Simone Biles revealed heartbreaking details about her childhood during a recent episode of her Facebook Watch show Simone vs. Herself.
The third episode of the series, “Who Am I,” took a deep dive into Biles childhood. When she was 6 years old, Biles and one of her sisters were adopted by their maternal grandparents after a stint in foster care.
“I don’t remember a lot about foster care, but I definitely knew that we had been taken from our biological mom, and then you just think you’re going to go back to her,” she said.
Her adopted mother, Nellie, said their biological mother couldn’t care for her four children because she was “doing a lot of drinking and drugs.” The children were removed from the home after concerned neighbors called the authorities. Two of the kids lived with an aunt in Ohio, while Biles and her sister Adria stayed in Texas with Nellie and her husband, Ron.
“We were very fortunate that we actually got to stay with our siblings because a lot of the time, you either get regrouped from home to home to home or you and your siblings get split up,” Biles said.
The gymnast also recalled a painful memory when she and her sibling struggled with food insecurity.
“Growing up, me and my siblings were so focused on food because we didn’t have a lot of food,” Biles said. “I remember there was this cat around the house, and I’d be so hungry. They would feed this cat, and I’m like, ‘Where the heck is my food?’ ”
“And so, I think that’s where it stemmed where I don’t like cats is because this frickin’ street cat, she always fed it, but she never fed us,” she added.
Despite her struggles, Biles honors that part of her story and its contribution to her success.
“Being separated from my biological mom, being placed in foster care before I officially got adopted by my grandparents, it just set me up for a better route at life,” Biles said at the end of the episode.
“And I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am unless that turning point happened,” the Olympian continued. “I would still be Simone Biles, probably not Simone Biles that everybody else knows, the world knows. But I also believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m forever grateful for that because I definitely got a second shot at life.”