NORFOLK, Va. - Court records show that the mother of Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia.
The filing was first reported by TMZ, a day after it was revealed that the parents of fellow U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte were facing foreclosure in Florida.
Documents filed in January in the Eastern District of Virginia show Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows people to reorganize their finances and pay down debt over several years.
Douglas has been one of the most popular athletes at the Olympics in London, becoming the first African-American woman to win an all-around gold medal in gymnastics. The 4-foot-11. 16-year-old has taken home two gold medals so far and has become an international superstar, winning over fans with her smile and the nickname “Flying Squirrel.”
The gymnast’s agent has fielded hundreds of emails from businesses, talk shows and magazines interested in Douglas, and she’s already slated to appear on the cover of a Corn Flakes box. She stands to earn millions of dollars from endorsement deals and other ventures. Douglas has been training for two years in Iowa and hasn’t been home to Virginia Beach since then.
The bankruptcy filings list Hawkins as having assets totaling $163,706, with a townhouse in Virginia Beach and a 2007 Nissan Maxima accounting for the bulk of it.
Hawkins said the bankruptcy filing allowed her “to still be able to live and reorganize my debt in such a way that I could still pay what I owed.”
“It’s my story, it’s part of me. I’m not even embarrassed about it,” Hawkins said Sunday in London. “It shows that even though I didn’t like to have to do it, I’m glad there was something there for me to be able to protect my home.”
Hawkins also lists roughly $80,000 in debts. The bulk of that is from her mortgage. Hawkins is separated from her husband and lists about $2,500 in income a month, which comes from Social Security disability benefits and child support, according to the documents.
Natalie Hawkins went on long-term medical disability in 2009, and there were six months when the single mother of four had little to no income. In addition to mortgage payments for her home, there were expenses for Douglas’ training and her other three children.
An order issued in March says Hawkins is to pay $400 a month toward her debts over a nearly five-year period.