Her telling of the tale. Dr. Dre’s ex-wife, Michel’le, shared her side of the story in Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, a Lifetime biopic that aired on Saturday, October 15.
In the biopic, Michel’le, played by actress Rhyon Nicole Brown, was allegedly abused at the hands of Dr. Dre throughout the course of their relationship, a claim that the famed producer has denied. (The pair share one son, Marcel, born in 1991.)
Surviving Compton’s executive producer, Leslie Greif, told IndieWire that Dr. Dre even went so far as to send a cease-and-desist letter to Sony Pictures to try to put a damper on the film.
“I heard Sony said they vetted the film and stand by it, and will not allow Michel’le’s voice to be silenced,” Greif told the site. “They’re supporting this picture.… These are not new stories. Dr. Dre and Suge Knight have not seen the film, to my knowledge, and are presupposing what they did and how it might make them appear on screen.”
Michel’le also told the site that she had an emotional reaction to watching herself be portrayed on screen.
“This is no joke,” she said. “I would never want anyone to live this life. I’m watching myself when I watched them portray me and Dr. Dre, and it touched me in a different way.… It was a very eye-opening experience. I didn’t see it that way [at the time]. I thought it was just normal for me.”
As a result of the alleged abuse, Michel’le spiraled into substance abuse that landed her in rehab.
The biopic also portrays Michel’le’s relationship with Knight, the cofounder of Death Row Records. The pair share a daughter, Bailei, who was born in 2002, shortly before the pair called off their marriage (which turned out to be void because Knight was still married to another woman at the time).
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the “No More Lies” singer noted that Knight also threatened to sue her and Lifetime if the film made him “look any type of way.”
Still, she said, despite all the fallout, Michel’le doesn’t regret either relationship, though she is struggling to reconcile her experiences and grow from them. “People can tell you about it, but it’s also a mental thing,” she told the Huffington Post. “It wasn’t just physical. Of course, it affected me mentally because I’m still talking about it. So it’s a scar on your brain, but you have to find it in your heart to just put it away.”
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