Tami Roman has been on reality television for decades. So we have the tendency to think we know her story. But a recent sit down with TV One’s “Uncensored” prove that we don’t know the half. Tami has been through some unimaginable obstacles like living out her mother’s car in Los Angeles, the physical abuse at the hands of a teenage boyfriend, particularly the time she was kidnapped, held hostage and sexually abused over the course of four days.
Check out the more memorable stories she shared on “Uncensored” below.
Sexual abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend
My mom divorced my stepfather because there was infidelity in the relationship and she was the type of person who wasn’t going to stick around for that. But she was a young, cute, hot momma so she ended up with somebody else. Because she worked three jobs, I was in the care of this man a lot of the time and I guess it got too much for him, with his perverted self. And he decided that he wanted to take on me as well. It was unfortunate because at the time, I didn’t really understand what was happening to me at eight-years-old. I felt it was wrong. I felt I was wrong. I felt I was at fault, not understanding that it was something wrong with this individual. My mom decided that she didn’t want to be with him anymore and I couldn’t have been more thankful because I don’t think anybody understands what that feels like emotionally, what you’re doing to a young child when you take away their innocence. So when, she said she was going to California, I was ret to go.
I didn’t tell my mom I had been molested until I was well into my late thirties. Because my mother’s the type of person—she doesn’t deal well with information like that. She’’s going to find you and put you six feet under. I knew that if I had told her in her younger days, she was going to have a body on her head. I waited until I was able to actually deal with it and understand why I was dealing with my relationships a certain way, why I was interacting with people a certain way. Because I was angry about a lot of the things I had gone through. But once I told my mother, she was very understanding, very loving. And umm she took a trip to New York. I don’t know what happened. I’m unsure. He’s not on Facebook.
Moving in with her high school boyfriend
After living out of her mother’s car for some time, Tami’s mother eventually found a job driving a Greyhound bus. But the job was located in San Francisco, away from the life they’d built in Los Angeles. As a solution, Tami’s mother spoke to her boyfriend’s mother and asked if Tami could live with them until she finished school.
“I then had to live with my boyfriend at the time. My mom sat his mom down and said, ‘You know what we’ve been going through. I found a job. It’s not here. Can she stay here with you guys until she finishes school?’ And I thought that was going to work out. But this person that I was living with, she was just mean and evil and I had no idea until I ended up in his space full time. Literally, every day I would come into the house, he would punch me in the face, try to fight me, try to beat me up. Every single day. And I didn’t want to tell my mom about it because I knew she was trying to collect checks so we could be back together. And I knew I just had to sit there and endure that.
One day, I decided that I’m not gon let you keep hitting me in the face. That’s not what I’m going to do. So I went to the mall and got a job at Wilson’s Suede and Leather. I would come home from work, and it was like, ‘What you been doing? *BAM*’ And I just was like, ‘Ok Tami. Keep going to work, keep getting your checks.’ And I stacked up four checks. I remember it. And they were like, ‘You’re so good. You’re catching on so quickly. We want to make you the assistant manager.’ So that meant a couple more dollars. I took the position and I worked that job for two months and saved every check. One day, I said I was going to work, went out, cashed my check. Found a studio apartment on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. Had no credit. The man was in his apartment building painting. And I went in there and I said, ‘Look’— it was a real Tina Turner What’s Love Got To Do With It moment. I was like, ‘Sir, I ain’t got no credit. And I don’t have the first and the last. But I work everyday and I work everyday and I got this money right now. If you could give me this apartment.’ And he did.
That moment taught me what I could really do, what I could really accomplish when I put my mind to it. Circumstances aren’t going to always be how you envision them. Things aren’t going to always play out, the way you want them to. And you gotta be able to rise to the occasion and fight your way though. So it wasn’t about fighting him back, it was about fighting for myself and fighting my way out of that situation.
Being held hostage and sexually abused
Tami formed a singing group with a few women. She was riding around with one of the members when the two were approached by a man who would later hold them hostage for days.
“One of the members and I were riding to go to a session and she stopped to get gas. And when she stopped to get gas, this guy pulled up on the side of us and it was like, ‘Hey.’ And he gets out, banged on the window. ‘Let your window down.’ Reached in the car, snatched off all my jewelry, fondled a little bit. And she was like, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ Got in the backseat of our car and made me drive to a warehouse. Now, once we got to the warehouse, he just was not happy that he had taken the jewelry, that he had taken the money. He wanted to take something else too. So, for four days, I had to be trapped with this guy, my friend and I and sexually abused for four days—at his leisure. I’m telling these stories and I’m thinking, ‘you done been through some sh*t.’ I didn’t think that I would live through that. But in actuality, I had already lived through it. I had already lived through a moment of somebody sexually violating me. So it just became a moment of ‘Let him do and hopefully, he’ll let me go.’ And that’s ultimately what happened.
Once he let us out, we got back in our car. I drove back to the valley which is where I was living. Dropped her off in Hollywood, which is where she was living. And I just kept it to myself. Things that I go through, I don’t tend to open up about them or share them. All I’ve ever seen is strength so I never wanted to appear like I had been broken down or that I have not fought through every situation. Because my mother was a very ‘Get over it and get on with it’ type of person. So that was my mentality. ‘Ok, I’m still here. Get over it and get on with it.’
Deciding to document her abortion on “The Real World”
Most people know that on “The Real World” I had an abortion, pregnancy termination on the show. And when I decided to show that journey, for me it was dealing with all the emotional roller coaster of ‘Should I do this? Should I not do this? Should I have a child? Should I not have a child? Am I ready? No I’m not ready. I’m still trying to get me together. I can’t help somebody else until I can help myself.’ And ultimately, the best decision for me was to terminate the pregnancy. And I wanted to show people by example, be responsible! Because this is hard to go through. You don’t want to have to terminate your child. And also, you want to be with the person, in love with the person that you’re having this child with and I had none of that. So, for me, that was the decision that I made. And I wanted any other young girls out there, that were living in that manner to see the repercussions of that type of action. Did it go that way? I took a lot of flack for doing that. It’s always been a closed, behind the door topic and I put it right there on front street.
There were parts of my story that were actually cut out. I actually had complications with my termination because I had twins. So when I went in for the first, they only got one. And then I was bowled over in pain, still bleeding, going through a lot of complications and had to go back in and that’s when they found that there was a sibling to the original termination. I was laid up for about four and half weeks from taping.
You can watch more of Tami’s full interview, where she discusses the beginning and ending of her relationship with Kenny Anderson, dealing with the death of her mother and more, here.