5 Things You Didn't Know about Iyanla Vanzant

We all know Iyanla Vanzant from her television show on the OWN channel, called Iyanla Fix My Life.  Iyanla is well respected by most, but some criticize her approach of how she tries to fix people lives on her show. 
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When Iyanla's show Iyanla Fix My Life first started airing on the OWN channel, I kept hearing small things like Oprah Winfrey and Iyanla has beef.  I never believe that until I started doing my research.  So, as you can imagine, when I starting reading more on this story, other things came to the surface about Iyanla's life too.  Things like she graduated from law school, she has five children, she was a millionaire over 11 years ago, but carelessly lost her money by over spending, and that she has been a genuinely spiritual person while being in the celebrity spotlight.


So, here is 5 things you didn't know about Iyanla Vanzant, plus a little more information for you learn about her background roots, how her career was started, and how Iyanla fixed her own life. 


#1 Iyanla experienced the lost of her daughter Gemmia
Iyanla had a daughter, named Gemmia.  She died from a rare form of colon cancer on Christmas day in 2003.  After her death Iyanla suffered from depression, suicide thoughts, and hurt. 


She talks about the day Gemmia died in her book Peace from Broken Pieces and let me just say it is a teary-eye type of book.  Iyanla really gives us an insight of what she went through during those last couple of hours her daughter was alive and she talks about how she knew her daughter was transitioning from life her on earth to the after life in heaven.


She says she had a dream how Gemmia was standing in the middle between her and Jesus.  As Gemmia was fading in and out on that Christmas day, she could feel pain in her joints, in her organs as Gemmia's began to shut down, and she notice Gemmia was like in a transformation as she was going in and out of conscious.  One instance Iyanla ask Gemmia who's house were they at?  Everyone was gathered at Gemmia's house, but Gemmia mention she was at Damon's house.  Iyanla says, she know when people begin to make the transition from life to after life, they begin to travel to say good-bye.....To finish reading the book purchase it below at Amazon.com  (I am getting my copy!)

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Iyanla Vanzant with her daughter Gemmia.  Gemmia loss her battle with cancer in 2003
#2 Iyanla Files for Bankrupty
Did you know Iyanla use to be a millionaire, before her show Iyanla Fix My Life?  She was actually a millionaire at a young age.  At one time she was receiving million dollar checks from her book deal.  Not sure how often, but it sounds like she was receiving quite a few.  However, she missed managed her money by not paying taxes on her home, her mortgage ballooned, her talk show with Oprah was cancelled, and she lost her publishing deal, which they sued her for the money advancement they gave her for the book(s). 


#3 It's 2014 and Iyanla says she rents, shops at Walmart, and is living check to check
Iyanla has been starting over after bankruptcy.  So how is she doing it?  Iyanla says,


"I rent instead of own.
I shop at Wal-Mart.
I do a lot more of my own cooking.
I have a new normal.
I have a lot of fewer needs.
I have absolutely no savings. 
I wouldn't say that I'm broke.
I would say that I'm working class poor.
I don't look like I'm dying of starvation. "



"I fill my like with things that are more fulfilling, like scrap booking and making my own soap, which I sell locally.  It's not something that I do not do to become rich and famous, but simply for the joy and the peace of it."

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Twitter Picture from Iyanla.  Cooking for the holidays 2013
She says, "Instead of living from check to check, she is living prayer to prayer."


#4 Iyanla had three children by the age of 21 years old
Iyanla got pregnant at 16 years old and had three kids by twenty one.  She depended on welfare to get her by, but was able to put herself through Medgar Evers College and then law school.  She says,

"I didn't have money for child care, so I took my children to college with me and they sat in the hallway.  They went everywhere with me." 

Iyanla didn't have her mother, because she died when Iyanla was only three years old.  Her daddy was thrown in jail and her aunt raised her. 

#5 Iyanla and Oprah's beef
For a year and a half, Iyanla was regular on the Oprah daytime show.  Oprah enjoyed Iyanla so much on the show, that she would give the entire show to Iyanla, while she sat in the audience.  She did this, because she thought Iyanla was so gifted.


Iyanla told Oprah she loved the Oprah daytime show, but felt like Oprah never liked her.  She thought Oprah only wanted her work and didn't care about her as a person. 


Oprah ask Iyanla "What did you think it meant when I sat in the audience to let you take the stage?"




When it came to developing a show for Iyanla, she must have known there was going to be one in the making through Harpo studios.  But Barbara Walters had also brought it to Iyanla's attention that she was offering her a show too.  The show from Oprah wasn't going to happen for a while and Iyanla thought the offer from Barbara was better, because they were ready to start her show now.  However, it turned out to be a flop. 


Before, taking the offer from Barbara Walters, Iyanla let Oprah know what was going on.  Iyanla says before talking to Oprah she fasted and prayed about what she should do...Whether she should wait on Oprah to make a decision about the show they were giving her or go on with the offer from Barbara Walters. 


Iyanla states "God told her it was the anointed time for the Iyanla Show."  Meaning it was time for her to have her own show.  So, with that being said Iyanla went to Oprah and told her she had received an offer from someone else about doing a show, but not mentioning Barbara Walters name.  Oprah took the news as Iyanla giving her an ultimatum and she pretty much showed her the door.  But Iyanla says, it was not an ultimatum. 


When Oprah and Iyanla talked a few years later about this Oprah says she felt like she told Iyanla that she wasn't ready for a show, because she was under developed for her own show at that point in her life.  Iyanla disagreed and said nobody told her nothing.  She thought the people apart of the Harpo team including Oprah was not prepared to do a show featuring her. 


But Oprah disagree too with what Iyanla said.  Oprah told Iyanla she knew what she was doing when she walked into that room over 11 years ago and she had every intention to try to force their hand. 


Iyanla admitted that she was not able to receive the good things that Oprah was offering her, because of her own emotional hang ups.  She told Oprah and her audience that she didn't have an office, she had no control over her own show, the producers had not read any of her books, Barbara Walters was just trying to steal her away from Oprah, and she was doomed to fail from the beginning.  She said her taking the deal with Barbara Walters was her pattern of aligning herself with people that treated her badly.


She was a teacher of spiritual laws and principles, but all that came to a halt and she stop making appearances over 11 years ago. 


Iyanla Book Peace from Broken Pieces
Iyanla Vanzant has 15 published books.  Wow! 


In Iyanla's book Peace from Broken Pieces, she shares with us the thoughts, the emotions, and the experience leading up to her daughter Gemmia's death on Christmas Day.  Iyanla says


"I am going to tell you a story about how a New York Times best-selling author ends up flat broke, looking for a place to live. 
I am going to show you how a 37-year relationship ends in divorce by e-mail. 
I am going to share with you the intimate details of how an internationally recognized spiritual teacher ends up on the edge of the bed in a million dollar home slated for foreclosure, contemplating suicide. 
I am also going to tell you about the power of friends, faith, and prayer."



"I am going to tell you about betrayal and the devastation it causes for everyone involved. 
I want to share with you what I have learned about having and not having a vision, and the cost of holding on to a vision that is not yours. 
I want you to know what I have learned about personality flaws, human weaknesses, a corrupted mind, a broken heart, and a depleted spirit. 
These are the pieces of my life that led to it's total and complete collapse pieces of my life that I didn't even know existed until my life fell into pieces." 




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Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through (2012), Available @ Amazon.com $12.13 (paperback)
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Follow Iyanla Vanzant @:
  1. www.IyanlaVanzant.com
  2. Iyanla's Blog
  3. Contact Iyanla for prayer, speaking engagements, media inquiries, or general questionsI
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