“I’d gone upstairs and looked in the apartment and noticed that everything was gone.” – Montina Cooper
Long before her career as a background singer for R&B legend Mary J. Blige and reigning Queen Beyonce, Montina Cooper suffered from abandonment issues.
At 11, she watched her father look her in the eye and drive away from their family’s apartment while she screamed his name. He’d taken everything out of their house and stuffed it into the back seat and trunk of the car.
She sat on the porch, dejected, until her mother returned home from work around 1 a.m. That’s when she knew her family hadn’t just left her behind.
“Unbeknownst to myself, my dad had a drug addiction,” Cooper said. “This guy, who was supposed to love and care for me and protect me and all these different things that dads are supposed to do, had just drove off and left me alone. I just spiraled down from there.”
Cooper immediately became a food addict. By age 12, she weighed more than 175 pounds. She learned about her father’s addiction at 15 when she found his needles in their backyard. As he walked in and out of her life, she drifted deeper and deeper into depression.
At 18, she decided that enough was enough.
“I didn’t want to live anymore,” Cooper said, remembering the night she took every pill out of her medicine cabinet, dumped them into the sink and took as many as she could to kill herself. A phone call from a friend, who called 911, saved Cooper’s life.
“The next thing I remember is being in the hospital with a tube down my throat,” Cooper said. “It was really just a point in my life where I felt like I didn’t matter. I was worth zero.”