Nadya Suleman, A Mom Of Octuplets Celebrates Their 15th Birthday

Nadya Suleman, known as “Octomom,” had octuplets in 2009 after already being a mom of six

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Octomom Nadya Suleman
Nadya Suleman working out in July 2023; Nadya Suleman three weeks pregnant with her octuplets. PHOTO: NADYA SULEMAN/INSTAGRAM

Natalie (née Nadya) “Octomom” Suleman became a household name in 2009 when she welcomed the first surviving octuplets in history.

Suleman was already a mother of six children — Amerah, Calyssa, Elijah, Caleb, Joshua and Aidan — when she gave birth to her octuplets Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Josiah, Makai, Maliyah and Nariyah.

Unemployed at the time of their births, Suleman soon turned to various ventures to support her family of 15, including a nude photo shoot, pornography, boxing and an effort to trademark her “Octomom” nickname.

She stepped away from the spotlight in 2013, something she said she’d wanted to do since she first became famous.

“There was definitely a catalyst — my girls, particularly my oldest daughter Amerah,” Suleman told PEOPLE in 2016. “She was about 10, and she started integrating my traits and behaviors.”

She continued, “After I had observed my daughter beginning to emulate me, I saw her going down that same potentially destructive path, and I realized at that moment I’d rather be homeless in my van with all 14 kids than continuing down this path. It was not what I wanted for my children.”

From caring for her family to working part-time, here’s everything to know about where Octomom is now.

Who is Nadya Suleman?

Nadya Suleman, rear center, poses with some of her children at their new home in Palmdale, Calif. From left, back row, are Makai, Noah, Suleman, Nariyah, on her lap and Isaiah; from left front, Jonah, Josiah, Maliyah and Jeremiah
Nadya Suleman, rear center, poses with some of her children at their former home in Palmdale, California, in October 2012. From left, back row, are Makai, Noah, Suleman, Nariyah, on her lap and Isaiah; from left front, Jonah, Josiah, Maliyah and Jeremiah.AP PHOTO/ANTELOPE VALLEY PRESS, RON SIDDLE

Born in Fullerton, California, on July 11, 1975, Suleman is the first person on record to have surviving octuplets.

Suleman was already a single mother of six when she gave birth to her octuplets on Jan. 26, 2009, and quickly became a tabloid and TV fixture. However, she says that the “Octomom” that the world knew wasn’t representative of her true self.

“I was pretending to be a fake, a caricature, which is something I’m not, and I was doing it out of desperation and scarcity so I could provide for my family. I’ve been hiding from the real world all my life,” she told The New York Times in 2018.

She added that she had “PTSD” from being hounded by reporters at her home but that she felt she needed the media coverage to make ends meet.

“I was spiraling down a dark hole,” she told the outlet. “There were no healthy opportunities for Octomom. I was doing what I was told to do and saying what I was told to say. When you’re pretending to be something you’re not, at least for me, you end up falling on your face.”

How did Octomom have eight babies?

Octomom Nadya Suleman
Nadya Suleman with her mom and eight babies when they were infants in 2009.NADYA SULEMAN/INSTAGRAM

Suleman claimed she was implanted with octuplets without her knowledge, while her doctor says she pushed for the implantations, per The New York Times.

In 2008, Dr. Michael Kamrava, a fertility specialist who previously performed in-vitro fertilization to help Suleman have her previous six children, implanted her with 12 embryos simultaneously. Out of that dozen, eight resulted in live births. It reportedly took 46 doctors and nurses to perform a C-section on Suleman when she went into labor at 31 weeks of pregnancy. While the babies were underweight (the smallest weighing in at 1 lb., 8 oz., according to The New York Times), they all survived.

Suleman told The New York Times that she wanted to have twins, not octuplets. She alleged that Kamrava “misled” her and told her while she was on narcotics and on a gurney that they lost the first six of her embryos he’d implanted and that he needed to implant another six. A friend of Kamrava denied the allegations and said Kamrava was merely complying with Suleman’s wishes.

