Gymnast Simone Biles has shed some light on her ‘tough’ upbringing in the country’s ‘broken’ foster care system, while sharing her ‘pro-choice’ stance on abortion during an ‘unpopular opinions’ Q&A with her Instagram followers.
The 24-year-old, who spent several years in foster care with her siblings after they were taken away from their biological mother Shanon, opened up about her experiences while hitting back at a follower who stated that ‘abortion is wrong’.
Insisting that she is ‘very much pro-choice’, Biles then pre-empted any critics who believe that unwanted children can ‘easily’ be put up for adoption, drawing on her own time in foster care to warn others against that ideology.
‘I already know this is going to start the biggest argument [and] I may even lose followers but I’m very much pro-choice,’ the Texas-based athlete began. ‘Your body, your choice.
‘Also for everyone [who is] gonna say, “Just put it up for adoption,” it’s not that easy and coming from someone who was in the foster care system… [The system] is broken and it’s TOUGH. Especially on the kids [and] young adults who age out.’
Speaking out: Gymnast Simone Biles shared her ‘pro-choice’ stance on abortion during an ‘unpopular opinions’ Q&A on Instagram on Monday night
Opinion: The 24-year-old spoke out about her own ‘tough’ experiences in the ‘broken’ foster care system – where she spent several years after being taken away from her birth mother
‘Tough’: Biles, pictured in childhood photos, and her siblings were put into the foster care system after their birth mother, Shanon, battled drug and alcohol addictions
‘They saved me’: She was later adopted by her grandparents, Nellie and Ron, who she refers to as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and whom she credits with ‘saving her’ from the foster care system
The gymnast further clarified her stance on abortion in a series of tweets – while hitting back at a since-deleted post in which a user claimed she was suggesting that people should choose termination over foster care or adoption.
‘DO NOT misconstrue my words,’ she wrote. ‘That is not at all what I implied. I did NOT say I support to abort rather than to put them through the foster care system.
‘What I did imply is that you should not control someone else’s body/decision. Let’s be real what you care about is control…
‘I have forever [and] will continue to support foster kids. AS I WAS ONE. I’ve been an advocate for foster kids and the system but you wouldn’t know that because you don’t follow me, you just like to open your mouth.’
Biles spent three years in foster care after being taken away from her birth mother, Shanon, when she was just three years old. Her mom struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, and spent time in jail – which led to Biles and her siblings being removed from her care.
The gymnast and her sister Adria were formally adopted by their grandparents, Nellie, 68, and Ron, 72, when Biles was six, and she has lived with them ever since – relocating from Columbus, Ohio, to Texas, where the couple had moved.
She now refers to the couple as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, and when she arrived back in the US after the Tokyo Olympics, was seen enjoying a tearful reunion with her parents at the airport in Houston.
Controversy: After sharing her pro-choice stance on Instagram, Biles hit back at a since-deleted tweet that suggested she favors abortion over any kind of foster care
Hitting back: She slammed the user for suggesting that she doesn’t support the foster care system, insisting that she has always been ‘an advocate’ for kids in care
Siblings: Biles and her sister Adria were both formally adopted by their grandparents when the gymnast was six years old
Family: Biles moved to Spring, Texas, to live with Ron and Nellie, whom she had an emotional reunion with upon her return from the Tokyo Olympics
This is not the first time that Biles has opened up about her time in foster care.
In 2016, when she was starring as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, Biles recalled ‘always being hungry and afraid’ during her time in the system, explaining that the regular visits from her grandfather were the only positive experience she can really remember.
‘Whenever we had visits with my grandpa, I was so excited,’ she said at the time. ‘That was the person I always wanted to see.’
Biles added that her grandparents ‘saved her’ by adopting her and giving her a new life in Texas, where she began her gymnastics training and eventually rose up to become one of the most famous and successful athletes in the world.
Nellie and Ron even opened their own gym in Spring, Texas – the World Champions Centre – where Biles trains to this day, and where she has helped to lure in several other budding Olympians, including her Tokyo teammate Jordan Chiles.
The gymnast has lived in Spring since she was adopted – although she has since moved out of her parents’ home and into her own sprawling $750,000 property, which boasts an impressive array of amenities, including a huge swimming pool, spacious living areas, and a huge kitchen.
Since her return from Tokyo – where she dropped out of five Olympic finals amid struggles with her mental health – Biles has been making the most of her luxurious home, chilling by the pool with her NFL star boyfriend Jonathan Owens, snapping selfies in her mirrors, and spending time with her dogs.
Over the last few days, Biles has shared several poolside snaps of herself modeling an array of brightly-colored bikinis – as well as a sweet video of her 26-year-old beau cleaning out the water, in which she jokingly referred to him as her ‘pool boy’.
