After watching the drunken dreadfulness of City High’s Robbie Pardlo on last week’s episode of Intervention many people pointed the finger at Claudette Ortiz for being a contributing factor in his alcoholism after she smashed and later married their mutual homie. In an exclusive in-depth interview Claudette sheds light on her dark past with the singer and explains her side of the story.
Sheis...: Why did you feel the need to speak out about the A&E Intervention special & how you've been portrayed in the media since that special aired?
Claudette Ortiz: Initially I wasn't going to say anything... & I think that stemmed from fear because of the relationship I had with Robbie... it was an abusive one. He portrayed it like it was a "lovely romance" & it wasn't. I just want to move on & put things behind me. Other people may be in the same position I was in... & if you don't eventually stand up for yourself it can carry on for the next 12 years... like in my case. It was time to tell the truth... the truth that he so conveniently left out in the intervention.
Sheis...: How did you & Robbie meet?
Claudette Ortiz: I met Robbie before the group (City High)... We started out as friends... we were both singers & knew some of the same people... My older sister and him were in the same grade so she knew him too... they were 2 grades above me... when we first started dating she said to me "are you sure you want to date him?" I asked her what she meant by that & she told me Robbie had a reputation of getting really drunk (since) back then & told me a story about him drinking excessively to the point where he'd passed out. I knew he drank but I never saw that side of it. He was my first boyfriend, we were young I was 16 & he was 18... we were nice teenagers. Everything seemed fine in the beginning but over time it became like a nightmare.
Sheis...: A nightmare? How so?
Claudette Ortiz: At first it started with me finding out about other girls... I stayed through that... I'm sure every woman can relate to believing a man lying to you about cheating, even when all the signs were right in my face... & that caused problems but it was the drunken fits that really scared me & made want to end our relationship...
Sheis...: Describe one of those episodes...
Claudette Ortiz: The summer I was turning 17 Wyclef had a 4th of July BBQ at his house... there were a bunch of music industry people... I don't recall what exactly brought it on, but he blacked out on me at the BBQ... he got in my face & started yelling "You ain't sh*t, you ain't ever gonna be sh*t"... & Robbie is a big guy he was so close I could feel the spit hitting me in my face. At my age I was so intimidated by that... belittling me in front of all those important people. There was another time I was confronting him about a girl & he threw a brush at me... I ducked & the brush went through his bedroom door... that's how much force he used... If I hadn't ducked I probably wouldn't even be a alive today. I gathered my things & started to walk home... I lived about 2 miles from Robbie's house... & that wasn't uncommon for me do... there were plenty of nights we'd argue or he'd pass out & I would walk home... He came out the house yelling & started beating up his car. Broke the head light, started pounding on the hood... his mother came out & called me back... I felt like since it was his mother asking me to come back in the house I should... when I got inside we all sat down to talk & she was telling me things like I shouldn't add fuel the fire... basically making me feel like it was my fault.
Sheis...: Had he ever gotten physical with you besides throwing things?
Claudette Ortiz: He'd push me, mush me... never anything closed handed... but I just remember being scared that he would eventually go a step further.
Sheis..: Oh I see, so it was more mental abuse but you feared it would escalate...
Claudette Ortiz: Yes, I mean even when it came to the group. Robbie was signed first... after Wyclef saw how we worked together he decided to sign us as a group. So Robbie would at times say things like if it wasn't for him I would never have become anything... God gave me my talent & only he can take it away.
Sheis...: How did your relationship with him end?
Claudette Ortiz: We were working on the album & it was rare for him not to be drunk... My management asked me not break up with him (he knows this) but it just became too difficult for me. Going on the road, recording... it was terrible. We were in Hit Factory & I remember him walking past me & he said "so this it, we over?" & I said "yes".
Sheis: So you guys broke up before the first single came out?
Claudette Ortiz: Yes, even before the album was finished.
Sheis..: On the A&E Intervention it was stated that you broke up with Robbie on tour in Europe & started dating Ryan...
Claudette Ortiz: No, we hadn't even been traveling overseas yet... & Robbie & I were broken up for a year before Ryan & I started any kind of romance.
Sheis...: I never even knew you dated Robbie, I only knew about your relationship with Ryan... So after you broke up with Robbie how did you & Ryan start dating?
Claudette Ortiz: Ryan was always a good friend to me... when Robbie & I broke up it seemed as if most of the people around us took his side... so people were always saying things about me & Ryan would defend me so I was looking at him like he was my hero. It got to the point where I didn't even want to be alone with Robbie... he was always looking at me like he was disgusted or something... so if I'd be in the studio or somewhere alone with Robbie I'd say to myself "where is Ryan?" One time (& I don't think he was trying to hit me but he certainty wasn't paying attention to what he was doing) he threw a champagne bottle & again I had to move out of the way to prevent from getting hit. People thought he was going to hurt me because of how he treated me. Ryan was the total opposite... he has a lot of respect for women.
Sheis...: OK, so now you're in a group with your ex-boyfriend & current boyfriend... how did that work?
Claudette Ortiz: They weren't best friends like Robbie likes to try & make it seem... Robbie was my teenage boyfriend & it wasn't like I just hopped from one to the other... I married Ryan & was with him for 9.5 years. While we were in the group Robbie was still doing the same things... at one point Wyclef wanted to kick him out because he'd missed like 2 or 3 appearances... we were doing a radio interview once & Robbie was laying sprawled out on the floor... it was embarrassing...
