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Simone Biles recalls going hungry as a child before going into foster care

"I feel like I wouldn't be where I am unless that turning point happened," the star athlete said of being adopted by her grandparents.

Simone Biles recalls going hungry as a child before going into foster care
Cover Image Source: Simone Biles at Crosby Street Hotel on March 04, 2020, in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for SK-II)

Superstar gymnast Simone Biles opened up about her upbringing in a recent episode of her Facebook Watch series, Simone vs. Herself. The 24-year-old, who was placed in foster care as a toddler, spoke candidly about her biological mother and the challenges she and her siblings faced before they were eventually adopted. "I don't remember a lot about foster care, but I definitely knew that we had been taken from our biological mom and then you just think you're going to go back to her," Biles said in Tuesday's episode, titled Who Am I?


"We were very fortunate that we actually got to stay with our siblings because a lot of the time you either get regrouped from home to home to home or you and your siblings get split up," the Olympic gymnast added. Biles revealed that there were times when she and her siblings endured bouts of hunger while under the care of their biological mom. "Growing up, me and my siblings were so focused on food because we didn't have a lot of food," she said. "I remember there was this cat around the house and I'd be so hungry. They would feed this cat and I'm like, 'Where the heck is my food?' And so I think that's where it stemmed where I don't like cats is because this frickin' street cat, she always fed it, but she never fed us."


According to PEOPLE, a critical moment in Biles' life occurred around the age of six when her mother's parents, Nellie and Ron, adopted her and along with younger sister Adria. While they moved to Texas to be with their grandparents, their two older siblings — Ashley and Tevin — stayed in Ohio when they were adopted by their father's sister. Being removed from her biological mother's care and adopted by her grandparents, gave her a "second shot" in life, said Biles. "Being separated from my biological mom, being placed in foster care before I officially got adopted by my grandparents, it just set me up for a better route at life," she said.


"And I feel like I wouldn't be where I am unless that turning point happened. I would still be Simone Biles, probably not Simone Biles that everybody else knows, the world knows. But I also believe everything happens for a reason and I'm forever grateful for that because I definitely got a second shot at life," the athlete added. Biles, widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time, also revealed that her interest in the sport happened completely by accident.


"The first time I was exposed to gymnastics really was the day-care field trip," Biles said. "I don't ever remember watching it on TV or seeing pictures in a magazine. I just remember imitating all the older girls in the back gym and seeing if I could do it while I was in the front gym on the trampoline and the floor and just having a blast. Like, I just had fun." She then joined a class and despite being the smallest person in it, turned out to be much better than her classmates. "I didn't see the talent that I had and the pace I went, which was so much faster than my teammates," Biles said.


The star's boyfriend, NFL player Jonathan Owens, also made an appearance in the episode. "Her work ethic was the first thing that caught my eye. I'd never watch gymnastics before, when I first met I honestly didn't know who she was... The coolest thing for me is that I get to witness someone who is literally at the pinnacle of their sport, it's motivating just to see that and the impact that she has on people," he said of Biles.

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