Eminem has built an entire career out of his tough-guy reputation. Ruthless, resistant, unapologetic — the Detroit-born rapper is practically worshipped in the hip-hop industry despite his many past controversies. But as it happens, you can’t believe everything you see on screen.
Many aspects of his rough-and-tumble alter ego hide the fact that Eminem is actually a gentle and passionate father. He’s already proven to have a tremendous amount of pride for his biological daughter Hailie but many might not know that he’s also the adoptive father of two girls.
It takes a village to raise a child but Eminem went above and beyond to raise three daughters, two of whom he raised under circumstances he could have never imagined for himself. This is a man who was born into poverty, addiction, and abuse, but he still found it in himself to embrace fatherhood to the best of his abilities. It’s worth learning about his journey towards being a father-of-three because it can teach us a few lessons about love, passion, and empathy.
Eminem’s mother Debbie Nelson married his father Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr. when she was just fifteen. In her biography My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem, Nelson alleged that the reason she split with her husband was that he became physically abusive. Therefore, the senior Mathers was never around in his son’s life. Because his father was not committed to keeping in touch with his son, Eminem has no recollections of his father.
Eminem spent a lot of time with his father’s family but his father still wouldn’t bother with him. There were times when his father would call home and speak to other members of the family but he never asked to speak to Eminem, even though the young rapper was likely nearby, watching TV or coloring books. In terms of “father figures”, the rapper said, “I didn’t have any in my life.”
Eminem’s father tried to reach out to him after he became famous but Eminem was not having it. He said:
My father? I never knew him. I’ve never even seen a picture of him […] I heard my dad is trying to get in contact with me, but not now. I never got one letter. I never got anything from him and I think he could have at least tried to write. He could have done something – made an effort.
The story of how Eminem came to adopt his two daughters, Alaina and Whitney, is not straight-forward in the least. Alaina is the oldest of his three daughters and is biologically the daughter of Eminem’s ex-wife’s sister, Dawn Scott. She was born two years before Eminem’s biological daughter Hailie was born.
While Eminem and Kim Scott have always had rocky relations, Eminem didn’t hesitate to legally adopt his wife’s niece when he had the chance. It’s been alleged that Eminem and Kim took Alaina in because her biological mother Dawn had challenges with heroin addiction.
Regarding Alaina, Eminem has said:
I was always there for Hailie, and my niece has been a part of my life ever since she was born. Me and Kim pretty much had her, she’d live with us wherever we was at.
The story of Whitney’s adoption is even more confounding. Eminem and Kim were married twice; the first attempt lasted from 1999 to 2001, whereas the second marriage lasted for just three months in 2006. Between the two marriages, Kim had gotten herself pregnant by another man.
Though Eminem was furious, he decided to legally adopt Whitney as well and decided to raise her as his own daughter. Whitney’s biological father was known to be “on the run” for many years and little is known about him. Even Kim herself had trouble raising Whitney as she herself struggled with substance abuse issues.
Eminem is notoriously private about his personal life but he allegedly did share some words right after Whitney was born:
I’m in love with that girl, man. She’s so sweet and funny.
Though the rapper is tight-lipped about his personal life in interviews and such, he is much more forthcoming in his songs. In hit song ‘Mockingbird’, Eminem makes multiple references to his oldest daughter Alaina.
One of his lyrics about Alaina a.k.a Lainie goes as such:
Lainie, uncle’s crazy ain’t he/
Yeah, but he loves you girl and you better know it/
We’re all we got in this world
Another verse from the same song expresses his love at being her father:
Lainie, I’m talkin’ to you too, Daddy’s still here/
I like the sound of that, yeah, it’s got a ring to it, don’t it?
A lyric from ‘Going Through Changes’ includes references to all three of his daughters:
Hailie, this one is for you, Whitney and Alaina too / I still love your mother, that’ll never changeEminem in “Going Through Changes”
One possible reason as to why Eminem is reluctant as a whole to mention details of his personal life is that he is apologetic for when he revealed intimate details in his earlier songs. Though none of the daughters live with Eminem anymore, they were seen hanging out at his events. So it’s safe to say that it’s very much a blended, modern family unit.
As for how Eminem wants to raise his children, the rapper has always been clear about his philosophy of freedom of speech. He wants to set clear rules and boundaries but also wants them to live their truth. He said about fatherhood:
Bein’ a dad is definitely living a double life. As far back as I can remember, even before Hailies was born, I was a firm believer in freedom of speech […] Despite what people may think of me and what I say in my songs — you know, me and Kim have had our moments — I’m trying’ to teach them and make them learn from my mistakes. It’s almost like juggling — juggling the rap life and fatherhood.
There’s no denying that Eminem has made lots of mistakes when it comes to marriage and fatherhood. But the fact that he brought these girls into his life when they needed a parental figure speaks volumes about his character. As someone who’s been through addictions and deadbeat parents, he felt like he could break the cycle and make a difference in his daughters’ lives in a way his father couldn’t do for him.
It’s so easy to hold grudges about what our parents and communities have done to us and live our lives with carelessness. Especially when you’ve reached a little bit of success in your life. But to realize that others might need you in their worst of situations and doing something to help them out will go a long way.
Kindness can arise in the direst of circumstances and it’s up to you how you far you want to go to make someone’s day, week, or life better. Sometimes you can only do so much, whereas in other situations, like that of Eminem, you take on a lifelong commitment that ends up enriching your life.
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