Eminems heartbreaking life – brain damage, homelessness and bitter split

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Eminem is marking his 49th birthday today and for all of his remarkable contributions to the music industry, Daily Star is exploring the ups and downs of his entire life journey.

25 years ago, the star who was born as Marshall Bruce Matthers III, unleashed his debut album Infinite which didn't exactly take the world by storm.

With no money, a failing career and falling foul due to substance abuse, he and his small family ended up moving into his mums trailer.

Little did he know at this point, Stardom was in reaching distance with his Slim Shady EP landing in the hands of Dr Dre.

The legendary music producer originally came under fire with critics who had slammed him for hiring a white rapper.

Shooting down haters, Dre hit back: "I don't give a f*** if you are purple; if you can kick it, I'm working with you."

In February of 1999, The Slim Shady LP stormed charts with roaring success and is now officially certified as quadruple platinum by the RIAA.

But what was life like from the beginning? A fatherless upbringing, poverty-ridden, bullies, a coma and a turbulent romance – this is Eminem's life uncovered.

Difficult childhood

At just age 15 Eminem's mother Debbie nelson married his father Marshall Bruce Matthers, Jr, with their son – the soon to be third best rapper of all time – being born two years later.

Before Eminem had turned two, his parents had parted ways and that was to be the end of his relationship with his dad.

His father put no effort in to even attempt to know his as a child growing up explained the hitmaker in a former interview with India Today.

He said: "A lot of times he'd call, and I'd be there — maybe I'd be on the floor colouring or watching TV — and it wouldn't have been nothing for him to say, 'Put him on the phone.'

"He could talk to me, let me know something," the Slim Shady star added: "Cause as far as father figures, I didn't have any in my life."

Strained relationship with his mum

Eminem doesn't shy away from sharing his past experiences, childhood and upbringing through the art of rap.

His strained relationship with his mum Debbie Nelson became apparent in his 2002's 'Cleanin' Out My Closet' track.

The lyrics claim that his mother was a sufferer of Münchausen syndrome by proxy, which made him believe he had been sick – throughout his whole life.

Similar accusations were fired on the hit 'My Mom', with Eminem claiming his mum had a valium addiction and would sprinkle the substance on his food during his childhood.

He rapped: "The water that I drank, f**kin' peas in my plate, she sprinkled just enough of it to season my steak," with the star later accusing his mum for his valium addiction.

However, his mum slammed his claims in an interview with Inside Edition, she told the publication: "He was spoiled rotten.

"Anything he wanted, I made sure that I'd take my last dime and get it for him. I mean he was my only child for fourteen years."

Debbie even attempted to sue the rapper for a whopping $10million [£7M] after she claimed he had slandered her on The Slim Shady LP and in other interviews.

Years later, Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer and that seemed to be a turning point for the mother and son duo who had seemingly been at war for decades.

Brain Damage

As a child Eminem was bullied badly, with one incident that led to him being in a coma for almost a week.

With Debbie and her son moving around so frequently, often changing homes up to three times a year, Eminem was known for being quite the loner and this lead to him being a target for nasty bullies.

According to MTV, a bully named D'Angelo Bailey split his lip and punched the wind out of him when he was just nine – with the attacks getting worse as the days went on.

The worst incident came when Mathers was beat within an inch of his life after he was left with "sustained injuries to his head, face, back and legs".

In 1982, Eminem's mum unsuccessfully attempted to sue the Roseville school district, claiming that the violence by bullies had caused her son to have headaches, nausea and antisocial behaviour.

Her $10,000 lawsuit was eventually dismissed on the grounds of "governmental immunity".

On the breakthrough album The Slim Shady LP, Eminem referenced the life threatening incident on a song called "Brain Damage".

He rapped: "I was harassed daily by this fat kid named DeAngelo Bailey. An eighth-grader who acted obnoxious 'cause his father boxes, so every day he'd shove me in the lockers.

"One day he came in the bathroom while I was p—in', and had me in the position and beat me into submission.

"He banged my head against the urinal 'til he broke my nose, soaked my clothes in blood, grabbed me and choked my throat."

Bailey denied that he had ever harmed Eminem and slapped him with $1 million lawsuit, claiming that his name had been used in vain – however this was thrown out by Judge Deborah Servitto who awarded the rap star "summary disposition".

Homeless with just $40 in his pocket

Eminem and his ex-wife first met when Kimberly Anne Scott and her twin sister ran away from home when they were just age 13.

During this time, Kim caught the eye of the chart topper when their paths crossed at a party in Detroit – with the pair striking up a romantic relationship.

Two years later, on December 25th 1995, Eminem and Kim welcomed their daughter Hallie Jade.

They lived in a crime-ridden neighbourhood and their home was often targeted by burglars.

With the failure of his first album, the man behind the Slim Shady alter-ego was penniless and having to work all hours as a pot washer just to make ends meet.

Things took a turn for the worst when Eminem was eventually fired for his job just days before Christmas.

He previously said: "It was, like, five days before Christmas, which is Hailie's birthday. I had, like, forty dollars to get her something."

The small family turned to Eminem's mum Debbie for support, with the threesome then moving into her trailer.

Tumultuous relationship with wife Kim

Eminem and Kim married as his career had just started to take-off and four years after the birth of Hallie Jade.

Their marriage soon became tumultuous and was surrounded with constant accusations of infidelities which resulted in the pair parting ways.

In spite of feuding for many years the rapper and his ex-wife Kim did reconcile, with the couple tying the knot once again in 2006.

Kim explained in an interview with 20/20 in 2007, that she'd had her hang-ups and concerns about rekindling their romance.

She said: "Money is great, but it doesn't make your husband stay at home with you. Or sleep in the same bed with you … Him being on the road and on tour … that was like the big one. I mean … constant infidelities, all the time."

Speaking about the second proposal, Hallie Jade's mum added: "I was excited, I was happy, but at the same time, I thought he was rushing things."

Their union started to turn sour as soon as they'd walked down the aisle, with the pair filing for divorce again in 2006, along with joint custody of their children.

On July 30, 2021, police were called to Kim's home after they'd respond to "a call of a suicidal person."

TMZ reported that, deputies and paramedics found that Kim had "several small lacerations on the back of her leg."

Kim was restrained and rushed to hospital for medical treatment and psychological evaluation.

She has since been recovering at home.

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  • Eminem
  • Family
  • Cancer

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