Vanessa Minnillo’s estranged mom lives in a trailer park, didn’t know she was married

This story in the upcoming issue of Star Magazine is really quite sad. I don’t feel sorry for Vanessa Minnillo’s mom at all given the circumstances, but it just is sad the way it all turned out. Someone at Star caught up with Vanessa’s mother, who is 57 and living in a trailer park in South Carolina. Vanessa’s mom Helen hasn’t spoken to her daughter in 12 years, since Vanessa was 18. Helen hasn’t seen Vanessa since she was 9, when she dropped Vanessa and her little brother off at their dad’s house for what was supposed to be a short time and never came back. I guess we know why Vanessa doesn’t speak to her mom and didn’t invite her to the wedding.

Helen Bondoc had no idea that her gorgeous 30-year-old daughter was even getting married. And when Star spoke with her exclusively at her South Carolina mobile home 12 days after Vanessa and Nick’s July 15 wedding in the British Virgin Islands, Helen struggled with her emotions.

“Oh my goodness, she’s beautiful!” Helen, 57, told Star as she grew misty-eyed while looking at photos of Vanessa and Nick on their St. Barts honeymoon.

“She’s changed so much, though I can still see that little scar on her forehead from where she picked at her chicken pox when she was a child.

“I didn’t have a clue that Vanessa was getting married. We last spoke about 12 years ago, on the phone. I just wanted to talk to her and tell her everything straight about my life. But I still think about her all the time, and I still love her dearly…”

Helen and the kids followed her husband to Turkey when he was assigned there, but they were sent back to the U.S. in 1991 after the Gulf War broke out.

Helen’s second marriage ended soon after — and so did her relationship with Vanessa after she dropped her and her brother off at their father’s house in Charleston, S.C.

“[Helen] said, ‘Keep them for now,’ ” Vincent recalls. “But she never came back.”

Vanessa has admitted that she became “sad, confused and emotional” about being abandoned by her mom but otherwise has remained tightlipped about why they’ve never ended their estrangement.

As for Helen, she tells Star: “It would be nice to have a relationship with her now, but I don’t know how she’d feel if I called her.”

And if Vanessa and Nick had kids? “It would be a happy occasion to meet my grandchildren. Whatever she’s doing today, I hope she’s happy with this man and that he treats her well. She’s still my little girl.”

[From Radar Online]

That’s terrible! Who could do that to their kids? Vanessa’s mom also claimed to have been a “hostess” and a “waitress” at two different strip clubs so I think it’s safe to assume she worked as a stripper. I don’t blame Vanessa for not talking to her mom. It just makes my heart hurt to think of someone abandoning their kids like that, but I guess it happens all the time.

E! ran a story a couple of days ago with some pretty classy quotes from Vanessa on what she thought about the fact that her new husband’s ex wife was also getting married. She used a common expression “the elephant in the room” and E! ran it with a headline that Vanessa was calling Jessica Simpson an elephant. It wasn’t accurate by a long shot, but it was funny. Vanessa said “To address the elephant in the room, yes, you know coincidentally at the same time that our wedding is going on, his ex is actually also doing the beautiful thing of getting married herself. I think she would probably pray, as much as I do, that they allow us to have our own moments.”

It’s like Vanessa wanted to say she’d cut a bitch if she stole her wedding thunder but she restrained herself and made it about the press potentially doing that, not the ex.

Access Hollywood has a new interview with Nick where he again asserts that no reality show will be coming to follow-up on his wedding special. Meanwhile Nick told E! that he’d love to have kids and was “doing everything I can.” I really like the guy and wish the best for him and Vanessa. I doubt that Vanessa’s mom is going to be playing the doting grandmother when and if these two have kids though.




Photos are from 7/25/11 (airport, credit: Fame), 6/17/11 (Bachelorette part, credit: WENN) and 4/9/11 (drunk, credit: WENN)

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28 Responses to “Vanessa Minnillo’s estranged mom lives in a trailer park, didn’t know she was married”

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  1. brin says:

    Yeah, this story bothered me. I feel no pity for her mother, she left her kids and never looked back. I’m very happy for Nick and Vanessa and I hope they have the family they both want.

  2. seal team 6 says:


    Agreed. I saw this yesterday on ROL. I feel sympathy for the woman for a wasted life, but known for her where Vanessa is concerned. She abandoned her children, after putting them through a not great early childhood, and has never tried to keep in touch with them.

    It reminds me a bit of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Dad and Meg Ryan’s mom after they both became successful, although this woman is much more pathetic and sad.

