Exclusive: Tyrese’s Ex-Wife Norma Breaks Silence, Opens Up About Child Custody Drama & Being Abused During Their Marriage

March 25, 2015  |  

For years, we’ve heard about all of the negativity surrounding singer Tyrese Gibson and his ex-wife Norma Mitchell. In addition to a pretty messy divorce, the two have had their share of legal disputes surrounding their 7-year-old daughter, Shayla. Their most recent run-in involved the actor Furious 7 claiming that he feared his ex would not bring their daughter back to the States following their upcoming vacation to Israel. The courts eventually ruled in Norma’s favor, as she and Shayla are set to take the trip later this week, but according to the artist and single mother, this has only been one of several of Gibson’s attempts to terrorize her.

“I just have come to a point where I felt that I really want to have a voice and speak up for myself,” Mitchell told MadameNoire regarding her decision to finally speak out. “It’s been a long time that I have been going through this and I just want to move on and move forward.”

Considering that this isn’t the first incident that has landed the former lovers in court, the single mother expressed that she didn’t have much of a reaction to last week’s fiasco.

“I’m not a flight risk. It was sad for me seeing myself called ‘Satan’ in the press. It really hurt my feelings. I would never take my daughter to live in a different country away from her father. And if I were going to do that, I wouldn’t be asking for her passport.”

Norma adds that it’s interesting that Gibson would even question whether or not she would return with Shayla. Apparently, there’s a clause in their custody agreement which was added on August 28 that prohibits both of them from traveling to countries that are not governed by The Hague Convention. Israel happens to be governed by The Hague.

“The Hague Convention protects against child abduction,” she explained. “For me to run off with my daughter to Israel is ludicrous. I wouldn’t even live there. I’m a British citizen. I feel like that wasn’t explained.”

The 7-day trip to Jerusalem will more than likely consist of celebrating Passover and catching up with relatives—including Mitchell’s mom, brother and grandmother.

“I’m just going to see my mom. My mom is from Israel and she’s in Israel with my grandmother who is too old to travel. Sometimes we only get to see them once a year. The last time we saw them was three years ago,” said Norma.

News of Mitchell’s upcoming trip to Israel led to many negative comments from misinformed people who have only negative views of the country. But the London native, who bears both Trinidadian and Israeli descent, expressed that the trip will be a safe one. Their itinerary includes visiting the Mount of Olives and going to temple for prayer.

Despite the continuous hardships faced while attempting to co-parent in such a hostile environment, Mitchell hopes to reach out and help someone else with her story.

“Seven years [of silence] is long enough. It’s not in my nature to try to harm someone else. I’ve always tried my best to keep it moving and keep to myself, but I’ve also become very aware that there are other women out there who are going through similar situations.”

She intends to provide this support through her women’s empowerment campaign, “Because I’m a Woman.” In addition to helping to build the self-esteem and confidence of these women, Norma hopes to equip them with information to assist them in understanding the court system here in America.

“There are a lot of women who are going through what I’m going through and they simply don’t have the resources to help them move forward and overcome the things that they’re going through.”

And who better to help guide these women than Norma, who represented herself in court against her ex-husband’s attorney—who sources say is paid approximately $900 an hour to handle his custodial disputes?

“I will do my best to make it known that emotional violence, verbal abuse and mental abuse is something serious and it happens to many women. A lot of men are using the legal system to control women and to put them in a state of fear. A few of the things that have happened to me that I know have happened to other women is being followed and surveyed. That’s not something fun. It makes you anxious. You know, just provoking you and harassing you with emails. That overwhelms women and it puts you in a fear state.”

For years, there were rumors and reports of domestic abuse in the former couple’s marriage. Mitchell confirmed to us that there definitely were some abusive moments.

“Yes, there was [physical and emotional abuse in my marriage]. Definitely. If you have this conversation with many women, they can tell you the exact same thing. Sometimes it’s so covert that you don’t know it’s happening until it’s happening.”

Because she never spoke out about her experiences, she admits that situations like the 2014 incident involving former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice made her feel a bit guilty.

“I felt so irresponsible at that moment because I wasn’t taking responsibility as a woman and using my voice to perhaps alleviate those blows. It starts with words and then it becomes physical, but the words are what linger. The physical abuse heals quickly, but the emotional keeps coming back because you’re so unsure of yourself.”

Sadly, abuse can sometimes even continue once a relationship has ended. During her time spent in court feuding with her ex-husband, Norma recalled seeing countless women in distress that became emotionally unraveled out of fear that their children may be taken away.