Home sweet home: The gymnast has called Texas her home state since the age of six, although she has since moved out of her parent’s house and into her own sprawling property
Living it up: Since returning to Texas from Tokyo, Biles has been relishing her time off, spending much of it by the pool at her home, while sharing updates on Instagram
Strike a pose: She uploaded a series of videos and photos over the weekend, including several snaps of herself modeling a tie-dye bikini
Biles has been keeping her Instagram followers regularly updated on her daily life since her return to Texas, sharing videos and photos from her time at home, including one Story snap that showed her modeling a tie-dye bikini while treating herself to a cocktail.
She rocked the same colorful swimsuit for an impromptu photoshoot that showed her posing in her backyard while soaking up some sunshine.
Biles is clearly relishing her relaxing time off after returning from Tokyo, soaking up sunshine at the pool, while also supporting her boyfriend at Houston Texans training on Saturday evening.
Ab fab: Simone showcased her impeccably toned figure in a tiny tide dye two-piece as she snapped selfies at her home in Texas
The proud girlfriend posted pictures of the couple kissing on the field following the training session, having shared several videos and images of him representing his team.
Instead of a leotard or a bikini, Simone opted to show her support for Jonathan by wearing a T-shirt with his last name plastered across the front, pairing the supportive merch with black denim shorts and a pair of Yeezy sneakers.
Earlier in the day, the gymnast took some time away from the pool to run a few errands, and she was seen strolling around her local Texas neighborhood, looking relaxed and casual in a black crop top, matching sweats and white sneakers.
She added a beige $3,200 Louis Vuitton tote and a black face mask as she made her way to her matte black Mercedes G-Wagon with several packages from FedEx and UPS in her hands.
Simone’s relaxing weekend came after a troubled Olympics in Tokyo, which saw her pull out of five event finals because of struggles with her mental health.
The athlete had a very rocky road at this year’s Games, having gone into the competition expected to repeat, if not improve upon, the five-medal haul she brought home from Rio in 2016.
However she left Japan with two medals in hand: a silver from the team final and a bronze on the balance beam.
Cheeky: Simone also shared a snap of her NFL star beau Jonathan Owens cleaning out the pool, which she cheekily captioned: ‘finest pool boy I ever did see’
Another day, another bikini! On Saturday, Simone showed off her abs in another colorful suit while modeling an Olympic rings necklace
The gymnast sparked furious controversy with her decision to withdraw from several finals, with some praising her for spotlighting the importance of mental health, while others accused her of ‘quitting’ and ‘abandoning’ her team.
Speaking about her struggle, Simone hit out at those who criticized her decision to withdraw from both the finals, insisting that she did not ‘quit’, while noting that mental health is just as serious as physical health.
She shared a video from training in which she crashed to the ground while trying to perform her uneven bars dismount, which requires her to twist her body around in the air.
‘For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync,’ she wrote.
‘As you can see [in the video]. I don’t think you realize how hard this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.’
Cute couple: Shortly afterwards, Simone shared a sweet snap of the pair kissing on the football field after she accompanied the Houston Texans player to practice
The proud girlfriend wore a T-shirt with Owens’ name on it, pairing the supportive merch with some Yeezy sneakers and black denim shorts
Home is where the heart is: After spending the day by the pool, Simone joined her parents to celebrate her dad Ron’s birthday
The Olympian is no doubt keen to soak up as much time at home as possible before she sets off on a 35-city gymnastics tour in September
During his girlfriend’s time in Tokyo, Jonathan regularly voiced his support for her on social media, where he posted several gushing tributes to the gymnast – while also taking a thinly-veiled swipe at her critics by sharing a quote from baseball legend Babe Ruth about ‘the loudest boos coming from the cheapest seats’.
Following her bronze medal win on the balance beam – Jonathan expressed his ‘pride’ at seeing her back on the podium.
‘Words can’t express how proud of you I am right now,’ Jonathan wrote alongside a picture of his girlfriend.
He also vowed to stand by her ‘through whatever’ in a sweet post shared on his feed, where he wrote a lengthy message of support for his girlfriend alongside several pictures of them together.
‘Imma ride with you through whatever baby,’ he wrote. ‘Your strength and courage is unmatched and you inspire me more and more everyday SB.
Concerns: Simone’s relaxing weekend came after a troubled Olympics in Tokyo, which saw her pull out of five event finals over struggles with her mental health
‘You always gone be my champ baby and don’t you ever forget that, I love you so much and I can’t wait till you come home and I get to see that beautiful smile again. You know I’m always here for you baby.’
Simone will only get to spend a few weeks at home before she hits the road again – this time to lead a lucrative 35-city national gymnastics tour, which is being sponsored by Athleta, a brand for which she serves as a spokesmodel.
She is due to kick off the Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) on September 21, in Tucson, Arizona, and she will be joined at the event by several other elite gymnasts, including her Olympic teammates Jordan Chiles and Mykayla Skinner.
Tickets for the Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) events cost up to $200 each, although the most expensive VIP packages are priced at a staggering $349 per person.
The gymnast confirmed in Tokyo that the tour will go ahead despite her mental health struggles, insisting that the events she will perform in do not require her to do skills that could trigger her ‘twisties’.
Gymnast Simone Biles reveals she is ‘pro-choice’ as she slams ‘broken’ foster care system