    Vanessa has no obligation to reconnect with her Mom, unless she feels it is healthy for her to do so. I contrast her mother with Nick’s Mom, who was a single mother who tried to do the best for her children.

  3. Cherry says:

    Who cares? This is really a Z-list celebrity. What does she even DO, except for being married to Jessica Simpson’s ex?

  4. Samigirl says:

    I feel no pity for the mom whatsoever. I was abandoned by my biological mother, then my adoptive mother. Sometimes people forget that there aren’t just pos baby daddies out there. Good for Vanessa for making a little bit of a name of herself, not running her mouth about this situation with her mother just to get attention, and remaining classy about Jessica Simpson! Oh, and snagging a good looking husband isn’t so bad either!

  5. bigchili says:

    Poor Vanessa. How sad and confusing it must have been for her. I can’t imagine how a parent, especially a mother, abandons their child/ren. TBH, I don’t really know anything about Vanessa & don’t have much of an opinion about her, but I really like Nick & I hope they’re happy together. They will have beautiful babies.

  6. seal team 6 says:

    The one good thing about this story: I’ve been wondering what Vanessa’s ethnic background is, because she’s so striking, and the ROL cleared that up.

  7. xxodettexx says:

    i am torn, on the one hand i am thinking “who abandons their kids like that?” but at the same time, i know a lot of parents that have had to make a difficult decision and leave their kids with someone who can more adequately take care of them… we dont know what the situation in their case was but it is quite telling that vanessa has no apparent interest in communicating with her mother…

    anyway, no real pity for the mother but i do wonder how it must hurt only being a part of a child’s life through magazines and such…

  8. SLM says:

    I saw a bit of the TLC wedding special and Vanessa talks about this situation, not having her mom available to her during a really special time. I can not lie – it made me tear up.

  9. Liz says:

    Um…she’s really pretty.

  10. Gemma says:

    Isn’t it kinda shady that star magazine actually took the time to track down her mom in a trailer park in South Carolina? Seriously what the hell, that’s a new low. Clearly her ‘mother’ and i use that term lightly, had no idea about what was happening in Vanessa’s life so she didn’t search for star magazine to give one of there ‘award winning exclusive interviews’ (eyeroll). So that means that they went out of there way to LOOK for her. Why the need to stir the pot when these two clearly don’t have or want a relationship with each other. Let the poor girl enjoy being a newlywed and stop looking for drama. Star magazine is right next to the enquirer for sleaziness in my eyes.

  11. Karen says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Gemma!

    #8 – It appears that you and I were the only ones to watch the TLC special because I teared up as well when it was very apparent that Vanessa is still affected by missing who should be the most important person in your life. It reminded me that a bit of celebrity and high profile TV gigs alone do not guarantee total fulfilment. I’m pleased for Nick and Vanessa that they seem very happy and in love with one another and I hope it continues throughout their lives together.

  12. mia girl says:

    She does a lot more than you would think. She was a well known host on MTV for years, is a working actress/program host and recently did a great stint on 30 Rock as a rival to Alec Baldwin’s wife. It was pretty funny and I was actually impressed with her.

  13. meg says:

    @ Gemma Exactly! I don’t speak to my bio family for similar reasons and when a friend told them I was pregnant, it just opened the door to them thinking they had access to me again (and my kid which, HELL NO). I feel for Vanessa and hope she stays strong and keeps this woman out of her (and her future kids’ lives)!

  14. Truthful says:

    geesh, who is behind digging up this story??

    whoever it is, they are horrible.

    I wish them happiness.

    ps. Jessica betta not be laughing and snickering at some tavern-eating fish n chips, and throwing back tequila shots about this.

  15. John Wayne Lives says:

    @ brin… ITA. I have no conception how a mother could walk away and not feel that yearning for her child. I have to hold and cuddle and smell each of my children for one special moment every day. I hope Nick’s mother is giving her some mommy love.

    @ Seal Team 6…”wasted life”.. you said it.

  16. Mary Jane says:

    Hey… at least she ne’er whored out her kid to make a buck (a la White Oprah or Pimpa Simpson) and it really sounds like she had no idea Vanessa was “famous” (for what it’s worth). She’s not asking for anything from VM (at least not publicly) and she also seems to realise she did the “wrong thing.”
    That being said, the skeptic in me is thinking that maybe VM had “someone” seek her out, get her into the tabs and make this a story so the reality show she and Nick are SO NOT PUSHING will have a reason to be (“Vanessa reunites with her mom! See it tonight…”)
    P.S. I have always liked Nick and hope he is happy with Vanessa.

