LOS ANGELES (AP) - Much has transpired since Nadya Suleman became “Octomom” by giving birth to eight premature but otherwise healthy children on Jan. 26, 2009. She’s gone from medical marvel - hers are the only known full set of octuplets to live past their first week - to national punch line for her various money-generating efforts
The 38-year-old single mother of 14 children (she had six before the octuplets) has been a porn actress, nude model, celebrity boxer and birth-control pitchwoman as she’s struggled to support herself and her children. She’s lost a home to foreclosure, teetered on the brink of bankruptcy and fought with nannies and others who tried to help her, leaving in her wake a string of publicists, lawyers and good-Samaritan types who no longer want to talk about her.
Suleman was back in the headlines earlier this month when she was charged with welfare fraud. She pleaded not guilty and is free on her own recognizance pending a pretrial hearing next month.
Despite all the attention she’s generated, Suleman has kept her octuplets largely out of the public eye and shared little about them. As they turn 5, here are eight things to know about “Octomom:”
1) BEFORE SHE WAS OCTOMOM: Suleman worked for a state mental hospital in 1999 when she said she suffered a back injury during an inmate riot. She went on to collect more than $165,000 in disability payments and used some of the money to help pay for in-vitro fertilization treatments that produced her first six children. She has a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, and was studying for a master’s in counseling when she became pregnant with the octuplets.
2) THE DOCTOR: All 14 of Suleman’s children were born through IVF treatments provided by Beverly Hills physician Dr. Michael Kamrava. He faced harsh criticism when it was learned he implanted 12 embryos that resulted in the octuplets. Medical guidelines recommend no more than two embryos. Kamrava said he was trying to please an insistent patient. The California Medical Board revoked his license, citing gross negligence.
3) NAME GAMES: Suleman picked Biblical names for all eight of her octuplets: Noah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Isaiah, Makai, Nariyah and Maliyah. All have the same middle name, Angel. No explanation was given for why Suleman chose to spell their last names Solomon. But then no explanation was given for why she altered her own first name from Natalie to Nadya, something discovered only this month when she was charged.
4) SHE SUPPORTS BIRTH CONTROL - FOR DOGS AND CATS: In 2010 People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals paid Suleman $5,000 to endorse spaying and neutering for pets. The organization also provided a month’s supply of vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers.
5) CELEBRITY BOXING STAR: Suleman launched a short-lived boxing career in 2011, explaining she was stepping into the ring with a string of D-List celebrities because she was broke. Her opponents included “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher, who became famous for shooting her much older lover’s wife in the face in 1992. Suleman won decisions over Fisher and a Florida bartender, but took a pounding from Philadelphia radio personality Jen Posner, though the referee ruled the bout a draw.
6) ON THE MOVE: The house Suleman bought after the birth of her octuplets was put on the auction block in 2012 after she defaulted on a loan. She tried to save it by filing for bankruptcy but a judge dismissed the case when she never completed the paperwork. She has gone on to live in rental houses.
7) AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS: Suleman’s porn video, “Octomom Home Alone,” won the 2013 AVN Award for Best Celebrity Sex Tape, the adult film industry’s equivalent of an Oscar.
8) WHO’S THE FATHER? Suleman, who was married from 1996 to 2008, has never publicly identified the father of any of her children. She has said it wasn’t her ex-husband, but a friend who donated the sperm used to create the 60 embryos that authorities say Kamrava implanted in her over the years.
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