The battle for Gabby Douglas’s affection, and money, has begun. According to dailymail.com, the parents of the U.S. Olympic gold medalist are engaged in a bitter feud over the lucrative endorsement deals she is scheduled to receive.
The relationship between her mother Natalie Hawkins and her estranged husband Timothy Douglas has been strained ever since he abandoned her and their four children years ago. According to Gabby her father rarely paid child support.
The strained relationship gained publicity after it was revealed that the gymnast did not buy her father or his family tickets to the events in London despite the fact that they traveled to see her.
“We don’t know how many tickets were given, and how they were given, we only know they were not given to us,” Douglas’s paternal grandmother told the National Enquirer.
Gabby has held nothing back when asked about her father’s absence, admitting that he abandoned her mother and three siblings at an early age. Her father’s absence led to the family struggling financially for years.
“It was really hard for us growing up—my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” she said. “So my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short [on money]. It was definitely hard on her part and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.”
According to TMZ her mother filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, as her debts now total $79,754.14. Ms. Hawkins accrued most of her debt paying for Gabby’s training while still supporting three other children.
Those struggles will be a distant memory following her daughter’s historic victory in London, and no one is more excited than Gabby.
“People were like, ‘Gabby’s going to smile all the way to the bank,’” Gabby said to the Des Moines Register. “I remember reading that, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to stop. I’m going to foam at the mouth with all this money.”
The young gymnast admitted that her newfound wealth will mean new responsibilities for the young star. “I just have to learn how to save it and control myself. I wasn’t the richest kid on the block and my family struggled a little bit. We went through some very tough times… But I’m so happy that I stuck with it and can bring my family out of the financial situations.”
Her candor and innocence is so refreshing and endearing, let’s hope no one takes advantage of it.