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In the latest installment of “Iyanla Fix My Life Iyanla Vanzant set out to help former football phenom/troublemaker Terrell Owens fix his life. Now we know most of you are thinking Iyanla needed to tell T.O. to “Get His Life” but…we think her way was probably the better way in the end!

Iyanla got Terrell to admit to what it was that was flat out plaguing him from his past that made him act out and react in the ways that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the years. His story was simply heartbreaking.

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T.O. opened up to Iyanla about growing up with his grandmother who was hard on him. His mother was an unwed teenager who got pregnant and couldn’t take care of her son. That in and of itself would be quite a lot to deal with but there was more…a lot more.

Upon developing a crush on a girl in the neighborhood, an eleven-year-old Terrell was told he wasn’t allowed to like the little girl that he had grown fond of because she was in fact his SISTER. The girl lived right across the street from Terrell. For eleven years his father had been just across the street and had never acknowledged him as his son. (WE KNOW RIGHT?!)

It was then revealed that Terrell’s mother had him as a result of an affair that she had with his father/neighbor, a married man who was nearly ten and a half years her senior. She was sixteen at the time! WOW!

So T.O. went from not knowing the man across the street was his father to knowing that was his dad but not being acknowledged by his father. Add that to being sent away by his mother and suddenly T.O.’s issues make complete sense. He was not seen or acknowledged in his life growing up except for when he was playing football. He got attention when things went well for him on the field and he desperately craved it because he didn’t feel loved or worthy of asking for anyone’s love or attention growing up.

So when he threw tantrums they were because things went wrong and it didn’t just cost him a touchdown or a chance to shine…it caused him a chance to feel loved, adored, respected, revered, important…validated.

Terrell had been continuing that cycle of abandonment with his own children but thanks to Iyanla he is working hard to reverse that situation and to break that cycle so that his kids will not ever have to know the kind of pain that he has had to deal with for the last 39 years.

At the end of the show it was beautiful to see Terrell’s father acknowledge him for the first time ever and tell T.O. that he loved him while calling him son. They had never spoken about being father and son before that day…and the man we all think of as a blowhard trouble maker took the highest road and forgave the man for not being there for him his entire life. Iyanla reported that they are now in touch and are working toward a strong relationship.

Terrell Owens has also accepted that his NFL career is over…this was a hard pill for him to swallow and it didn’t come easy to him by any means.

We often forget everyone has a story…and a reason for why they are who they have become. We wish T.O. the very best in his new journey toward healing and we hope that he can find the peace he’s been missing all along.



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Iyanla Vanzant Helps Terrell Owens Overcome Major Life Trauma  was originally published on