Born and raised near the infamous 8 Mile boulevard in Detroit, Eminem nurtured his talent for rhyming to become one of the world’s greatest rappers and best-selling artists of all time. Along the way, the 49-year-old musician — real name Marshall Mathers — would go on to score a whopping 17 Grammy Awards and even a Best Original Song Oscar for “Lose Yourself” in 2003. He’s set to win over a new legion of fans when he performs the Super Bowl LVI halftime show on February 13 with his iconic hip hop peers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.
Despite all the fame and fortune, Eminem struggled with his personal life. In many of his early rap songs, the “Love the Way You Lie” hitmaker mentioned his strained relationship with his mother Debbie Nelson, who brought him up as a single mother. Details of their feud were often made public by both Eminem and Debbie. Keep reading to find out more about Debbie, below.
Where Was Debbie Born?
Debbie Nelson Mathers-Briggs was born in Missouri in 1955 on a military base to Bob and Betty Nelson, according to her memoir My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem. She said her parents fought constantly and eventually split, leaving Debbie to live with her mom, who worked the bar at a strip club. At the age of 15, Debbie married Eminem’s father Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr. In her memoir, Debbie said the decision was made in part to escape an abusive stepfather.
Debbie Was In Labor With Eminem For 72 Hours
Debbie gave birth to Marshall Mathers on October 17, 1972, after a difficult 72-hour labor. She nearly died due to blood poisoning and seizures, leading to a temporary coma, per her memoir. Born underweight and sick, Eminem would soon need hospitalization for pneumonia as well. Despite his illness, Debbie said she could tell he was quite the performer even as a newborn. “He knew exactly how to look at me from under his long dark eyelashes and put on a show,” she wrote.
Eminem Rapped About Debbie’s Alleged Drug Abuse
In the beginning of his career, Eminem never shied from accusing Debbie of abusing drugs. His song “My Name Is” includes the lyrics, “Ninety-nine percent of my life I was lied to/ I just found out my mom does more dope than I do (Damn!)/ I told her I’d grow up to be a famous rapper/ Make a record about doin’ drugs and name it after her (Oh thank you!).” On “Marshall Mathers,” he sings: “My f**kin’ bitch mom suing for 10 million/ She must want a dollar for every pill I been stealin’/ Shit, where the f**k you think I picked up the habit/ All I had to do was go in her room and lift up a mattress.”
Debbie Sued Eminem For $10 Million
Debbie took issue with the information her son was revealing in his songs and to the press and ended up filing a lawsuit against him in 1999, demanding $10 million dollars. She accused Eminem of slandering him in his songs and falsely accusing her of using illegal substances. After a lengthy legal battle — and a rap song from Debbie called “Dear Marshall” where she responded to Eminem’s lyrics — Debbie was awarded $25,000 in a settlement.
Eminem Ended His Feud With Debbie In A 2014 Song
Their bitter feud was finally put to rest in 2014 when Eminem apologized to Debbie on the song “Headlights,” in which he apologized for his past anger and thanked her for raising him. “Never thinking about who what I said hurt, in what verse, My mom probably got it the worst, The brunt of it, but as stubborn as we were, Did I take it too far?” he rapped. To show how far they had come in repairing the relationship, Debbie was even part of Eminem’s music video for the song. The pair are reportedly still on good terms today.