At the 1998 Winter Olympics Debi Thomas made history when she became the first African-American athlete to receive a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, but her life looks very different now.
Thomas later went on to get her medical degree at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and became an orthopedic surgeon.
Over the past few years Thomas’ life has been in a downward spiral.
Thomas reveals in an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life airing Saturday, her successes have faded and she now lives, twice-divorced and broke, in a bed bug-infested home with her fiancé and his sons.
“Are you aware that your life has become unmanageable?” life coach Iyanla Vanzant asks Thomas in a preview for the episode. Vanzant was brought in to help Thomas address her personal and financial issues.
In the preview clip, Thomas says her athletic success was at the root of her first marriage’s failure. She also said that her personality clashes led to two job losses before she opened up a private practice in Virginia, which she had to close after two years, having lost much of her “nest egg” in a second divorce.
The couple created a GoFundMe page in December 2014, but was only able to raise $2,000.
“This cause has been developed as an emergency fund … to restore financial stability after severe sudden financial losses over the past couple of years associated with a combination of financially crippling life challenges,” Thomas and Looney wrote in their appeal page, outlining their goal of starting two projects, including a rehabilitation program for coalmining communities and their own reality TV show.
They have also released a rather bizarre YouTube video titled Can We Go Nowhere Any Faster? in which the pair ramble about being Christians, having bed bugs in their trailer and the loss of mining jobs in their town, but only hinting at the problems that have sent them into a downward spiral.
“We got some recent publicity … that this show is coming out,” Thomas says in the video.
“I got all kinds of people giving an opinion.
“Jamie and I have gone through a lot through recovery.”
Looney chips in: “I’ve got a small business. Does it make the amount of money I want? No,”
“It takes time to get to wherever you’re at.
“Anyone wants to badmouth Debi, she’s helped me through a lot of things.
“I’ve been a millionaire twice, I’ve had nice homes. I could sit here and blame it on the women. But I’ve got to own it.”
On Iyanla: Fix My Life, host Vanzant slams Thomas for only feeling “frustrated” at her predicament.
“Not sad, not angry, not ashamed?” the TV host asks her.
“Not guilty that you’ve got a man, two kids and a bedbug infestation in a trailer?
“You got to a point where you couldn’t afford to do anything other than live in a trailer, is that what I’m hearing you say?”
According to PEOPLE, Thomas also lost custody of her 13-year-old son, according to the preview.