“A lot of men with money and more power, especially with passive women, are using the legal system to abuse these women. Then they can point the finger and say, ‘Look at her, she’s crazy,’ because one day you just explode and can’t take it anymore.”

We were also able to discuss how the public nature of the divorce and custodial woes have impacted her personal life. The single mother admits that all of the negative media coverage makes it difficult to do every day things such as promote her business and even to date.

“People Google people. People research. People look at that stuff and they believe it. It’s not okay, but I know that it happens.”

As for what she tells her daughter about all of the reports about herself and her ex-husband, Norma had this to say:

“I explain to her the reality of what media is. You just have to say, ‘The media puts a lot of stories out there. Don’t pay attention.’ I’ve talked to her about it and have educated her on other stories of people who have negative things in the media. She has an understanding that it’s like watching a movie. It’s not reality and that what we go through in our personal lives only makes us stronger.”

To learn more about the “Because I’m a Woman” campaign, visit YourFreeMind.org.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

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  • Denise King

    She is not a single parent. Stop saying single parent! My son’s father DIED. Single parent. Sheesh! ANNNDD…WE Don’t know the backstory! We know both MEN & WOMEN can use their children as pawns. These people know how to push EACH OTHER’s buttons. They didn’t get to this place based on ONE person. What’s the saying: There’s her story + his story AND there’s the REAL story that we won’t ever know. Joint custody should be automatic. Children are born to TWO parents. Women should not automatically get custody. This is an unjust system and I feel for men who have to resort to tactics to stay a part of their children’s lives or try to avoid tactics of the other parent. It’s not healthy for the children at all.

  • MrKeepIt100

    You people sit up here like you KNOW what you talking about. You don’t know. Its there problem, stay out of it. Not our business at all. People throw away marriages all the time. Its wrong! You can’t just place blame on one person. Tyreese needed a REAL BLACK WOMAN not some spoiled British chick. Yeah she look good but he made a bad choice in marrying her. He’s a solid dude, real recognize real. That half black lady is just a white girl with some color, culturally speaking, and you can tell and if she wasn’t then she wouldn’t have just left her man, period. She belong with a white man because that’s what she follow, that’s what she know, that’s what she believe in. It’s black men and women’s fault for getting into these interracial relationships and making these kids who will be confused later in life. Not all but too many just can’t take the heat, at all. Wake up!

  • nekkkyj

    Tyrese have always been conceited to me

  • Truthbetold

    I suppose it’s fair for a man who is well off…marries his secretary then once divorced pay her as if she’s the one who made the big bucks. Also, I cannot tell the countless time women use kids as bargaining chips…so spare me the woman victim syndrome.

  • Masterpieced

    I looked Celebrity Apprentice years back.I recall the wife of country singer, Trace Atkins and rocker, Brett Michaels (who won against Holly Robinson) both their white wives looked like common women you would see in a super market but their marriages survived serious illness.

    Why do our stars always go after the dubious-race looking women who later taken them for all their money? lol

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  • fromanotherplanet

    Is this really surprising to anyone?? Tyrese exhibits all the characteristics of an abuser; he’s always trying to police women on social media — telling them how to act, think, dress and function. Most of his rants are women-related and he gets very agitated when women do not abide to his way of thinking. I continue to side eye Taraji for his friendship with this turtle ninja looking nugguh. None of this surprises me. I’m glad this lady is finally having the courage to speak out. EXPOSE HA sis, EXPOSE HAAA!!!

  • Shonda

    I’m glad she spoke up. He is going to get exactly what he deserves. I will not support his movie because Ludicrous is just as dirty as he is. So, Fast and Furious 7 can kick rocks. Jerks…smh

    • Masterpieced

      I agree. He and Ludicrous choose the same look in women. Is it love or image? Hmmm

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  • jilliboo

    Tyrese stikes me as an overly emotional, potentially abusive man; so I fully believe his ex wife. He really is disgusting.

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  • Lucia

    Not too long ago Tyrese was heavily criticizing black women, as if we are ALL broke down and hideous. Turns out he is the hideous one. He belittles the mother of his child while praising white video girls. Tyrese is a hypocrite with is wide hips. I don’t like him.

  • Genia W-m

    That was a DEEP interview. Many men who abuse women either saw it growing up or they’re DL and don’t want to be in the relationship but want to have that public image.
    This woman has character. She remained silent for 7 long years. I can’t blame her for finally speaking out. Just like Steve Harvey never said a bad word about his ex-wife Mary who made all those Youtube videos about him saying he left her broke and destitute. I believed her until he finally spoke out and proved she had been receiving $40,000/month. That is NOT broke! Her credibility is shot with me. I’m not saying Steve was the best husband but don’t lie when telling your story.

