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Betty Kresin speaks to the BBC's Zubeida Malik
"He has no privacy, he has no life"
 real 28k

Friday, 9 February, 2001, 11:44 GMT
Eminem's family pleads for peace
Masked man: Eminem on stage in Manchester
Rapper Eminem's estranged relatives have pleaded for peace in their warring family.

Grandmother Betty Kresin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the 28-year-old performer, whose short tour of the UK has caused a sensation, that she wants to "stop this war between us".

Eminem - whose real name is Marshall Mathers III - has been criticised for sexist and homophobic lyrics, but Kresin defended her grandson.

Eminem's father walked out when he was a baby
"He's no worse than the rest of them - I don't like some of the lyrics myself, but this is what the people want to hear," she said.

"If they're going to criticise my grandson, criticise the rest of them. What about Limp Bizkit? And Ozzy Osbourne, who used to eat live bats on stage.

"They seem to be singling my grandson out. They're picking on him."

She added: "I'm sure he's very hurt - he's worked very hard. He wasn't born with a golden spoon in his mouth."

About 100 campaigners protested outside the venue in Manchester on Thursday where Eminem played the first of three UK dates to a sell-out crowd of 15,000.

His shows continue at the London Arena on Friday and Saturday.

I want to stop this war between us because life's too short

Betty Kresin

Ms Kresin said he was a "very kind, loving, caring father" who "worships" his toddler daughter Hayley.

But she said he was under pressure because he had lost his privacy since rocketing to fame.

The rapper has fallen out with his family - and Eminem has used his songs to attack his mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs.

Ms Kresin said it was "heartbreaking" that she was not speaking to him.

"He's my first grandchild, I was there then he opened his eyes, I love that boy.

"I want to stop this war between us because life's too short - I want him to hang in there, because everything's going to be okay."

I want him to know that I'm here for him if he lets me back into his life

Marshall Mathers II
She told how he grew up without his father, and his mother "didn't allow him to play sports, and he didn't belong to boy scouts or anything".

"He tried to write to his father in the first years of his life, but he letters were always returned. It very hard for him in the first years of his life."

Father speaks

Eminem's father, Marshall Mathers II, told The Mirror newspaper from his home in San Diego that he wanted forgiveness from the son he walked out on as a baby.

"I desperately want to meet my son and tell him that I love him. I want him to know that I'm here for him if he lets me back into his life," he said.

"I'm not interested in his money. I just want to talk to him. I want him to know that I'm here for him if he lets me back into my life."

Eminem has attacked both his parents in his lyrics - "my mom smokes more dope than I do" and "when you see my dad, tell him I slit his throat in this dream I had".

But his mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs, is considering dropping legal action over his lyrics.

She told ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme: "That's something we're thinking about. We're working on it."

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See also:

09 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Protests greet Eminem concert
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