Sheis...: On Intervention they made it seem as if Robbie became an alcoholic because you left him & got with Ryan...
Claudette Ortiz: He was like that before City High... I got with Ryan because Robbie was an alcoholic... & the way he treated me. If I had a man now that had problems with alcoholism but treated me good, I'd stick around & help him through it. Robbie says he was so in love with me, but I've heard him say the same things about his other girlfriends & he treated them the same way.
Sheis...: Did you see the part on the Intervention when he was watching the City High video on youtube & he & his current girlfriend started arguing because she was trying to sleep?
Claudette Ortiz: I mean, it was difficult for me to watch certain things. I was saying to myself ''wow you haven't changed''... & what you saw was mild... my heart felt for her because I know how that feels. This is why I'm talking about it... I wanted to finally speak up & clear my name, but also speak to females in that position. We think we are being strong by staying trying to work through it, but all it's doing is tearing you down when a man treats you like that... You need a man to help you be the entire woman you're meant to be... He's not loving you... he's loving himself... it's hard to get out of those kind of situations... I have compassion for those women, hopefully God can use me to inspire them... & it's especially hard to leave when children are involved... but you can't help your children when you're down & out...
Sheis...: You & Ryan have children but you're not together anymore correct?
Claudette Ortiz: We are very close friends. We had both of our sons before we got married... we had a good relationship for a long time. Around 2007 it started fading out, we were changing... we'd gotten together pretty young & so we separated. I started seeing someone else & had my daughter at that time & I don't know who Malicious Jynx is, that is not my daughter's father. My daughter's father is just a normal hard working business man. He's not even in the industry...
Sheis...: So hold on... you don't know that guy that is being reported as your daughter's father?
Claudette Ortiz: No I don't know who that is. I saw a rumor on Wikipedia a while back saying I was dating him & had a child by him... I was in the studio with Bryan Michael Cox & we laughing about it... I wasn't even pregnant with my daughter yet... I don't know that guy & never met him...
Sheis...: How is your relationship with Ryan now?
Claudette Ortiz: At some point after I had my daughter Ryan & I got back together... but we eventually decided to end our romantic relationship. I absolutely still love Ryan, we're very good friends. He's been praying for me, calling to make sure I'm o.k. with all of this... being a good friend like he's always been.
Sheis...: Have you spoken to Robbie?
Claudette Ortiz: No... but what's funny is the people over at A&E called us to be on the show. My reaction was did his family ask for me to be on there? Because if not, that's none of my business... I wanted to know if his mom knew that they had reached out to me, when I found out she had no idea I was just like in that case I'm not going to do it.
Sheis...: What are your overall thoughts about the A&E special?
Claudette Ortiz: I didn't watch it when it came on but then all this stuff started popping up on the internet & when I decided that I was going to do this interview I had to watch it... I'm being used a scapegoat for his failure... he didn't appreciate me, City High... I saw him on there talking about the red carpet... he didn't appreciate the red carpet... I'm 18 years old living my dream, we were nominated for a Grammy & here is Robbie drunk... drunker than I've ever seen, I'm hoping we don't win because I didn't think he could control himself if we had to go on stage an accept the award. To be ridiculed for something you did is one thing, but for lies & non-sense? That's not going to work...
Sheis...: What do you feel is the biggest misconception &/or lie?
Claudette Ortiz: That the group broke up because of me or my actions. After I had my first son & it was time to start recording the second album, I said to myself I couldn't do it... I couldn't be in this group with him anymore... that would mean spending time around him, my son would be around him... & I didn't want that. So I spoke with my manager & Ryan... it was a hard decision to make but I prayed about it. I left the group in June 2003... he knows my reasons... he wanted to stay in the group... maybe that's why he blames me. But if me leaving because I didn't want to deal with the nightmare anymore is a bad thing, then I'll take that. I'd been dealing with it since 1998 all the way through to 2003. I don't know many solid women that can deal with that for so long... I even initially took the blame... I remember doing the Wendy Williams show & accepting all responsibility for the breakup because I didn't want to talk about the truth... I don't think he expected me to say anything... but I'm not that little girl anymore. I'm not weak, I'm a grown woman. I have children, got married, divorced... you have to stand up for yourself & that's what I'm doing.
Sheis...: Aside from doing this interview how do you think you'll get closure on this situation?
Claudette Ortiz: I'm planning on leaving this behind. I want to stay away from all that negativity. I'm gonna stay positive, surround myself with positive people & stay focused on the goals I have set for myself. We broke up when I was 17... I'm going on 29! I have no hate in my heart for him, I just want him to move on with his life & leave me alone... I hope he finds a woman who's willing to stay by his side. I hope the intervention works for him.
Sheis...: Career wise whats the next move for you?
Claudette Ortiz: I've been working in between my kids. I was on Interscope but they didn't like the material, after I had Bella they released me. I'd just been waiting for her to get a little bigger & stronger, she'll be 2 in April. So I'm back working... Anton Marchand is managing me & I'm in talks with an independent label... I'm about to go hard & I'm excited! I feel good, I'm happy, I'm single... I've been in a relationship most of my adult life... I'm not dating, I'm just enjoying delving into myself. Learning more about me & focusing on my kids. I have great people in my life... amazing friends & I just want them to know they are appreciated because I couldn't have made it without them.
Here's Robbie on Intervention: