Cleveland kidnap victim Michelle Knight revealed in a recent interview how she has discovered that the fame that followed her escape from Ariel Castro’s house of horrors cuts both ways.
The woman, who spent nearly 11 years in captivity, has her own apartment and her book, Finding Me, spent five weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List.
Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus split $1.4 million in donations collected after their escape.
Phil McGraw of Dr. Phil television fame presented Michelle Knight with an oversized check for more than $400,000 from his foundation.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Michelle Knight said she is ready to assume a normal life and, with it, a new name and identity – Lily Rose Lee.
She said she becomes frightened when crowds sometimes gather around her as she walks alone. She finds it annoying when people snap cellphone photos without asking.
And people from her distant past have reappeared, feigning friendship but ultimately seeking money, she said.
Michelle Knight writes in her book that she grew up under less than ideal circumstances. Food and clothing were hard to come by. Strangers drifted in and out of the house at all hours. She said her mother kept her home from school for days at a time to care for her twin brothers and assorted cousins who lived there.
She ran away from home at 15 and lived beneath a highway underpass and then with a drug dealer for a few months.
Michelle Knight was 21 when Ariel Castro lured her to his home in August 2002.
She and the other two women escaped from Ariel Castro’s home on May 6, 2013.
While Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were reunited with their families who had prayed that they would someday return, Michelle Knight refused to meet her mother who had flown to Cleveland from Florida.
Michelle Knight spent the first four months of her freedom in an assisted living facility because she had nowhere else to go.
She decided to leave her family behind. She said she forgives them but doesn’t want anything to do with them.
She also has decided to not pursue visitation rights with her son, Joey, who is now 14 and lives with adoptive parents.
Michelle Knight said her son doesn’t know she’s his birth mother and she doesn’t want to disrupt his life.