Nadya Suleman opens up on 'The Doctors' about ditching 'Octomom' persona

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immediately became tabloid fodder -- and dubbed "Octomom" -- after giving birth to octuplets in 2009. Nearly eight years later, she shares how difficult it was to escape the media frenzy.

"My history was haunting us," says Suleman, who now goes by "Natalie," during an appearance on Tuesday's The Doctors. "I left Octomom. I went back to my life as a counselor. My kids had a happy, healthy life. The problem is this: it's followed us, because people never knew what I did. They never knew the true story."

READ: 'Octomom' Pleads Not Guilty to Welfare Fraud

Even to this day, people still refer to Suleman as Octomom and try to get their pictures taken with her, but now she has a script that she uses to politely decline their requests.

"I say, 'I no longer go by [Octomom] anymore. Thank you so much, but I'm just a mom. I don't do that anymore,'" she says.

Prior to having octuplets, Suleman was already a mom to six children that she was struggling to provide for. When the eight additions arrived, she had to rely on public assistance to support her family. Suleman says she was so "ashamed" of accepting help from the government that she ended up "selling [herself] out."

"At the time, in my mind it was like an investment, so I could support my family," Suleman recalls.

The 41-year-old mother reportedly worked in a strip club and appeared in an adult film to put food on the table.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 17: Nadya Suleman (R), also known as 'Octomom', appears in Superior Court with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento for arraignment January 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Suleman is charged with receiving $16,481 in welfare payments illegally. (Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 17: Nadya Suleman (R), also known as 'Octomom', appears in Superior Court with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento for arraignment January 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Suleman is charged with receiving $16,481 in welfare payments illegally. (Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 17: Nadya Suleman (R), also known as 'Octomom', appears in Superior Court with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento for arraignment January 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Suleman is charged with receiving $16,481 in welfare payments illegally. (Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 08: TV personality Nadya Suleman (R) stands onstage during Spike TV's Guys Choice 2013 at Sony Pictures Studios on June 8, 2013 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 08: TV personality Nadya Suleman (R) stands onstage during Spike TV's Guys Choice 2013 at Sony Pictures Studios on June 8, 2013 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: (2L-R) Bianca Del Rio, Nadya Suleman, and Milan attend 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman Celebrity Roast at XL Nightclub on October 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Nadya Suleman attends 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman Celebrity Roast at XL Nightclub on October 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/Getty Images)
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - JUNE 22: Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman attends the Celebrity Pillow Fight press conference and weigh in at Fox And Hound on June 22, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - JUNE 22: (L-R) Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman, Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman and Shila from The Chio Morning Show attend the Celebrity Pillow Fight press conference and weigh in at Fox And Hound on June 22, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - JUNE 22: Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman blows a kiss at the Celebrity Pillow Fight Press Conference and Weigh In at the Fox And Hound Pub and Grille on June 22, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - JUNE 22: Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman poses at the Celebrity Pillow Fight Press Conference and Weigh In at the Fox And Hound Pub and Grille on June 22, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman appeared today on 'The View.'. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) NADYA SULEMAN, SHERRI SHEPHERD, ELISABETH HASSELBECK
WOODLYN, PA - FEBRUARY 15: Nadya Suleman poses at the Female Pillow Fighting Press Conference at Warehouse 24 on February 15, 2012 in Woodlyn, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 05: 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman poses backstage at the FilmOn 'Celebrity Fight Night' at Avalon on November 5, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/FilmMagic)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - AUGUST 19: Nadya Suleman attends the Celebrity Boxing Match Press Conference on August 19, 2011 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
Octomom Nadya Suleman arrives at her 36th birthday party at the House of Blues Parish Room on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman attends Millions Of Milkshakes on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman and all of her children attend Millions Of Milkshakes on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Octomum Nadya Suleman and her large family plus helpers launch their signature Milkshake at 'Millions of Milkshakes' on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Toby Canham/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman attends Millions Of Milkshakes on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Nadya Suleman Launches Her New Milkshake at Millions Of Milkshakes on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic)
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman poses for photographers in front of her home in La Habra, California on May 19, 2010. Suleman who has been facing possible home forclosure agreed to display a banner for Peta who offered to give her $5,000 USD and a month's worth of free veggie dogs and veggie burgers. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman poses for photographers in front of her home in La Habra, California on May 19, 2010. Suleman who has been facing possible home forclosure agreed to display a banner for Peta who offered to give her $5,000 USDand a month's worth of free veggie dogs and veggie burgers. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman poses for photographers in front of her home in La Habra, California on May 19, 2010. Suleman who has been facing possible home forclosure agree to display a banner for Peta who offered to give her $5,000 USD and a month's worth of free veggie dogs and veggie burgers. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman poses for photographers in front of her home in La Habra, California on May 19, 2010. Suleman who has been facing possible home forclosure agree to display a banner for Peta who offered to give her $5,000 USD and a month's worth of free veggie dogs and veggie burgers. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 25: Television personality Nadya Suleman enters the John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 25: Television personality Nadya Suleman leaves her Upper West Side hotel on February 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Nadya Suleman (a.k.a.'Octomom') makes her first-ever guest appearance on 'THE VIEW,' Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 (11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, ET) airing on the ABC Television Network. VW10 (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) BARBARA WALTERS,NADYA SULEMAN
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: Television personality Nadya 'Octomon' Suleman walks in Midtown Manhattan on February 24, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: (ITALY OUT, NY DAILY NEWS OUT, NY NEWSDAY OUT) Nadya Suleman leaves her hotel February 24, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
PEOPLE OF THE YEAR -- Pictured: Nadya Suleman -- NBC News' Matt Lauer speaks with the most fascinating, inspirational, heroic and notorious figures of 2009 (Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LA HABRA, CA - JULY 26: Nadya Suleman sighting on July 26, 2009 in La Habra, California. (Photo by Headlinephoto/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LA HABRA, CA - JULY 26: Nadya Suleman sighting on July 26, 2009 in La Habra, California. (Photo by Headlinephoto/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: Nadya Suleman sighting at a local park on May 06, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: (R) Nadya Suleman sighting at a local park on May 06, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: Nadya Suleman sighting at a local park on May 06, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: Nadya Suleman sighting at a local park on May 06, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
***EXCLUSIVE*** Nadya Suleman aka Octomom sighting at Ralphs on April 22, 2009 in Whittier, California. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LA HABRA, CA - APRIL 01: Nadya Suleman aka Octomom with her child sighting at local park on April 01, 2009 in La Habra, Californina. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Nadya Suleman sighting at leaves her home on March 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
**EXCLUSIVE** Nadya Suleman sighting at Target shop on March 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Jason Mitchell/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Airdate 02/10/2009 -- Pictured: Nadya Suleman -- In an exclusive interview, NBC News' Ann Curry sat down with Nadya Suleman in her first interview since giving birth to octuplets last week. The exclusive interview will air on 'Today' on Monday, February 9th and 'Dateline' on Tuesday, February 10th at 10pm (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Airdate 02/10/2009 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nadya Suleman, Ann Curry -- In an exclusive interview, NBC News' Ann Curry sat down with Nadya Suleman in her first interview since giving birth to octuplets last week. The exclusive interview will air on 'Today' on Monday, February 9th and 'Dateline' on Tuesday, February 10th at 10pm (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Airdate 02/10/2009 -- Pictured: Nadya Suleman -- In an exclusive interview, NBC News' Ann Curry sat down with Nadya Suleman in her first interview since giving birth to octuplets last week. The exclusive interview will air on 'Today' on Monday, February 9th and 'Dateline' on Tuesday, February 10th at 10pm (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Airdate 02/10/2009 -- Pictured: Nadya Suleman -- In an exclusive interview, NBC News' Ann Curry sat down with Nadya Suleman in her first interview since giving birth to octuplets last week. The exclusive interview will air on 'Today' on Monday, February 9th and 'Dateline' on Tuesday, February 10th at 10pm (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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"I believe the judgment I experienced was warranted, because what were people supposed to believe?" Suleman says. "All they were being fed by the media was negativity."

