Tonya Harding's Mother Denies She Abused Her, Says They Were Never 'Trailer Trash'
By Antoinette Bueno
Tonya Harding's mother, LaVona "Sandy" Golden, is denying she physically abused Harding throughout her childhood in a sit-down with ABC News.
Golden's interview is featured in the highly anticipated two-hour special, Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story, which airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. One of Harding's most serious abuse claims include Golden allegedly throwing a steak knife at her in high school that landed in Harding's forearm, which Golden denies ever occurred. The scene is depicted in the film inspired by Harding's life, the critically acclaimed I, Tonya, starring Allison Janney as Golden and Margot Robbie as Harding.
“I didn’t abuse any of my children,” Golden tells ABC News. “Spanked? Yes, [I] spanked. Absolutely, positively you [have] got to show them right from wrong.”
Golden admits to spanking Harding once with a hairbrush at a competition, in response to Harding's claim that her mother dragged her into the bathroom and beat her with a hairbrush. As for the alleged knife incident, Golden claims her daughter has a history of lying.
“Why would I throw a steak knife at anybody?” Golden asks. “She’s lied so much she doesn’t know what isn’t a lie anymore.”
Golden also disputes Harding's comments on the nature of her upbringing.
“Tonya herself called us trailer trash," Golden says. "We were never trailer trash. We had a beautiful new trailer. We didn’t live in filth or dirt or anything that I would call unusual.”
One claim she also disputes is Harding's allegation that Golden would mix a large amount of brandy with her coffee in the morning, then drive her to school when Harding was still a child. The former ice skater says she began to suspect that her mother "was drinking a lot" when she was 11 years old.
"I would have coffee, and sometimes I would put brandy flavoring in it," Golden says in response. "I loved brandy flavoring. You can't get drunk on flavoring -- sorry to disappoint you."
Despite their rocky relationship, the mother of four does have fond memories of her famous daughter growing up, specifically, her natural ice skating ability.
“Whatever the other people were doing, she turned around right behind them and did the same thing,” Golden recalls. “She wasn’t supposed to be able to do any of it, but she just went and did it.”
“Tonya was my little dynamo,” she adds of Harding, whose father is her third husband. “I called her my little twinkle, my little star.”
"I felt so sorry for her that she had to actually play me, you know?" she said. "You got this top, beautiful actress that actually has to try to -- and did and succeeded -- go through what I went through? When I watched Margot playing me, and the looks that she had, I knew that she had been studying me for quite some time. And when she told me, 'Well, I'd been studying you for almost a year,' I was, like, 'Oh, my god.'"