The ninth child of Duane ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ Chapman, Lyssa Chapman has experienced a childhood that can best be described as harrowing. Her father was a crack addict, her mother an alcoholic and she became a teen mother.
Yet somehow Lyssa, 25, managed to turn her life around. Her inspiring story is recounted in ‘Walking on Eggshells.’ The mother of two daughters, aged almost 11 and three, spoke to FOX411 about the book.
FOX411: You have had quite a life.
Lyssa Chapman: It’s so funny I keep hearing that but really it was the only life I ever knew. That was what really inspired me to write the story because when I did tell people little tidbits of my life their reaction was, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you’re still standing,’ so I thought, ‘Well this would be a really good story to get out.’
FOX411: You became a mother at a very young age, as did your sister.
Chapman: I got pregnant at 14. I gave birth the day after my 15th birthday. Right after I had the baby my mom moved with her boyfriend. Basically she just stuck us in in a trailer and told us to pay rent. At one point it was just me and my daughter and I was coming up with $500 rent every month by babysitting. I was too young for welfare or a homeless shelter. I really didn’t have many options. I was also getting with the guys who I knew had the most drugs.
FOX411: You couldn’t go to your Dad?
Chapman: Because of my accusations against him I really felt he thought I was a threat. Everything he had built he didn’t want me to hurt. I had pretty much broken the cardinal rule as far as the Chapman family went and I was written off.
I [falsely] accused my father of raping me when I was 11. I had been molested by a friend of his. It was a horrible life that I never wanted to go back to, living with him and Beth and the fighting and the drugs. When I got to my mother’s, although she drank, it was much more peaceful. I was in school, I had friends, I was willing to do anything to not go back.
I feel like my mom had a lot of hurt feelings about my Dad too. If that happened with one of my daughters, I would definitely sit them down, especially if it was about my ex-husband to try and talk it out a little bit. I would have cracked absolutely but I think she wanted very badly to believe it because she had so many hard feelings towards my father.
FOX411: When did you move back in with your father?
Chapman: I didn’t have cable. I had heard Dad was the star of a show but I didn’t know anything about it so when I saw those cameras the first day I was astonished.
FOX411: Do you still speak to your parents?
Chapman: My mom still drinks a lot. It’s hard for me to be really close with her. We haven’t seen each other since my sister died in 2006. But I have a great relationship with my Dad, as healthy as we can be. I love him with all of my heart. I have my challenges with his wife but I love my family.
I feel like at the time he did the best he could do. He was really addicted to drugs and really couldn’t get off them. He was doing the best that he could at the time. Being a parent and the struggles with drugs that I went through and what I put my children through... the point of the story is people have problems and sometimes their young children get caught in the middle of their problems.
FOX411: When do you get clean?
Chapman: I got arrested in 2011. I was out drinking with friends. Somebody put something in my drink and I was out walking the streets at three in the morning. The cops arrested me for disturbing the peace. I had been off drugs for about a year but after that I took anything that was mind altering and just put it to the side and really changed my life.
When people ask me, ‘How are you still standing?’ I just say ‘God.’ He’s the one role model who’s been there my whole life. He’s the one person who loves me unconditionally and I really feel that if it was not for my relationship with God I would not be standing.
I go to church every week. I take my daughters everywhere. I try to do everything I can to make sure they never go through anything I went through. The way that I do that is just supervision. It’s really not that hard.
FOX411: And you’re working on a TV show?
Chapman: I’m in development for my own show. We’re putting it together, a show with teen moms helping them get jobs and helping them with their families. Teens are so bombarded with sex these days. It’s all about sex and then when they get pregnant it becomes this big glorified event or they’re shamed by their family. We’ve got to bring down those teen pregnancies rates and the main way to do that is through information and show them that this life isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be but you can be a successful parent even if you have a child at a young age. It doesn’t mean you’re destined to be trash for the rest of your life.