL stuck around. You got it all wrong. Clearly his mother is a crackheaded skank.

Liverpool1
Liverpool1

Look I no u all think Debbie is a cunt etc but if it wasn't for her Eminem wouldn't be here I h8 her aswell but all I think about is if it wasn't for her Eminem wouldn't be here!! Think about that for a second btw I'm a massive eminem fan I've been to neally all of his concerts I no all the worlds to his songs

Jollyrampage90
Jollyrampage90

I honestly think you're all being assholes. If she isn't a mother, then why did she feedHer son and keep him alive until he was able to live on his own?! She's still his mother, and no bitch has the right to tell her that she isn't. Mothers make mistakes, some even big enough to hurt their kids. MARSHALL, I truly admire your music, but You only have one mom, and that's DEBBIE. You'll all probably just say more bad shit about her, but there are people worse than her. Soon-to-be mothers who give up their babies for adoption or abortion are more worse than what DEBBIE is described as. So don't fucking listen to what the media says, because they always fucking take the story that gets everybody's attention.

Liamlamothe
Liamlamothe

She's such a bitch that's just a bunch of bull shit to get his fucking money no wonder he hates the bitch wit no tits

Mnorman27
Mnorman27

Em plz stp givn ure mom or othrz powr ovr u* forgv whole heartedly and b thnkfl 4 strngth 2 ovrcm* dissn hr iz lk dissn god* itz all prtty embarazzng and rediculous* and az 4 mom, follown god meanz trustn n hm fully* y u provn self 2 media* em shez ur mom 4 a reasn* lt hr and god deal w hr* tell truth alwayz, god gav u a chnz not dre* repent, baptize, and enjoy heavn* evn if u lose evry1 here, ull hav the almighty and a real mansion latr* em, em, b u* lt it all go and wrk on holdn ur mom

Mike
Mike

This is the biggest load of shit ive ever heard. she does NOT support her son. she did NOT care for him not even a little bit as a kid, watch the video for "cleaning out my closet". If I was eminem, I would respond to this interview by telling the cold hard facts about what really went on. you can tell by this interview, she WILL burn in hell

Emityp
Emityp

She thinks she can just make up a few sad stories that might melt people's heart and get away with it. This is the reason an example of a women who gets pregnant because of carelessness than barely give a fuck about the baby. She says she supports his 101%, really? She's saying that Eminem is just a great actor and makes up all these sad stories to get famous. Yeah right. She sued him for $10 MILLION dollars, has money to do drugs while her son is living in poverty (don't she dare deny this), and claim she loves and support him. Bitch, shut up and think , your son went against all odds to be something different, while you play NO part in it except birthing him and feeding him.

Now what kind of mother would sue her son $10 million? What kind of mother would have money to buy drugs but not to improve her son's life?

Fucking excuse for a mother.

Dani
Dani

I think that Eminem (marshall) raps bout how he feels not just about his life. Why the hell does his mum think she can sue him 10 million den act all nicey nice znd sayin that she's behind him 100%? I reckon he wnts nout to do with her and she shud jus back off and leave him to his life! I luv When im gone and know all da words to love the way u lie and mockingbird! I fink he's so fit! Also Micheal, fuk those bullies ur life is urs not theirs!!! GO EMINEM U ROCK!!!

Michael Alberts
Michael Alberts

im 13 and im a massive fan of eminem but his mum is a fuckin retard i didnt hate his mum coz he did i hate her coz she tries to get pity but alls she did was ruin his life by feedin him drugs and all that shit.. i thought i had it bad but fuck i was wrong...and you detroits think ur life is bad walk in my shoes for a week and you'll commit suicide the only reason i dont coz why should i die coz of some bullies and a bad life? fuck life

Anonymous
Anonymous

ummmm i think she is full of it S*** because he will not waist time in them songs for no reason at all. sweetie you is full of it now yo son is on top of his game in having a better live you mad woman get over yourself and get a CLUE...!!!

Christy
Christy

Yeah right! This is total bullshit! She wants to sue her own son for 10 million for telling the TRUTH about his life and how she abused him, then says she fully supports him!? I know people think Eminem is a bad role model, but all of his songs have so much emotion in them and it's pretty sad that he had to go through all that.

brownsugar8272
brownsugar8272

you only get one mother and you could never repay her for all she does I don't give a damn how hard you think you had it. If you are alive today that mean she loved you enough not to kill you and believe me she could've.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Does anyone have spellcheck on their CPU's? You are all a bunch of misguided drones. I grew up in Detroit and although tough it was not the way this punk makes it out. Life is what you make it. Work hard and use your value system that is given to you by instinct and you will go a long way. This guy is no role model and if people are envious of his upbringing you deserve what you get.

sd
sd

I sincerely mean this:this is the worst interview i've ever read. Example:

My son's book [The Way I Am] is out too, I've never read it, but I applaud him for anything he does, I'm behind him 101 percent.

