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Natalie Suleman reveals regrets, desire to shed 'Octomom' nickname

Natalie Suleman, who shot to fame after giving birth to octuplets in 2009, says she hated her nickname and wants to tell "the true story."
/ Source: TODAY

Natalie Suleman is back. Don’t recognize the name? Perhaps you’ll remember her by the nickname that made her famous but that she says she now wants to permanently leave behind: Octomom.

Suleman, who also used to go by Nadya, shot to global stardom in 2009 after giving birth to octuplets. The California mom got pregnant through in vitro fertilization, which she also relied on for six other children she had previously.

“I never set out to become an ‘octomom,'” she says in Tuesday's episode of "The Doctors," a clip of which was revealed by People magazine.

Suleman became a figure of fascination when she had her octuplets, but the single and then-unemployed mother quickly became the source of widespread scorn and contempt after revealing she had relied on government assistance to provide for her children.

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In "The Doctors," Suleman reflects on some of her past choices, including the decision to pose nude so she wouldn’t have to rely on welfare payments.

“Rather than go get more public assistance, which I already felt ashamed of, I ended up selling myself out,” she says. "At the time, in my mind, it was like an investment so I could support my family. I believe the judgment I experienced was warranted because what were people supposed to believe? All they were being fed by the media was negativity."

The interview is the latest Suleman has provided to turn her image around. In September, she told the Daily Mail that she finally decided to “kill off” her Octomom persona several years ago after brief stints with porn and performing as a stripper.

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She says the phase led her to despise who she had become.

"There’s nobody, possibly, who could have hated ‘Octomom’ more than I,” she says on "The Doctors."

But Suleman said she feels a need to let the public know she has straightened out her life and managed, somehow, to raise children who have thrived.

“My history was haunting us,” she says. “I left ‘Octomom.’ I went back to my life as a counselor. I went back and, particularly my kids, had a healthy, happy life. The problem is it’s followed us, because people never knew what I did. They never knew the true story.”