*Former “City High” singer Claudette Ortiz is speaking out about the recent episode of A&E’s “Intervention” that featured her former group member and ex-boyfriend Robbie.
In the show, Robbie suggests that his breakup with Ortiz and her subsequent relationship and marriage to group member Ryan Toby sent him reeling into alcoholism. But Ortiz says there’s much more to the story that hasn’t been told.
In an interview with blog She Is, the singer details Robbie’s drinking and abusive behavior (both physical and verbal) during their relationship, and how she had no choice but to leave him.
She Is…: How did you & Robbie meet?
Claudette Ortiz: I met Robbie before the group (City High)… We started out as friends… we were both singers & knew some of the same people… My older sister and him were in the same grade so she knew him too… they were 2 grades above me… when we first started dating she said to me “are you sure you want to date him?” I asked her what she meant by that & she told me Robbie had a reputation of getting really drunk (since) back then & told me a story about him drinking excessively to the point where he’d passed out. I knew he drank but I never saw that side of it. He was my first boyfriend, we were young I was 16 & he was 18… we were nice teenagers. Everything seemed fine in the beginning but over time it became like a nightmare.
She Is…: A nightmare? How so?
Claudette Ortiz: At first it started with me finding out about other girls… I stayed through that… I’m sure every woman can relate to believing a man lying to you about cheating, even when all the signs were right in my face… & that caused problems but it was the drunken fits that really scared me & made want to end our relationship…
She Is…: Describe one of those episodes…
(L-R) Robbie Pardo, Claudette Ortiz and Ryan Toby of City High
Claudette Ortiz: The summer I was turning 17 Wyclef had a 4th of July BBQ at his house… there were a bunch of music industry people… I don’t recall what exactly brought it on, but he blacked out on me at the BBQ… he got in my face & started yelling “You ain’t sh*t, you ain’t ever gonna be sh*t”… & Robbie is a big guy he was so close I could feel the spit hitting me in my face. At my age I was so intimidated by that… belittling me in front of all those important people. There was another time I was confronting him about a girl & he threw a brush at me… I ducked & the brush went through his bedroom door… that’s how much force he used… If I hadn’t ducked I probably wouldn’t even be a alive today. I gathered my things & started to walk home… I lived about 2 miles from Robbie’s house… & that wasn’t uncommon for me do… there were plenty of nights we’d argue or he’d pass out & I would walk home… He came out the house yelling & started beating up his car. Broke the head light, started pounding on the hood… his mother came out & called me back… I felt like since it was his mother asking me to come back in the house I should… when I got inside we all sat down to talk & she was telling me things like I shouldn’t add fuel the fire… basically making me feel like it was my fault.
She Is…: Had he ever gotten physical with you besides throwing things?
Claudette Ortiz: He’d push me, mush me… never anything closed handed… but I just remember being scared that he would eventually go a step further.
She Is..: Oh I see, so it was more mental abuse but you feared it would escalate…
Claudette Ortiz: Yes, I mean even when it came to the group. Robbie was signed first… after Wyclef saw how we worked together he decided to sign us as a group. So Robbie would at times say things like if it wasn’t for him I would never have become anything… God gave me my talent & only he can take it away.
She Is…: How did your relationship with him end?
Ryan Toby and wife Claudette Ortiz
Claudette Ortiz: We were working on the album & it was rare for him not to be drunk… My management asked me not break up with him (he knows this) but it just became too difficult for me. Going on the road, recording… it was terrible. We were in Hit Factory & I remember him walking past me & he said “so this it, we over?” & I said “yes”.
She Is: So you guys broke up before the first single came out?
Claudette Ortiz: Yes, even before the album was finished.
She Is..: On the A&E Intervention it was stated that you broke up with Robbie on tour in Europe & started dating Ryan…
Claudette Ortiz: No, we hadn’t even been traveling overseas yet… & Robbie & I were broken up for a year before Ryan & I started any kind of romance.
Read the full interview at http://www.lmortlock.blogspot.com/