The Dayton man in the spotlight locally since his appearance on “Divorce Court” aired Friday had a one word answer when asked how one man could have 27 children.
“Sex,” Nathaniel J. Smith responded Monday.
The answer came just hours after Smith was released from the Montgomery County Jail on a failure to appear charge related to a child support case.
Smith said he was unaware of the court appearance for which he was arrested Sunday morning.
The 39-year-old father of 12 sons and 15 daughters by 17 women said he didn’t think about his children’s best interest when he was procreating.
“How I lived is wrong. I will admit everything, but I am not going to keep kicking myself in the (butt) everyday. All I can do right now is be the best father for them I can be and that is that. Whoever can’t accept that, you know, Oh well.”
Smith, who hopes to get a reality show, said his estranged wife Jasmine Cotton has been contacted by two TV talk shows since the episode aired.
A poet and performer who goes by the stage names of Brave Nate, FlexLuthor and Hustle Simmons, Smith says he is a “full-time parent” and sees at least one or two of his children nearly everyday. Some do not received all the attention they need, but Smith says he does his best.
“If I am absent, it is because the moms (are) keeping them away,” Smith said. “I am not a danger to my kids. I am not in the streets. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do none of that.”
The show Smith and Cotton appeared on was taped in June. Smith said he contacted the show hoping it could help with his divorce. Instead, the show compensated he and Cotton $570 each and paid for their flights to the taping and their hotel rooms.
Smith faced strong words from TV judge Lynn Toler. He denied preying on young women, which Cotton and Toler accused him of doing.
His wife is 23. Smith said the majority of his children’s mothers are at least 28 years old.
He said he has custody of two of the children and is currently trying to get custody of another. All said he says he is in contact with all but five of his children and has 21 child support orders.
Smith wouldn’t reveal how much money he owes in child support or say how much he pays monthly.
He said those amounts are of no one’s concern.
Child support information is not available for public inspection.
Smith said many people in Dayton knew he fathered several children before the show aired.
“With me, it really wasn’t a big deal because I know of people who have even more than me,” he said. “The difference is I take care of mine or at least attempt to.”
He said he personally knows two people with as many children as he has and one person with 40 children. He said his attorney told him of two fathers with more than 60 and more than 70 children.
Smith’s oldest child is 21 years old and is a mother. His youngest is almost a year old.
He knew his Divorce Court appearance would create a splash, but he didn’t know the reactions would be so condemning, smith said.
“To judge me? I read somethings on the website that were like, “wow.” People say I need to be in jail. If I were to go to jail, what about my kids …, what about them?” the Patterson Co-Op High School graduate asked. “People are going to be people. They get someone who has abortions all the time and they give them the thumbs up.”
He said he would be alarmed if one of his daughters introduced him to a boyfriend with several children, but he said he wouldn’t judge the person without getting to know that person’s intentions.
Smith said he has always been popular and his personality has helped attract the opposite sex.
“I am no different from a football player in college or high school,” he said. “They are coming at you.”
Before losing his barbershop a decade ago and his barber license around 2006, Smith said he had plenty of money. In recent years, his children’s mothers have contributed more.
“They had to step up. Nobody is missing a beat. I don’t have no poor looking kids,” Smith said. “I am blessed is all I’ve got to say. If I was to die today, doesn’t mean they are going to go without. Everything is going to be fine whether I am in their lives or not.”
He said he loves his children and would not change a thing if making that change would mean a single one would not be born.
“What is done is done,” he said. “One thing I would change is different moms.”
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