Natalie Suleman, better known as “Octomom,” is getting her life back on track.
The mother of 14 opened up to “Good Morning America” about her struggles since she became a household name years ago.
Shortly after giving birth to octuplets in 2009, Suleman turned to Xanax, pornography and stripping to support her family.
“I was more or less a carnival attraction and I was a freak show,” she told GMA’s Kayna Whitworth.
“Do you think that the world hates you?” Whitworth asked.
“How can they? They don’t know me,” she replied.
Suleman couldn’t hold back the tears as she gave an apology. “I am sorry. I am sorry to anyone I hurt out there.”
As for the decision to have eight embryos implanted after she was already a mother of six and living on welfare, Suleman said she regrets nothing. Desperate for money, she started stripping and made an adult film.
“It was just to put food on the table and just to take care of my family,” Suleman claimed. She later turned to Xanax in hopes of “numbing the shame.”
She eventually entered rehab, but relapsed almost immediately. The moment everything changed for Suleman was when she saw her then-10-year-old daughter playing dress up in her stripper costumes.
“She put on these heels and she was strutting around in them,” she said through tears. “That was it. That was the moment that I said, ‘I would rather be homeless and in a van with all my kids than allow any of my girls to feel that they are not worthy enough.'”
As for what’s next, Suleman prefers not to be called “Octomom” and now goes by Natalie. She also said she tries every day to be a better person and hopes her kids can learn from her.
Suleman is reportedly still getting some government aid, but also works as a counselor.