Betty Kresin, Eminem’s grandmother from the maternal side , got married at the age of 14. She got six children from 3 different marriages.
She first married Bob Nelson. She gave birth to her daughter Debbie in 1955.She accuses her first husband, Bob Nelson, of being verbally abusive. Both moved to Warren, Michigan, to be closer to Betty’s stepmother .Despite the problems the couple experienced, she gave Bob two more sons, Todd and Steven.They divorced in the early 60’s and Betty came back to her hometown St Joseph, where she met Ron Gilpin, her second husband.She had two more children with him. One of them is Betti Schmitt (Eminem’s aunt and Debbie’s half sister), who is still in touch and in good terms with Eminem. Ron Gilpin was an alcoholic who used to beat up his whole family. Violence was part of their daily life. Ron left his family in 1968.Dramas surrounded Betty’s family. In 1991, Todd Nelson killed his brother-in-law, Mike Harris in self defense case. He was sentenced to jail for 8 years.Betty ‘s sixth child from a third marriage, Ronnie Polkingharn, was Eminem’s uncle and closest friend. He committed suicide in 1991.
Eminem grew up for a while at his grandmom’s home. She talks about his harsh conditions of living in Detroit :
« It was a poor school and they wanted his shoes. He was one of the only white children going to this segregated school. And one time they took the shoes off his feet and he had to come home in a snowstorm with no shoes on. But the story people keep asking me – “he was unconscious and almost died and all these doctors…”, now I know nothing about this and I’m his grandmother. »
People should think twice before calling Marshall a racist.
Betty was angry with Marshall because he never attended to Ronnie’s funeral. In fact, Marshall went depressive and swallowed a bottle of Tylenol and survived to another suicide attempt. He was unable to go to Ronnie’s funeral, his pain was too immense.But Betty didn’t know what happened during this period.
“I was kind of bitter about him writing about my dead son, because the last five years of my deceased boy, Marshall had not even seen him. Marshall – Eminem – and my son Ronnie were very close. He idolised Ronnie and Ronnie loved him. He never even came to Ronnie’s funeral and he has never put the first flower on Ronnie’s grave. He doesn’t do anything – he won’t go near the grave. The chain that Marshall wears around his neck, the dog-tag – that was Ronnie’s. I gave him the dog-tag, he makes duplicates, he sells them now, and that really broke my heart because this is something sacred to me that I gave the boy. If my son could speak to you today from the grave he would say, “Marshall stop some of the garbage, make up with your family, life’s too short”.”
Marshall had a good relationship to his granny until he wanted to use Ronnie’s voice on a tape. He intended to do this as a tribute to his deceased uncle, but Betty thought he was disrespectful towards her son. In 2002 , both reconciled.
Betty Kresin is currently writing a book on her grandson which shall be entitled « The Tie That Binds ».
Betty says she’s proud of her grandson and that she stands on his side.