Have you read his book?

Linnie
Linnie

...because his mother doesn't look like a strung-out druggie at all....

Samantha Strazdins
Samantha Strazdins

I think that Debbie is fake. She sues her son for 10 mill then says she supports him. I hope Eminem keeps her out of his life he's already gone thrrough enough **** he doesn't need more. GO EMINEM!

nick berg
nick berg

I dont't blame Eminem- what kind of mother sues their own son for ten mil? Damn. I listen to his songs, he's a lyrical geneous, has amazing beats, and is the fastest rapper i've ever heard. I honestly think that there will never be a better rapper that will live, and there currently isn't. People need to get over the opinion of the african-american race being better rappers. obviously, eminem proved otherwise.

christopher jouan
christopher jouan

i amier him slim shady i love that name im naming my kid shady or slim what sould i call him i listen to u on my ipod all the time u r awsome dude make more songs like about your life like your life growing up as a kid :)love u dude peace

christopher jouan
christopher jouan

i listen to him on my ipond and he is awsome i amier him to make more songs aout hes life growing up as a kid hes creaitv

kh
kh

i think that shes an absoulote bich

Alex
Alex

so she's 101% supportive of her son, yet she's willing to sue him for $10 million...right.

im only 12 but I understand
im only 12 but I understand

I am a huge fan of eminem aka marshall especially after a friend of mine put all of his songs on my ipod for me. My fav song is cleaning out my closet, i know all of the words off by heart, i found this song very sad and despised debbie for quite some time until i got crios and read this artical.

I am planning on reading both the books both marshalls and debbies.

all of the events that have happened in marshalls life have touched my heart and so i post this comment.

Anonymous
Anonymous

you are ugly eminem is horny!!!

wow
wow

This interview is sad as fuck. Nice job, though that feels weird to say given the situation.

Athiest Zealot
Athiest Zealot

I am a senior in high school, and I honestly don't know if I would rather have the life of eminem, and claw out of a situation like that an idol for no reason other than being a survivor, or just grow up an A student with typical pressures that only exist with finishing homework.

Rain the Roo
Rain the Roo

I am from detroit originally, I cant speak for Marshall, but families were -effed up. me and my friends (living in livonia) would trade abuse stories when we were bored (and only 12) we would compare who got beat the worst, or whos family had more drama, or whos dad had more convictions and connections. This kind of stuff was the norm. The schools didnt want to deal with you if you werent a b grade student or better. They had these Alternative Education off-site buildings which were just 8 hour long juvi-hall visits where you did nothing but get told how terrible life was going to be for you.

I am 29 years old now and successful in the IT field. I attribute nothing to my family and especially not to that city, county or state. There is nothing there but dispair and people who watch others suffer for sport. I got out because I clawed my way out, and much like Marshalls mom, my family retaliated and tried to sabatoge me in every way possible.

Rain the Roo
Rain the Roo

I am from detroit originally, I cant speak for Marshall, but families were -effed up. me and my friends (living in livonia) would trade abuse stories when we were bored (and only 12) we would compare who got beat the worst, or whos family had more drama, or whos dad had more convictions and connections. This kind of stuff was the norm. The schools didnt want to deal with you if you werent a b grade student or better. They had these Alternative Education off-site buildings which were just 8 hour long juvi-hall visits where you did nothing but get told how terrible life was going to be for you.

I am 29 years old now and successful in the IT field. I attribute nothing to my family and especially not to that city, county or state. There is nothing there but dispair and people who watch others suffer for sport. I got out because I clawed my way out, and much like Marshalls mom, my family retaliated and tried to sabatoge me in every way possible.

PERN$
PERN$

Posted by: melle at December 8, 2008 12:45 PMgive me jay electronica, a rapper with vision, any old day

AMEN...

melle
melle

could never understand why the hell i'm supposed to give a shit about the for-profit havok of dr. dre's cash bunny...give me jay electronica, a rapper with vision, any old day

linn
linn

 some mothers just keep their babies for the $$$$$$$$$$$$the city gives them and makes more babies$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$and  really treats them so shabbily and awful but has to make good on those days the social worker shows up....what a joke---i believe emenem what he sings about---drug--mom--boyfriends---SAD... i am so glad he is rich $$$$$ rich$$$$ rich$$$---and see what a good dad he is===he knows what it was like----GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY EMINEM and also your mom---she needs prayers too.

Dglondon
Dglondon

Mike, you love your mom?

skelit0re
skelit0re

@Anonymous  lol youre a retard.  you grew up in the same city, so you know his entire life??  jesus christ, i would say get an education, but its obvious you lack the capacity.

Eminem
Eminem

Who gives a fuck! Everyone has problems, it's not only in Detroit you dumbass!!!

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