Simone Biles had a difficult childhood before achieving worldwide recognition as a gymnast. Her biological mother was deemed unfit to raise her and her siblings, leading them to be placed in foster care.
Biles vividly remembers her time in foster care, where she would play in the backyard, complete her schoolwork, and talk to her older siblings through the vents while they slept in separate rooms. This memory remains with her, even after two decades.
Biles would frequently check on her brother by sneaking into his room at night, anxious about the possibility of waking up and finding him transferred to another foster home.
Today, Biles volunteers to supply clothes and school essentials to children in the foster care system. While some may view this as a mere publicity stunt, it holds a deeper meaning for the gymnast, who has experienced what it’s like to be in their shoes. Biles once stated:
“I know exactly how it is, and I know exactly how you feel being a foster kid. I can be a voice for them. I can help them, and I can tell them that they’re not alone and that it’s going to be okay.”
Biles is actively engaged with Mattress Firm Foster Kids, a program that conducts six annual drives to collect items beneficial to foster children and families. This initiative is associated with 115 non-profit organizations in 40 US states.
At the age of 26, Biles has an impressive collection of 32 Olympic and world medals, equalling Russian Larisa Latynina’s record. Biles has won seven Olympic medals, tying with Shannon Miller as the most successful American gymnast in the prestigious Games.
Biles firmly asserts that she is not the “next” anyone when compared to other athletes. “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps – I’m the first Simone Biles,” she would state.
At the age of 26, Biles has rightfully earned her place as one of the world’s most exceptional athletes. She has established herself as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, with no indication of slowing down anytime soon.
Biles first gained worldwide recognition at the age of 16 when she won two golds at the 2013 World Championships. She went on to win four more golds in 2014 and another four in 2015.
Simone Biles’ Dream Wedding
After captivating the world with her remarkable gymnastics career, Biles has put her athletic pursuits on hold. She recently tied the knot with her boyfriend, Jonathan Owens, in a simple court wedding.
The couple first connected on the dating app Raya and started a relationship. Owens proposed on Valentine’s Day 2022, presenting Biles with a 3-carat engagement ring while kneeling on one knee.
Rather than spending extravagantly on her wedding attire, Biles opted for a modest white tiered dress that cost only $120. Her heels, on sale for $35, were also budget-friendly, having initially been priced at $58.
The decorated gymnast completed her look with a sleek high ponytail, drop earrings, and a matching pendant necklace. The minimalistic appearance was appropriate for their court wedding, which was solely for legalizing their union in the United States.
The Owens had a much more significant wedding planned in Cabo, which took place on May 6. Although they didn’t put much thought into their US wedding, the preparations for their destination wedding took months.
For her grand wedding, Biles enlisted the services of a wedding planner to ensure that everything was perfect. She had Galia Lahav design her dress, which wasn’t what she had initially envisioned.
Mr. & Mrs. 🤍🕊️ pic.twitter.com/vLiB5x7zBv— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) May 8, 2023
Following all that has transpired, Biles’ biological mother was not present at any of the celebrations. In reality, she has been prohibited from communicating or visiting her children since the adoption papers were signed.
In an interview, Biles’ mother, Shanon, disclosed that Ronald, Biles’ father, did not permit her to have any contact with her children. Simone was just six years old at the time when she and her younger sister Adria were adopted.
Due to substance abuse, Shanon was unable to take care of her children and had to give them up for adoption after they were placed in foster care. At that time, Shanon was the only one taking care of her four children as Biles’ biological father had left the family when his children were very young. The children often went hungry, with Shanon giving priority to a stray cat that frequented their home when it came to food. Shanon admitted that it was difficult to give up her children, but she had to do what was necessary.
More pics!! So fun to be back together to celebrate @Simone_Biles & @jjowens_3 https://t.co/1jBFwkAd3z pic.twitter.com/vEKapjeOvQ— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) May 9, 2023
Biles recounted that her mother always made sure to feed their pet cat, but neglected to feed her and her siblings. This is why Biles developed a dislike for cats, as her mother prioritized feeding a stray over her own children.
As the situation at home became unbearable, concerned neighbors alerted social services, resulting in the removal of the four Biles children from their mother’s care.
Biles’ challenging upbringing served as a driving force for her to succeed in life and avoid ever experiencing similar hardships. While she doesn’t have many memories of her time in foster care, she vividly recalls being taken away from her biological mother and fearing the possibility of returning to the difficult circumstances she had endured.