In June 2011, Kamrava’s medical license was revoked, Reuters reported, with the California state medical board accusing him of “gross negligence” in Suleman’s case, as well as with two other patients.

Who is the father of Octomom’s kids?

The father of Suleman’s 14 children, including her octuplets, is a sperm donor whose identity hasn’t been revealed publicly. The children haven’t yet met him, she told The New York Times in 2018, noting, “Maybe the kids will meet him at 18, the donor. I don’t know.”

She previously told PEOPLE that she paid “a certain amount of money” for the donor’s sperm.

“Not too much, but just enough so he knew that there were boundaries there,” she explained. “I wanted those boundaries to be really firm and know that this is a business arrangement.”

How does Octomom support her family?

Octomum Nadya Suleman and her large family plus helpers launch their signature Milkshake at 'Millions of Milkshakes' on November 10, 2010
Octomum Nadya Suleman and her large family plus helpers launch their signature Milkshake at ‘Millions of Milkshakes’ on November 10, 2010.TOBY CANHAM/GETTY

Prior to becoming a mom, Suleman worked at a mental hospital until 1999, when she injured her back during a patient riot, the Associated Press reported. She used some of her subsequent disability payments to afford her IVF treatments.

After having her octuplets, Suleman worked as a stripper and appeared in Celebrity Boxing, an X-rated video and a nude photoshoot to make ends meet for her kids, as well as a $5,000 PETA ad supporting spaying and neutering animals. In April 2012, she filed for personal bankruptcy after her home was foreclosed, The Los Angeles Times reported, asserting she had $50,000 in assets and $1 million of debt; the petition was later dismissed for incomplete paperwork.

In January 2014, Suleman was charged with welfare fraud for not reporting $26,000 of income she earned in 2013. She pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor charge, CNN reported that July, and was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service, as well as to pay back the $26,000 in restitution.

While she previously courted fame to provide for her kids outside of public assistance, Suleman’s current job is much more low-key: In 2018, Suleman told The New York Times that she was working as a counselor full time while also occasionally doing “international photoshoots” and using public assistance to make ends meet.

Suleman added that she’s open with her children about her past sex work.

“They know, they went through it with me,” she said. “It’s a huge weight lifted off of all of them when I went back to who I was. We were struggling financially, but it was such a blessing to be able to be free from that. Those were chains.”

How old are the octuplets now?

Octomom Nadya Suleman
Nadya Suleman and her children celebrating Mother’s Day in May 2023.NADYA SULEMAN/INSTAGRAM

Suleman’s octuplets celebrated their 15th birthday on Jan. 26, 2024.

“Happy 15th birthday Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Josiah, and Makai! I am so proud of the young adults you are growing into!” she wrote on Instagram. “Stay true to yourselves, humble, kind, and honest. I am so grateful for your love, and am beyond blessed to have you in my life. I love you ❤️.”

Where is Octomom now?

Octomom Nadya Suleman
Nadya Suleman celebrating her birthday with her children in June 2023.NADYA SULEMAN/INSTAGRAM

Today, Suleman largely eschews the spotlight. She and her 14 children live in Orange County, California, in a three-bedroom townhouse with their cats Penelope and Mimi.

She spends most of her time at home with her kids, who help cook vegan food and do chores, and she spends extra time caring for her disabled son, Aidan. She also works out regularly.

Suleman exercises regularly to relieve her stress and chronic pain, opting for weight lifting three to four times per week along with four to five days of cardio workouts.

“My family’s life literally revolves around God, food and fitness,” she wrote on Instagram in 2022. “In that exact order.”

In 2021, she wrote on Instagram that she’d been working on a book about her experiences, but no publication date has yet been announced.

She’s happy to have a quieter existence now.

“As ‘Octomom,’ I was the walking dead. When I woke up and I went back to my roots, my helping profession, and my kids, we were struggling financially but it didn’t matter,” she told PEOPLE in 2016. “I never felt so free and so happy in my life.”

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