Before she became famous, Girls Trip actress and comedienne Tiffany Haddish underwent many hardships, says she suffered abuse by her mother and now-ex-husband and was molested in foster care.
The star, who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, details her experiences in her memoir The Last Black Unicorn, which hits stores on Tuesday.
Here are some of most shocking details from the book:
1. Illiterate Until High School: Haddish writes that she "straight up could not read or write" and had a first or second grade reading level until the ninth grade, where she took AP classes regardless. She said she would get people to read things to her and was able to "game school" because the rules were "bulls--t." She said school kids and her mother, step-father and grandmother called her stupid. Haddish said a teacher eventually found out she couldn't read and gave her private lessons.
2. Abused by Mom: Haddish's mom and grandmother raised her for much of her adolescence, after her dad left when she was 3. She says that when she was a little kid, her mother suffered a head injury in a car accident and that after the crash, her mother acted differently towards her, even telling her she hates her and calling her ugly. Tiffany writes that when she was 9, her mother started beating her.
Haddish, the oldest child in her family, wrote that she and her younger siblings were put in foster care after her mother got into a fight with a male neighbor, hit him with a two-by-four, and accidentally hit his baby. The child was uninjured. Haddish says the police were called and her mom was placed under an involuntary 5150 hold, after which doctors diagnosed her with schizophrenia. She was later admitted to a state mental facility.
3. Foster Care Molestation: Haddish said she spent time in foster care between ages 13 and 18. She said she was bullied, slapped, was made to clean and cook, was exposed to marijuana smoke and was molested. Only she didn't know it at the time.
She also said that at age 13, the live-in father of one of her foster mothers offered to suck on her breasts to help them grow after he caught her stuffing toilet paper in her training bra. She said she started letting the man do it every day for 15 minutes before she left for school. Haddish said years later, at age 19, she told a friend about it, thinking that it was truly done to make her breasts grow. She said the friend told her she was actually molested.
"In my mind, 'molested' meant somebody hurt you in some kind of way," she wrote. "Like, they took something from you that you didn't want to give. And what the old man did never hurt. It didn't necessarily feel good, either, it was just whatever. And he never tried nothing else with me, not even once. It was just like—in my mind—he was helping me out."
4. Abuse by Ex-Husband and Miscarriage: Haddish married and divorced the same man twice. She said he was violent towards her during their relationship and jealous. She said he visited her while she was at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and got angry while she was talking to fellow comedy star Tom Green.
"He grabbed me by the collar, he was like, 'It's time to go to the room now,' in front of everybody," she wrote. "Just snatched me by my shirt, and pulled me to the elevator and threw me in it...once we got to our hotel room, he was so quick. He snatched me by the neck and slammed me into the wall."
She said things got bad between them that at one point, she went to a police station, which was closed, then called the police and said, 'Ya'll need to lock me up, because I'm about to kill my husband.' She said officers came out and saw the bruises, cuts and scrapes on her body and called an ambulance for her. She said her ex was arrested. The next day, she had a miscarriage. She didn't know she was pregnant.
5. Abortion Dance: Haddish wrote that in her early twenties, she had had a previous unplanned pregnancy while dating a man. She did not want to have his child and did not feel ready to become a mother in general. She said she also felt terrible about the idea of having an abortion, "like I was going to go to hell for this" but ultimately felt she would "rather go to hell and die without a baby on Earth, suffering, than have a baby here on Earth that suffered."
She got an abortion and after she woke up from the procedure, she said she jumped out of the bed and started to dance.
"I'm free!! I'm free!! Thank God almighty, I am free!" she shouted.
6. Like The Help: Like the movie The Help, Haddish got revenge on an ex who cheated on her and filmed a sex tape with another woman by serving him a special surprise. She said she pretended she wanted to get back together, went over to his house and gave him his Air Jordans, which she had defecated in.
The ex had filmed a sex tape with the girl he cheated on her with. Haddish said she had a bootlegger splice in footage from it in Charlies Angels VHS tapes she had sent to members of his family. Needless to say, they were not happy.
The Last Black Unicorn is available now.