For three years, she remained in the foster care system, eagerly anticipating visits from her grandfather. “”Whenever we had visits with my grandpa, I was so excited. He was the person I always wanted to see walk in the foster home,” Biles recalled.
Fortunately, her life took a turn for the better when her maternal grandparents stepped in and brought her and her younger sister under their care. At the age of six, shortly after her adoption, Biles was introduced to the world of gymnastics.
Robert and Nellie Taught Her Everything
During a daycare field trip to a gymnasium, Biles was introduced to the sport that would ultimately transform her life. After witnessing her natural ability, the coaches presented her with a note encouraging her to enroll in gymnastics classes.
Biles’ parents, Robert and Nellie, were delighted to support their daughter’s newfound passion. The accomplished athlete attributes her success to their unwavering dedication, which enabled her to pursue her dreams. Biles frequently expresses her gratitude towards her parents on social media, sharing their story with her followers.
Initially, it was a challenge for Nellie to fully embrace her grandchildren as her own children. While she made every effort to provide for and raise them, she struggled to connect with them on an emotional level.
However, there came a point when Nellie realized that she was willing to do anything for Simone and Adria, and that’s when she knew she had become a true mother. Despite not being biologically related to the Biles sisters, Nellie’s love for them transcended blood ties since Shanon was Ronald’s daughter from a previous relationship.
Despite the absence of a biological connection, Nellie opened her heart to her grandchildren and loved them as if they were her own daughters. “I don’t know the exact date, but my heart just made room,” she remarked.
Throughout Biles’ gymnastics career, Nellie remained a steadfast supporter. However, when Biles was in the 9th grade, she faced a difficult decision: continue with traditional schooling and sacrifice the opportunity to become an elite gymnast, or transition to homeschooling and pursue her dream.
Opting for the latter meant missing out on typical teenage experiences, such as attending prom or participating in extracurricular activities with peers. Nellie made it clear to Biles that homeschooling would entail sacrificing these aspects of a normal high school experience.
The decision to choose between traditional schooling and homeschooling was entirely up to Biles, as Nellie and Ronald didn’t pressure her into making a choice. Despite grappling with the weight of her decision and shedding tears for several days, Biles ultimately chose to pursue her dream.
Biles’ dedication to her craft was unwavering, even in the face of illness. Her parents remained by her side, providing unwavering support throughout her gymnastics career.
In 2013, when Biles was competing in a tournament near Chicago, Nellie extended an invitation to Shanon to watch her sister compete. Nellie believed it was essential for Shanon to see Simone perform, given their close relationship.
However, Shanon’s presence during the competition proved to be a source of confusion for both the audience and Biles. As a result, Biles became distracted and fell during her routine.
During the competition, Shanon went as far as to introduce herself to those in attendance as “Simone’s mom,” even though Nellie was present. Despite this incident, three months later, Biles went on to win her first world title.
The following year, Ronald and Nellie established the World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas. As Biles’ coach, Aimee Boorman, had to frequently change gyms based on her employment, the couple decided to open their own gym, allowing Biles to continue training with her.
The World Champions Centre has become a home not only to Biles but also to many aspiring gymnasts. Some families from Houston even travel 40 miles just to train at the gym, hoping that their daughters will one day become the next Simone Biles.
Over the years, Ronald and Nellie have received numerous comments from friends acknowledging how their decision has influenced the history of gymnastics. One friend wrote on Facebook, “”Your choice years ago literally impacted the history of gymnastics.”
At the Tokyo Olympics, Biles withdrew from several events, which drew criticism from some quarters. However, she defended her decision by saying that it was her greatest victory because, for once, she prioritized her mental health.
For the first time, her parents were not in the stands to support her, and Biles felt disoriented. She said that the situation at the Olympics was unlike any other.
“We’re quarantined in our rooms and can only come out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everyone expected us to perform in a certain manner,” she recalled.
When Biles returned home to Houston after withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics, the first thing she did was see her parents, whom she holds in high regard as role models. She finds comfort in their love and support and values the advice they give her.
In fact, Biles revealed that her mom, Nellie, often gives her advice on various matters. During the Olympics, Biles posted on Instagram about how much her parents mean to her shortly before deciding to withdraw from the competition.
Undercover video reveals brutal treatment of Falun Gong prisoners inside Chinese labor camps