Booker T and Son Share Relationship Struggles
In the second of a six-part series examining the private life of wrestling star Booker T, the WWE legend and his son offer a raw, unflinching look at their struggle to remain a family — and the crime that drove them apart.
Emerging from an adolescence marked by poverty, drugs and jail time, Booker T went on to become one of the biggest stars in sports entertainment. But even as his career in the ring flourished, his journey as a father to his oldest son, Brandon Terrell Huffman, was characterized by clashes between the two headstrong men. As Brandon grew older and his actions grew more serious, the bond between the two would stretch to its breaking point — and well beyond.
Here, in their own words, is an unvarnished look at their tumultuous relationship, from Booker’s attempts to warn Brandon off a life of crime to Brandon’s longstanding resentments over his father’s tough love. The two couldn’t be more different — or more alike.
1989: After serving 19 months for an armed robbery, 24-year-old Booker T. Huffman is released from prison, determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. He settles into a steady job at a warehouse while fighting for custody of Brandon, his five-year-old son who had been admitted into foster care after his mother, Angela, turned him over to the Texas protective services system.
Brandon: I was in the foster care system for about seven months by that point. All I remembered of my dad prior to that was him carrying me on his shoulders. And then he went away. When he came back, I’d see him every week or every other week. I looked at him as superhuman back then. He came out of prison built. Ladies loved him.
Booker: With the court system, you had to prove you were father-worthy. I went to social services to meet with him on certain days. It was almost like he was in jail and I was getting visitation. They told me how long I could sit with him. You couldn’t be alone with him. It was like that for a year before they finally said, okay, you two can be together. It was like they gave him parole. And then it was like, now what?
Brandon: We moved into a two-bedroom apartment on the south side of Houston. Our furniture didn’t match. I didn’t know we were poor. I thought it was cool back then to eat these food spreads with noodles and a can of soup. I didn’t know he got that from prison until I went to jail myself.
Booker: He wasn’t a bad kid at all. From six to 10 years old, he was outgoing, he had friends. But I still felt like there was something going on. He just couldn’t concentrate when it came to school. I had the same thing. I never thought I was dumb, but I had problems.
Brandon: I grew up with dyslexia. I stuttered, I couldn’t read well, I talked out of the side of my mouth. So you start to cope by not doing the work and by lying to teachers. And I’d get into trouble. Was I scared of him? Sure. But when he started wrestling, I might only see him every four months. So I’d get into trouble, but then he’d be gone in two days.
Booker: I got the call from WCW and I knew I’d be on the road pretty much all the time, so Brandon went to go live with my sister Carolyn while I moved to Atlanta.
Brandon: I remember rolling by the U-Haul where he used to work and asking if we were gonna stop in. And he said, “I don’t work there anymore. I work for WCW now.” I remember thinking, Oh, shit, I thought you did wrestling for free.
Booker: The plan was to see if it was gonna work out, and then I’d come to get him. I’m sure he thought he could get away with more when I was gone.
Brandon: I would say that staying with my aunt rebuilt me. It was the hood, but I learned to do schoolwork. Carolyn was always there for me no matter what. My dad was traveling, and I get that, but there could’ve been more phone calls. I understand he was trying to build a better life for both of us now, but at the time, I felt the effects of not having a dad on a day-to-day basis.
“I felt the effects of not having a dad on a day-to-day basis.”
— Brandon T. Huffman
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