READ: Octomom Responds to Food Stamp Critics

Still, Suleman acknowledges that her situation was largely her own doing, as she elected to have more children through in vitro fertilization. She says she had the doctor implant 12 embryos.

"I take accountability for being dumb and irresponsible. It really was," Suleman admits. "I would like to address that absolutely I don't want to be a burden on any taxpayers and that's the goal -- to move forward and not to be a burden on anyone in society. And I own and take responsibility for my poor choices, but it certainly doesn't take away from how extraordinary these kids ended up turning out to be." Today, Suleman and her 14 children still receive partial assistance from the government, but Suleman is working and hopes that her current welfare situation is only temporary.

"I'm not proud of it. I'm not proud at all," Suleman says.

One thing she is proud of is kicking an unhealthy Xanax habit, which she says she was able to do away with after saying goodbye to her Octomom persona.

"I walked away from what was causing me to use it," Suleman says.

PICS: Hollywood's Cutest Kids

ET was there in March 2009, when the octuplets first came home from the hospital nearly two months after they were born. Inside the home, the older children were already pitching in, pushing strollers and cradling their younger siblings. At the time, Suleman told us that the unexpected attention she garnered taught her a valuable lesson.

"The ultimate lesson from my entire experience is you cannot prejudge human beings," she said. "You just can't. I don't care who they are, what their behavior or what you've heard about. You have to be able to meet the person and talk with them, and even then, that's not even enough to prejudge them."

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