Octuplets' grandfather on Oprah

February 24, 2009 1:52:42 PM PST
Nadya Suleman's father told Oprah Winfrey on her talk show that his daughter was under duress before giving an interview to NBC and should have been given time to recover from giving birth to octuplets. "They took her out of the hospital by midnight to a secret location," Suleman's father Ed Doud told Winfrey on the show that aired Tuesday. "They did not even give her a chance to rest, to sleep, where she's still under medication and not feeling well.

"They bombard her with all these cameras," Doud said. "I am not saying that they kidnapped her. What I am saying is that it absolutely should have given her a little time until she heals at least and not be under so much medication."

The NBC interviews with Nadya Suleman aired Feb. 9 and 10 on the network's "Today" and "Dateline" shows. She gave birth to the octuplets Jan. 26 and was released from the hospital Feb. 5 after a more than two-month stay.

"NBC News stands by every aspect of our interview with Nadya Suleman," NBC said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. "Contrary to her father's allegations, we did not take Nadya from the hospital and the interview, which was conducted with respect, took place at a time of her choosing."

Winfrey asked Doud if he felt his daughter gave NBC the interview under duress. "That's how I feel," Doud said in the segment that was taped Thursday.

Suleman, 33, is a single mother who is unemployed and lives with her mother in a three-bedroom home. She already had six children when she gave birth to the octuplets. All 14 of her children were conceived through in vitro fertilization, with sperm from an unidentified, platonic friend, she has said.

In the NBC interview, Suleman said she "longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that ... I really lacked, I believe, growing up." She called her childhood "pretty dysfunctional."

Doud disputed those statements, telling Winfrey his daughter was spoiled.

"We gave her so much love," he said. "No child has so much love. I thought what she meant is because she is the only child. I'm sure that's what she meant. She really wanted a brother or sister."

Doud told Winfrey he plans to help his daughter, ex-wife and 14 grandchildren. He did not specify how.

Also Tuesday, the second in a series of videotaped conversations between Suleman and her mother, Angela Suleman, was posted on the celebrity news Web site Radaronline.com. In the clip, Nadya Suleman said she hopes to write a book to help support her children - allowing that the only time she'll have to do so is in the "middle of the night."

The Web site also posted a video of Nadya Suleman saying she wants to move after a neighbor came out of his home with a shotgun and said he was going to kill someone on Monday night.

Police are investigating the incident. They say it wasn't a specific threat to Suleman and may have been directed at media and others who have frequented the cul-de-sac since she gave birth.

NBC's interview with Suleman was its most-watched prime-time show that week. "Dateline NBC" hadn't seen an audience that large since Matt Lauer interviewed Prince William and Prince Harry in 2007 - an indication that viewers have an intense interest in the subject.

"People are incredibly torn over their feelings, that people can act this way or that they could be allowed to act that way," said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."

It's why television shows have fought for pieces of the story, like Suleman's father on Winfrey's Chicago-based show. The biggest interview remaining is her fertility doctor, who has declined to comment since the octuplets' birth.

"Good Morning America" heavily promoted an interview on Monday with Denis Beaudoin, who said he was in a relationship with Suleman in the late 1990s and had donated sperm at her request. Suleman has said Beaudoin is not the father of the octuplets, but he wants DNA testing.

Over the weekend, ABC teased the story in promos that didn't identify Beaudoin by name, but urged viewers to tune in Monday to find out.

Murphy called it a legitimate part of the story, and said Beaudoin had approached the network.

The promotion may have paid off: "Good Morning America" was within 218,000 viewers of NBC's first-place "Today" show on Monday, an unusually tight margin between them - although ABC's Oscars telecast the night before also helped "Good Morning America."


Associated Press Writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer contributed to this story from Los Angeles. AP Television Writer Dave Bauder contributed to this story from New York.

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