GABBY’S MOM BANKRUPT
She battles debt as gymnast soars to stardom and massive wealth
By M.L. Nestel Monday, August 6, 2012
Just days after Gabby Douglas soared into the hearts of the world by winning gymnastics gold for Team U.S.A. at the Olympics, it’s been revealed that her hardworking single mom is bankrupt.
But Douglas — the 4-foot-11, 16-year-old Virginia Beach phenom known as “The Flying Squirrel” — is expected to rake in seven figures through endorsements in the coming months, meaning she can give her mother Natalie Hawkins, 42, an early retirement.
“The way their relationship is, I’m sure that Gabby would like to see her mother sit back, relax and kick back,” Gabby’s grand-uncle, Erskine Hawkins, 64, told The Daily in a phone interview from his Gary, Ind., home.
“Her mother has been struggling to do all she could for her children and now that Gabby made it big, it’s time for her mother to enjoy some of it.”
In February, Natalie Hawkins filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The filing claims she is $80,000 in arrears, mostly from a mortgage and a student loan.
It lists her as having assets totaling $163,706, with a townhouse in Virginia Beach and a 2007 Nissan Maxima accounting for the bulk of it.
Hawkins said the bankruptcy filing allowed her “to still be able to live and reorganize my debt in such a way that I could still pay what I owed.”
Since the filing, Hawkins has been making $408 monthly payments.
“It’s my story, it’s part of me. I’m not even embarrassed about it,” Hawkins said yesterday in London. “It shows that even though I didn’t like to have to do it, I’m glad there was something there for me to be able to protect my home.”
The mother of four took a second job to help increase her bank teller’s salary, and now pulls in roughly $2,500 a month, which includes Social Security and child support. Hawkins has been separated from Gabby’s father, Timothy Douglas, who is deployed in Afghanistan with the Air National Guard.
Their daughter’s agent has already fielded hundreds of emails from businesses, talk shows and magazines interested in Douglas, and her image is slated to appear on a Corn Flakes box.
The golden gymnast is estimated to become worth $2 million to $3 million over the next two years, according to a recent Forbes magazine profile.
“As a family, we all tried to contribute,” said Erskine Hawkins, who sent money to help the single mom get by. “Without family, where can you go?“
He added, “She hung tough and she did the best she could raising her kids as a single mother. Somehow she had enough to keep that girl going.”