Gabi Butler’s parents may not have won over social media users who watched Cheer, but according to Monica Aldama, the 22-year-old’s mom and dad aren’t as bad as they seemed on TV.
“I’ve known Gabi’s parents for a long time and they are honestly some of the best people, they would give you the shirt off their back,” the 49-year-old Navarro coach told Us Weekly exclusively. “They take in a lot of kids that need help and I don’t know that it necessarily showed that side. They’re funny, they’re a crazy bunch of people, but in a fun way.”
Monica added that Gabi’s parents “really care about” their daughter.
“Maybe they were a little much in the show, but they’re really, really awesome people and they really would give anybody the shirt off their back,” she explained.
While watching the six-part docuseries, social media users accused Gabi’s parents of exploiting her career, pushing her too far and being too controlling about her diet. Gabi, for her part, called the series eye-opening for her entire family.
“My parents were like, ‘Wow, maybe we do need to let her be more independent and let her make her own decisions for herself,'” Gabi said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, January 23. “I really just think that it was great because I really started to love myself more and being like, ‘I need to be more positive about myself.’ I’m very grateful for the show.”
Earlier this month, she took to Twitter to defend her family.
“My parents are amazing and have always been there for me,” Gabi wrote on January 8. “Every time I have made money from cheer opportunities it has gone into my own account. My father already runs several successful businesses and has showed me how to create my own. They push me to be my best and I am more thankful than ever for their love and support. They have helped shape me into the person, athlete and coach I am today. So please stop with the negativity towards them.”
Monica, meanwhile, admitted to Us that it was difficult at times to watch her students on the series.
“I knew that they were opening up and telling their stories. But I think watching it back, I didn’t realize how emotional I would get,” she explained. “Even though I know these kids, I know their stories, it was just told in such a touching way that, I’ve watched it four times and I’ve cried every single time.”
The coach added that the final episode, which documented the NCA College Nationals in Daytona, California, was extra emotional.
“In the last episode, it was like I was reliving that moment. I was nervous, my heart was racing, I felt nauseous,” she said. “I did not expect to watch it back with all of those emotions.”
Cheer is currently streaming on Netflix.
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