  • bkabbagej

    “A lot of men with money and more power, especially with passive women, are using the legal system to abuse these women. Then they can point the finger and say, ‘Look at her, she’s crazy,’ Yes, Like Dwayne Wade, Deon Sanders, Luda, Usher and a few others I can’t think of right now. But these 3 especially dated, married, had children with them and depended on these women before they became rich and famous as soon as they didn’t want the relationship anymore, the women became crazy and too unstable to raise their own children (sometimes even babies couldn’t be left with their birth mothers), some of these women’s past poor judgments were used against them…sad. It’s just amazing how money can be used to do anything and people can support and uphold this craziness. If every child would be removed for a parents past mistakes almost every child would end up in foster care (because fathers make mistakes too), and alot of us would’ve been removed from our parents. If you can be unjustly convicted of a crime, you mean to say that all of these children were in such danger that they had to be removed from their mothers?

  • Herm Cain

    Oh bulls**t digger there’s two sides and the truth remember that black woman it’s never our business when sisters are painted in an unsavory light any negative pub for a brother has to be true FOH and did she have the nerve to say sucsessful men are using the legal system to abuse these entitled diggers who have been getting away with robbery(alimony) and unjustified amounts of child support since forever she sounds stupid or uninformed at minimum

    • bkabbagej

      Really so these men didn’t know these women were so called gold digger when the were digging for gold? Where’s the responsibility of the men to avoid having children with women they didn’t really know or only wanted them for their money? Men should have a certain level of standards in choosing women, and if it’s looks, an empty mind and materialistic values, then you reap what you sow! After the child is here and you’re taking them (the mother and child), to all the fancy places and being photographed in your mansion with your “family”, you decide after the shine has fell off you fake gold that she’s a bad parent and a gold digger…really. Take responsibility for you actions, put the child first(in some cases the baby), allow that mother to raise the child along with you and accept the poor choices you’ve made. Or cover-up, use protection and think BEFORE and not regret after!

  • Mina

    She looks pretty negro to me. But that’s neither here nor there. This woman has obviously been through alot and everything she is saying makes sense. These men portray themselves a certain way in the media and everyone loves the image that they portray; but, we don’t really know these men behind closed doors. Remember these men are paid millions of dollars to act on a daily basis. I’m sure the acting doesnt stop when the camera stops rolling. I am proud of this woman for finally speaking out and clearing her name.

    • Pedro Martinez

      About as negro as Joseline and Evelyn too.

  • biriwasham

    She doesnt really say how she was abused in this story. IMO

    • Nicky

      Yes she does. She explains how she was mentally abused.

      • darealwifey

        And she said that at times things were physical. She is being very delicate about the situation in this article, but she def said he put paws on her. SMH

        • Nicky

          She didn’t really explain and give examples of the physical or verbal abuse. I think the person I was replying to was looking for examples of instances that occurred for her to say those things.

    • wveronica7

      She said enough. He has said enough. We don’t need details. She has a daughter to protect from the media. Some things are understood

      • Genia W-m

        A person can only take so much. He’s been in the media she hasn’t. I’d come out and defend my rep too.

    • Charlotte

      I agree. Her sstatements seem a little vague.

  • Im just saying

    That’s what he gets for not finding someone who is of his own race..im not racist but alot of black men instead of bringing up beautiful black women they get caught up in other races true indeed they are beautiful also but Tyrese wouldn’t be going through this if he would have married,dated,and reproduced with his own race.

    • hi-liter

      Really? Come on now, you’re not that nieve are you? Because he is controlling, he would’ve gone through this with any woman regardless of her race. He is going through this because he is an arsehole.

    • Simmone NW

      She is mixed race. Her Trinidadian side of her family is black. You sure sound racist, ignorant and bitter!!

      • nini

        Not to mention Israelites are black people. Black people live in that place and are the true decendabtsnofnIsrarl. She is black on both sides. Learn your histort. Many hlavks in america are brain I mean white washed. Just google hebrew israelite. The whites there are not real jews and are called israelies the blacks are israelites. Time to stop sleeping black people.

        • nini

          I meant to type true decendants. Im at work…sorry.

    • Simmone NW

      She is mixed race. Her Trinidadian side of her family is black. You sure sound racist, ignorant and bitter!!

    • Pixie

      No let’s call it what it is, your comments are racist and sadly lack education. She is mixed race. If we just forgo the black Israeli descendants for one minute, as most people are not great with complex history, let’s look at the obvious Black Country -Trinidad! She is black. And actually Trinidad share very common roots with blacks in America.
      I don’t know who sold you those dreams but regardless, race makes no difference in this situation. If a man wants to control you he will do all he can to do it. He will pray on that weaker, vulnerable black/white/mixed/Hispanic/Asian girl to carry out his sadistic gender.