  17. the original bellaluna says:

    @ brin, Seal Team, Sami Girl, John Wayne – Agree as well. All I know is, I couldn’t walk away from my little ones unless it was at gunpoint.

    @ Gemma – Agree on that point too.

    I also think they will have beautiful babies. I truly hope they’re happy.

  18. Kelly says:

    I agree with everyone who asked why the hell a tabloid would be tracking down her mother. WTF???

    @samigirl, I am so sorry; that kind of rejection is so damaging, and I hope you’ve gone on to be happy and successful.

    Sometimes we are better off without toxic families (I also cut off contact with my adoptive family), and I hope it’s been that way for Vanessa too. @xxodettexx, yes, sometimes people are in a situation where they know they cannot be a good parent, and perhaps it’s a good decision in that case to leave the kids with someone who can be a better parent. But it’s been 12 years, and this woman never made the effort to reach out to her KIDS! She doesn’t deserve the title of mother at this point.

  19. Faye says:

    That’s so sad. I agree with you guys when you say they shouldn’t have hunted her mother down and made this sensationalist story out of what is supposed to be a happy event: the marriage. Regardless, I wish them well.

  20. Bodhi says:

    What is surprising to me is that Vanessa’s story is actually pretty well known, at least I thought it was. Didn’t it come out when she won Miss Teen USA? I thought it had, but that was at least 10 years ago so if it did, I’m sure everyone had forgotten. Oh well, its still pretty awful.

    I went to high school with Vanessa & while she was always a fame whore, it is good to see that a hometown girl has done well for herself. I was funny… when the special was on, my FB wall was full of comments from my classmates who watching it too!

  21. JaneWonderfalls says:

    I don’t blame Vanessa for feeling confused, hurt and angry and not talking to her mom she has every right. But I don’t know the full story of why her mother left, drugs,etc. It’s not like she moved on and lived this great life(tralier park) we really can’t say why she left. Was it noble or selfish, I am not going to throw stones at her if I don’t know the full story.

  22. Samigirl says:

    @Kelly, your words are not only kind, but totally true. My situation was different, in that I was adopted by a member of my biological family. However, she didn’t take care of me, and left her husband (my uncle by marriage) to do so. And, he did a bang up job. I honestly believe it’s made me a stronger person, as well as a much better mother. My life has been so dramatic, I could be on Oprah…or, at the very least, a Lifetime movie, haha. I’m blessed to have the people in my life I do, despite the abandonment issues I’ve had to resolve. 🙂

  23. Kelly says:

    @samigirl, I’m sure you’re right. Self-awareness is the key to growth. More power to you, girl! And to Vanessa too. Move on, and build something healthier for yourself!

  24. beanie says:

    Kudos to Vanessa for not falling down a black hole of pity for not having a Mom who was not there for her. It had to hurt to not have your Mom there to share the most important day of your life.

    Definitely shows her strength and ability to heal and move on.

  25. beanie says:

    P.S. I love Nick (he is a good guy) and wish he and Vanessa much hapiness and many lovely children.

  26. lol says:

    I think it depends what you want to look at & where in the tabloids. Vanessa is no angel & apprently was fired from MTV but covered up. We then have Vanessa & Lohan pics of knife incident & girl one on one.. then you can look just abot anywhere for Nick womanizing with underage girls & women. I don’t understand the whoa is me crap right now. Yeah & believe it or not there maybe another side to this womans story that may shine an entire different lite on this story of her & her daughter & the father.

    The elephant in the room was just plain nasty but Nick & Vanessa are in need of attention & money & both are promoting there up coming shows. If not for being known as Jess EX it would be Nick & Vanessa who & they know that. Vanessa knew throwing that comment out there she would get the attention she did.. Its the media pulling Jessica into this & the tabloids. She refuses to comment on any of it & has not since the beginng. Can’t say the same for the others. They need the attention more then Jess but then Celebitchy refuses to acknowledge Jess with any bit of dignity whatsoever.

  27. Anne de Vries says:

    What a scumbag thing to do to contact somebody’s estranged parent and then splash them all over the media. Not surprising, but scumbaggy.

  28. 11106 says:

    I guess Papa Joe does really hates her for making his family and daughters look like a joke by comparison. Who else u think would spend money and time to find ANYTHING to ruin the happy newlyweds???

    Sorry Joe your daughter cheated on her ex husband and he now is a happy man with someone else. No matter what u say or do, that is a fact noone forgets about your daughter.

    Shame on you.