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Dr. Phil opens up about traumatic childhood and teen years: "I've slept in a cardboard box"

Dr. Phil opens up about traumatic childhood and teen years: "I've slept in a cardboard box"

The 71-year-old went on to reveal that he used to avoid his alcoholic father as much as possible because of his disturbing behavior.

Dr. Phil McGraw has motivated many with his inspiring life story which had a rough beginning. While on The Coach Mike Podcast hosted by celebrity life coach, Mike Bayer, the television personality opened up about the trauma of growing up in an abusive household. 

Because of his alcoholic father, his family could not stay at one location for long. "We moved around a lot," explained McGraw according to Amomama. "We moved every two or three years because my dad was an alcoholic."



 

 

The 71-year-old went on to reveal that he used to avoid his father as much as possible because of his disturbing behavior. "[I] came and went through the bedroom window so I didn’t have to go through the house. It was total chaos...Yelling, screaming violence, domestic violence," he shared.

Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of his troubles as he was forced to live in poverty during his teenage and young adult years due to his irresponsible father. It was during an episode of Dr. Phil in 2021 that McGraw revealed he once had been a homeless man. "I've been homeless. I've lived on the streets of Kansas City... I've slept in a cardboard box," shared the author of 'Life Code'.



 

 

Life was extremely tough for McGraw until he met Oprah Winfrey in 1996. Winfrey had been sued for defaming the beef industry during one of her shows and thus she hired McGraw to counsel and assist in her trial. In 1998, the author helped her win the case and she expressed her gratitude for transforming his life. 

He soon became a regular on The Oprah Winfrey Show, sharing advice on relationships and life strategies. Then four years later he launched his own talk show, Dr. Phil, which went on to win more than 24 Emmy nominations for his show. His love life seemed to fall into place too as he married his wife Robin McGraw after divorcing his first spouse, Debbie Higgins.



 

 

"I actually knew that first evening I sat and visited with him that he was The One," gushed his wife in an exclusive interview with Closer back in April 2018. Robin, who had a loving childhood, had some demands though for their marriage to work.

"We talked about our needs, and I told him that I couldn't be married in a home with conflict. My mother and father never raised their voices, and my father adored my mother, so I had to know that I was loved and adored. I told him I don't live in a fairy tale, but I needed to be treated with dignity and respect," explained the 68-year-old. Looks like Dr. Phil made sure his family was loved, considering their successful long-term marriage.



 

Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Rebecca Sapp

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