"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.More »