*Being the son of Muhammad Ali may seem like a great thing, but according to his son, it was a very distant relationship that robbed him of his childhood and resulted in a less than perfect life today.
Muhammad Ali Jr. says his distant relationship with his famous father came after he married his fourth wife Lonnie.
“He slipped out my life the moment he got married to Lonnie. The trips to see me stopped immediately,” said Ali Jr. “She once said that they couldn’t afford to come and see me. How can a man who’s well respected in the world, bigger than Elvis, with all the money he’s made, not afford to travel?”
Prior to the senior Ali marrying Lonnie, Ali Jr. remembers a childhood filled with memorable days with his dad.
“I used to see him all the time when I was a child. He made sure he was there, would get all the siblings together, and never kept us a secret from each other,” Ali Jr. told the New York Post. “I was proud of my daddy. Fame and fortune meant nothing, I just saw him as my daddy.”
Although there were good times, being the son of a boxing legend came with a price, According to Ali Jr. there wasn’t a time when he wasn’t on the playground.
“You may think having Muhammad Ali as your dad is great, but I had problems,” he said. “People wanted to pick fights. School was hell. They wanted to see if I was like my father. I’d get bullied all the time. Girls would only get with me because of my father, not because of me. Nothing was as it seemed. I didn’t know who really loved me. People just used me so they could get a glimpse of my dad. Some people didn’t like it that my dad was black or didn’t go to war. We had to fight all his battles.
“It meant my grandparents sheltered me a lot,” continued Ali Jr., who admitted that his father “never really spent time with me” for a lot of his childhood. “Dad didn’t know, as he wasn’t around every day. I felt in some ways like I never had a childhood.”
The relationship with the elder Ali was so distant that Ali Jr. said his father spent much of his spare time with his daughters rather than him. As a result, he felt like an “outcast” in his own family.
Nowadays, life is far from comfortable for Ali Jr. The 41-year-old married father of two currently lives off food stamps and frequents a charity shelter in the dangerous Chicago neighborhood of West Englewood for food and clothes for his family.
“My life now is crap. I live in a s–t area, a house I don’t own. I survive off handouts and food stamps,” said Ali Jr. “I’ve tried for a job, but there’s no hiring. I go on the Internet, but I’ve never been taught how to use it, so it always messes up. I’m stuck. If my father was still around and was coherent, he’d help me. But that’s not the case, is it?
For more details about Muhammad Ali Jr., including his thoughts on changing his name, expectations on following in his father’s legendary footsteps and the last time he saw his father, click over to the FULL story at the New York Post.