    • African Woman

      Funny you say that considering that his sexist misogynistic social media rants are usually directed at black women. Considering that he’s shown very little respect or love for women, especially black women, I wonder how you conclude he wouldn’t be in this situation if his ex had been black. Confused, very confused

    • Nicky

      What? This issue has nothing to do with race. But white women and women of other races can have Tyrese.

  • moniqhar

    wonder if Jodi is going to make a long axx rambling vid about this.. look like he needs to practice what he been preaching..

  • Umm Ashaad

    No one knows the reality of this situation, her word against his. I don’t personally know how he treated her or how she treated him, I believe people like to throw their past experiences on people and then judge from there.

  • Vdub2014

    I said it all along this man is a piece of shat! I remember when they did coverage on the divorce. He met her in the UK convinced her to marry him and move to the states. She had a baby by him, he cheated then dumped her and she was stuck not being able to leave the country. No real mother is going to leave their child behind. He blocked decent child support payments claiming he was broke meanwhile we’ve all seen him in the news buying luxury buses, clothes, jewelry, traveling to Dubai. He painted his ex-wife as a gold digger when in all actuality she was an educated woman that fell in love with a celebrity. It’s sad because I bet if George Clooney dumped his wife she wouldn’t be painted in the same light. There’s an issue in our society with this “baby mama drama” blanketing all women even the good ones. SMFH

    • wveronica7

      I agree.

  • mmmdot

    Like I said the other day: Tyrese’s behavior was suspicious and controlling. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how right I was. He’s the TYPICAL abuser who uses the courts to control his ex-wife. I hope this makes people have more sympathy for the women involved in these high profile child custody battles – they ONLY make up 20% of all divorce/separation cases in America and fathers are far more likely than mothers to make intentionally false accusations than mothers. Child custody battles are ABNORMAL, SUSPICIOUS, and highly indicative of abusive men. So sad and disgusted that she had to go through this. And I’m so proud of her for having the courage to share her story and trying to help other women.

    • wveronica7

      I agree. The fact that she didn’t feel compelled to smear him while he was smearing her says a lot about her character and volumes about him as a man. Things could have been done privately but no, he wants to tell the world the girl is satan…wtf. So childish. She is so better off and if she wants to move back to London with her daughter then she should. He has the resources to travel.

  • hi-liter

    You’re really looking like a piece of shat right now Tyrese.

    • MonicaElise

      “A lot of men with money and more power, especially with passive women, are using the legal system to abuse these women. Then they can point the finger and say, ‘Look at her, she’s crazy,’” <<<< This! So many celeb men go this route. They go through messy breakups and then start smear campaigns to paint a picture of an unstable, gold-digging woman unfit to parent and they have the legal and PR teams to do it with ease.

      • Nicky

        For example, Wiz Khalifa. Her and Amber need to get together…..and Blac Chyna.

      • d Dominican

        yeah like Luda

      • Femmebott

        Siovaughn Wade, anyone?

  • Taylor Bland

    What IS REAL is that, that $900 an hour could’ve went towards spending money for Shayla while in Israel, sometimes you have to humble yourself. Only God can be in control all the time, this is too much #sad

    • Nicky

      I am impressed that she won that case representing herself while Tyrese had to get a lawyer and paid $900 an hour.

  • HMMMMIJS

    Men like this are BITTER.

    • Lissa329

      I was thinking the same thing. Tyrese seems to have this arrogant energy about him that just reeks of bitterness and insecurity. Every time you turn around, he has a problem with some woman. I cant imagine being in a relationship with him.

      • HMMMMIJS

        Its the fame and the money.. It may have went to his head.

    • 1Val

      Men like Tyrese have mommy issues.
      He will never have a successful relationship with any woman until he resolves his hatred of his mother.

      • HMMMMIJS

        And everyone he interacts with will have to pay for it. That’s why when I date and if I date I’d like to see how you treat your mother.

        • Ang

          TvOne had a documentary last night about Baby Boy. He said it was hard for him to leave the character behind after filming because at the time his mother had been dating someone he didn’t like for 2 years. He said it in an arrogant way as if his mother needed his approval to date. Something about him just doesn’t seem right when he talks about women.

          • HMMMMIJS

            Wow. I wish I saw that. And he has a daughter!

          • Lissa329

            Yes!!! I did find his tone when he said that to be very odd smh.

  • Trini_Angel

    The only folks that always suffer are the kids

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