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If you were out on the town enjoying your Saturday evening, you missed out on the season premiere of Iyanla: Fix My Life, which was a very emotional, if not heartbreaking episode with enough family secrets to make your relatives look like the Brady Bunch. 

Despite all the issues folks have with Terrell Owens, it’s clear that a lot of his past behavior and controversy has a lot to do with his childhood, which was NOT a good one. After his mother gave birth to him at 17 after being impregnated by a married man much older, Owens was sent to live with his grandmother, whom he says never told him, “I love you.” And if that wasn’t enough, T.O.’s father wasn’t present in his life. While speaking with Iyanla, Owens opened up about finally meeting his father after he started having a crush on one of the girls who lived across the street from his grandmother’s house. When the two seemed to be getting too close, the father of the house, LC Russell, intervened and told him that Owens couldn’t date his daughter because she was actually his sister–and Mr. Russell was HIS father. All this happened at the age of 11.

I think anybody that was watching probably had their jaw drop at such a revelation, and eventually, Iyanla was able to get father and son together to talk, and Owens let his dad know that his heart had been broken by his absence (especially since the man lived across the street with his wife and children, but wasn’t physically there for T.O.).

“I think everything that has happened to me…I’ve been a product of my environment. I knew I wasn’t happy inside, but I always played it off. I put a smile on my face when I knew I was hurting and I was sad inside.  Even in relationships that I had with women, I really didn’t know how to have a relationship with them. Those are things that I know I probably should have been taught as a kid and I never was. I guess the question I should have asked years ago was, ‘Why wasn’t I told?’ Why did it take me to have an interest in my sister, a liking to my sister, for me to know who my dad was?

For me to live across the street and know that you were my dad and know that on that side of the street you had kids, you had a wife. That was a family and I wasn’t apart of that. I couldn’t understand or wrap my brain around why I was across the street and wasn’t apart of that. My mom was elsewhere and I’m staying with my grandmother and I didn’t have a dad.”

His father, Mr. Russell, responded by saying that he just didn’t know the right time to open up to Owens:

“Sometimes waiting on the right time goes a little further than, you know waiting on that right time to tell you. That’s the way it came out. It could have been sooner. It should have been sooner.

I was married. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I would like to have taken him fishing or to ball games. I have two outside kids so I had to work two jobs. I worked two jobs for 19 years to take care of them.”

Iyanla went on to say that part of Owens’ struggles to be there for his four children is because of the betrayal he dealt with as a child and not knowing Mr. Russell in his life. During the follow-up at the end of the episode, Owens said that he has been more in communication with his kids and is focused on building a career outside of football, and he’s also trying to build some kind of relationship with his estranged father. Really sad stuff folks…

Check out T.O.’s confrontation with his dad and his mother as he talks about making such a terrible discovery about his parents as a kid on the next page, and share your thoughts below.

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