Real co-host Jeannie Mai Jenkins says “trust problems” from sexual abuse she endured as a child meant she didn’t want to have children of her own for years – but now she’s excitedly waiting for the birth of her firstborn.
The 42-year-old and her husband, rapper Jeezy, are expecting a baby after IVF, but Jeannie admitted in a new episode of her YouTube show Hi Hunnay that she is still concerned about whether she will be able to protect her child the way she was not protected herself.
“It still scares me whether or not I can protect a child from someone else who could hurt him,” she admitted.
But she’s also hopeful: “I’m so grateful because I’ve never felt so ready. I’ve been through so much, I’ve survived and I’m radiant. My heart is ready. I was meant to be a mother.’
Jeannie Mai Jenkins, co-host of Real
“It still scares me whether or not I can protect a child from someone else who could hurt them,” she admitted
The 42-year-old and her husband, rapper Jeezy, are expecting a baby after IVF
“As a kid, when you’re taken away from things that feel good and whole and safe, it’s hard to see anything as reliable in the future,” said The Real co-host.
According to People“Jeannie was adamant for years that she didn’t want children. She and her ex-husband Freddy Harteis, who she was married to from 2007 to 2018, never had one.
She said she did not trust herself with the protection of a child, citing her own experiences as a vulnerable child who was injured and had no one to turn to.
About 2019, Jeannie opened a relative babysitting her when a child abused her. She was only nine when the young man, who was 16 or 17, started to touch her and let him touch him.
It went on through her teens, but when she finally told her mom what was going on, her mom didn’t believe her — so Jeannie ran away.
“People who have been through a lot of trauma are constantly burdened with the fear that something bad is going to happen,” she said.
“What I’ve decided to do is face my fears and do everything I can to understand where it’s coming from so I know it’s not real,” she said (pictured with Jeezy)
She said, “I’m so grateful because I’ve never felt so ready. I’ve been through so much, I’ve survived and I’m radiant. My heart is ready. I was meant to be a mother’
Upsetting: Jeannie (pictured as a child) said a family member who babysats her started sexually abusing her when she was nine
“As a kid, when you’re taken away from things that feel good and whole and safe, it’s hard to see anything as reliably forward,” she admitted in her new YouTube video.
“I realize the reason I didn’t want kids is because that feeling when I was a kid was so real and so damaging that I’m 42 now and still dealing with trust issues and self-confidence.
“People who have been through a lot of trauma are constantly haunted by the fear that something bad is going to happen after this,” she continued.
“What I’ve decided to do is face my fears and do everything I can to understand where it’s coming from so I know it’s not real.”
When she finally told her mother she was being abused, her mother didn’t believe her – so Jeannie ran away
On a previous episode of her YouTube show, Jeannie sat down with her mother, Olivia TuTram Mai, and talked about the abuse she had suffered.
The talk show host said that after the birth of her second brother, her mother had to look for a second job that required her to be away from home more.
“We needed to find a nanny, so we called a relative,” Jeannie recalls. “This relative came by every day and stayed with me after school and became a really cool, iconic person in my life. This person was about 16, 17 and I was nine.’
Though she didn’t name her abuser, she said she looked up to him and they became “very close” until their relationship took a disturbing turn.
“I just remember one day this person was sitting really close to me, we were playing video games and he started touching my thigh,” she said, explaining that she rationalized touching by reminding herself that he was a relative.
“I was also just stunned because I had never been touched so intimately before, so I couldn’t tell if it was wrong, I just knew I noticed. I was almost telling it in my head.’
On a previous episode of her YouTube show, Jeannie sat down with her mother, Olivia TuTram Mai, and talked about the abuse she had endured.
Jeannie said that “the touching took a little longer each day” until he took her clothes off.
“I remember him pulling me into the shower and it was the first time I saw a grown man and what he looked like – still nine years old – I remember him telling me to touch him a certain way .’
“This happened every day for a few weeks, then it turned into months and I remember a year going by,” she added. “I didn’t say anything because I was scared.”
Jeannie’s parents were struggling with money at the time and she knew they needed a nanny. She said her abuser convinced her that her parents would be mad at her if she told them what was going on.
When she was about 13 or 14 years old, she tried to confide in her mother and begged her to get another nanny without revealing the abuse.
“I remember you were confused,” Jeannie told her mother. ‘She didn’t get it.;
“I didn’t realize what you were trying to say,” Olivia recalled.
Jeannie was devastated that her mother didn’t believe her, and she ran away from home at age 16 and moved to San Francisco
When the abuse became “more aggressive” a year or two later, she told her mother what was going on, but she didn’t believe her.
Olivia said she struggled with the allegations because she had known the relative since he was a year old. What Jeannie said didn’t match the person she thought she knew.
“I started to get angry because now I’m telling my mom he’s taking my clothes off and you said, ‘I don’t believe you,'” she recalled tearfully.
Looking back, Olivia said she should have confronted him, but instead ignored what Jeannie was trying to tell her.
“If I don’t believe it, I’ll just let it go,” she said. “I don’t see anything bad about him.”
Jeannie was devastated that her mother didn’t believe her, and she eventually ran away from home at age 16 and moved to San Francisco.
After a breakup of nearly nine years, Jeannie reconnected with her mother and was able to make her understand the abuse she had to endure at the hands of their relative.
“I really listened to her every detail,” Olivia said. ‘I was really shocked. It was real.’
The mother said she confronted her daughter’s abuser and he begged her not to report him to authorities. Jeannie said she never knew her mother was going to see him.
“I wish you told me you were going to his house. You never told me that,” Jeannie said through her tears. “That part is all I needed to know that you supported and defended me.
‘That’s all I needed to know. That you believed me and that you listened and that you were going to try to do something about it. I just needed your support,” she explained.
“I feel like you released something in me because you believed me.”