Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles’ Biological Mother Talks Addiction and Recovery

By Kelly Burch 08/12/16

Shanon Biles, mother of Olympic sensation Simone Biles, has set out to clear the air about her history of addiction and her relationship with her daughter.

Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles’ Biological Mother Talks Addiction and Recovery
Simone Biles Photo ABC News/YouTube

As Team USA gymnast Simone Biles is dominating at the Rio Olympics, her biological mother has opened up to TMZ about her experience with addiction and recovery. 

Shanon Biles lost custody of Simone and her sister when the two were toddlers because of drug and alcohol issues. Now, however, she says that she has been clean and sober and loves her daughters. “I was struggling back then, but I’ve gotten better and life goes on,” Biles told TMZ. “That’s my past and it should be left in the past.”

Biles expressed frustration about how she has been portrayed in the press and by her father, Ron Biles, who along with his wife Nellie (not Shanon’s biological mother) adopted Simone and her sister after they were placed in foster care as toddlers.  

Explaining the family’s history, Ron Biles said to reporters, “Simone was born as my granddaughter. Her mom had many problems with drugs and alcohol, and the kids were taken away from her.”

“I feel like he didn’t have to be so harsh about it ... he didn’t have to put me under the bus like that,” Shanon Biles said. 

Simone Biles’ family was thrust into the spotlight this week, after NBC commentator Al Trautwig tweeted about Ron and Nellie, “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.” 

Despite the media's fascination with her family, Simone has been perfectly clear through her amazing career about who her parents are: Ron and Nellie. When asked to comment on her headline-making family situation, Simone put it simply: “I personally don’t have a comment. My parents are my parents and that’s it.”

As for Shanon Biles, she is proud of her biological daughter’s accomplishments. Biles said she has been able to reestablish a relationship with Simone since getting sober in 2007. “I was invited when she won her first championship in 2014,” Biles said. “We went on a cruise together in 2009. That was like a family reunion.”

She said that she speaks to Simone about every three months. “I speak with her when I can. She’s very busy.” However, it is clear that Shanon Biles is proud of Simone and her gold medal career. “I’m so proud,” she told TMZ Sports. “I’m ecstatic. Speechless.” 

Watch Shanon Biles give her side of the story:

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.