Kari Ann Peniche

Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

Kari Ann Peniche is not just the hot mess with a troubled past who made the (temporary) jump from obscurity to infamy faster than you can say Rick Salomon.

Oh, no. The "quality hang" of Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart is so much more than that.

And so much more than the reality TV-starring, bikini-designing, Playboy-modeling, Aaron Carter-betrothing, sexual abuse- and domestic violence-surviving, Lutheran soccer-playing, high school-cheerleading, drug-recovering, title-losing Miss United States Teen she once was.

Just ask her mother.

"We are disappointed," Lee Ann Peniche tells E! News. "She's 25 years old and she has made some poor choices."

Yikes. If that's coming from her mom, we'd hate to hear what her detractors are saying.

Not that Lee Ann's love is anything but unconditional for her clothes-averse daughter.

"She is upset," Mama Peniche, who spoke with Kari Ann just yesterday, continues. "I am certain she is being coached to keep her chin up."

And, one would hope, clothes on.

"Things came very easy for Kari," says the elder Peniche. "She was really fun. She was everyone's best friend.

"She played soccer all the way to her senior year in high school and was a cheerleader. She went to a small Lutheran school. She was just an amazing person.

"Growing up, this is a young lady who had a wonderful life."

Not to hear her tell it.

Last year, the newly minted viral video star told Steppin Out magazine that between the ages of 4 and 7 she was molested by a neighbor, and was raped by a stranger when she was just 13.

Four years later, Kari Ann said that she was raped a second time, while on a modeling assignment in Korea. She said that after the assault she "woke up behind a dumpster."

"I don't know anything about that," Lee Ann tells E! News of her daughter's alleged abusive past. "I can assure you Kari lived a very good life. She was raised very well and that type of story I would strongly question."

One story she absolutely does not question, however, is the severe domestic abuse Kari Ann suffered at the hands of an ex-boyfriend.

Peniche told Steppin Out that she entered into an troubled relationship with a Los Angeles doctor when she was 19, after being introduced by her mother.

"In the beginning it was great. But the last seven months turned really, really bad. It ended up with the Santa Barbara police breaking down a hotel door to find me lying in a pool of my own blood."

Kari Ann eventually filed charges against the man, whom she blames for introducing her to heroin and cocaine—the latter of which she said she used to "numb herself," and for which she recently sought treatment on Celebrity Rehab 3.

Lee Ann confirms that the man served time in jail for the incident and Kari returned to the family home in Oregon for about seven months before heading back to California.

"She went back [to L.A.]," Lee Ann tells E! News. "But her dreams were crushed when that happened."

The incident took place after then-20-year-old Kari Ann was crowned Miss United States Teen, a title she was stripped off after she decided to pose for a Playboy spread mid-reign and the pictures, as they inevitably do, leaked out.

However, with the scandal and abusive relationship behind her, she returned to Los Angeles and soon found herself in a relationship with Nick—yes, Nick—Carter.

After their relationship of several months came to an end, an unlikely suitor came a-calling.

"I don't know what Aaron was doing," Kari Ann told E! News last year of her brief 2006 engagement to the pop star.

"We were just friends, and I hadn't seen him in a year and a half, and I met him on a Thursday and he proposes to me on Saturday."

Six days later, the couple wisely called off their engagement and as recently as last year, Kari Ann seemed content following a new career path: designer.

"She is so talented," says Lee Ann. "Her swimming suits are absolutely gorgeous."

However, Peniche couldn't quite kick her drug habit and this year agreed to participate (alongside Mindy McCready, as it happens) in Celebrity Rehab—a commitment, her mother says, she followed through to the end.

"She was not kicked off the show like some people are saying," Lee Ann says. "We went to her graduation."

As for what may come of Kari Ann's latest scandal, while her mother says that her "only concern is for her daughter," she's not exactly holding out hope that she'll return to her roots.

"We are a really normal family up here...we are all very close, but you have times in your life when you are really close and right now Kari is doing something very different from us, and she's a grown woman and I have tried, but there's no way to get her back."


Like your news a little more G-rated? Check out what other stars are making the fully-clothed rounds in our Big Pic gallery.

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