Behind the Scenes with Suze Orman and Nadya Suleman
During the interview, Nadya and Oprah discussed whether she is addicted to having children. "My role is to help us all understand the human connection we all hold. And so you think you're not like Nadya Suleman but Nadya's using babies in the same way people use drugs, use gambling, use shopping, use work," Oprah says. "I do with potato chips what Nadya Suleman does with babies. That's the only difference."
After that interview, Nadya sent Oprah a letter reflecting on their conversation. "Your words began haunting me: 'Baby addiction.' Although denying this for years, you compel me to face reality," Nadya wrote. "I feel trapped, and the only help I pray for is guidance down the right path."
Nadya also asked for help. "What most people don't realize is Nadya Suleman made money after her octuplets were born," producer Dana says. "She did interviews; she sold pictures. And now she sent Oprah a letter asking for help because she was broke."
During her preshow meeting with Oprah, Dana reveals Nadya is worried about what Oprah will think of her. "She said, 'I'm really worried about what women think of me,'" Dana says. "I said to her, 'Are you coming here because you want Oprah's approval?' and she said yeah."
Oprah says Nadya won't get her approval, but she will get her respect. "This girl is very smart. She's really a person who has the ability to have a great deal of awareness about themselves," Oprah says. "I have respect for the fact that she's not the ninny that she's been portrayed as being. I have respect for that. But I just think this is one of the most irresponsible things I've ever seen."
Still, not everyone is so sure the show should go on—including senior supervising producer Katy Davis. "I have a lot of reservations about booking Nadya because there's so much controversy surrounding her," Katy says. "There's a lot of talk about her just having eight children because she wants to be in the press. And so, we need to make sure that it doesn't look like we're exploiting her and her situation."
Sheri says Suze always digs deep with the people she helps. "She spends time with people. Years later, she's still following up with guests," Sheri says. "She is the person we go to when we have somebody who needs financial help that's going to then become a lesson for all of us."
Oprah knows Suze will keep Nadya in check. "I think she put in about 40 hours going through all of Nadya Suleman's financial records. Suze knows how much money Nadya Suleman had made and how much she had squandered," Oprah says. "So if Nadya says, 'Oh I didn't have any money,' Suze will know that she's not telling the truth."
Still, Scott says Nadya can be unpredictable. "Nadya is real stream of consciousness," Scott says. "You never know what's going to come out of her mouth."
After their phone call, Dana and Scott strategize about how to prepare Nadya for taping when she arrives. "Nadya does talk fast, and I'm concerned that when she goes off on a tangent, it's going to be a challenge to reel her back," Dana says. "We don't want her to talk in circles, because people aren't going to connect with her. They're going to feel like she's avoiding answering the question. If this happens in the studio, it's going to be a real challenge."
As the show starts, Suze doesn't waste any time getting to Nadya's underlying problems. "Right toward the top of the show, Suze started to really lay into Nadya," Katy says. "We weren't expecting it to unfold like that."
As the show continues, Suze accuses Nadya of lying. "I got that feeling like, 'Ugh, this is too much. It feels too harsh'," Sheri says. "I'm a little worried that Nadya feels attacked."
At one point, Nadya says she hates herself. "That was a breakthrough moment, and it was very real," Katy says. "I think you don't actually see somebody changing right before your eyes, but I'm worried that this show is a little uncomfortable."
See what else Nadya said during the show
"That was not the right tone for this interview," Sheri says. "That was a fragile person."
In Oprah's office, Katy says Suze might have been too hard on Nadya. Dana agrees. "It was a challenge because I know some people probably are going to watch because they want to see that, but it was a little much for me," Dana says.
Watch the postshow meeting
Oprah disagrees. "I have been there when Suze has given a smackdown to somebody, and it was uncomfortable for me. I wasn't uncomfortable today," Oprah says. "I did not think she was too hard. I don't think anything's too hard if it's the truth."
Sheri says she eventually saw Oprah's side. "Oprah set me straight," Sheri says. "If you're going to have Suze on—who's famous for her smackdowns—then you should not be surprised."
See why Suze dropped by Nadya's greenroom after the show
How one team pulled off two teen-heartthrob surprises