There’s high anticipation for the premiere of the upcoming Lifetime biopic, Surviving Compton: Dr. Dre, Suge & Me, chronicling the life and times, love and abuse of 90s R&B singer Michel’le Toussaint known mononymously as Michel’le.
With a tiny voice but a vast range, the “Something in My Heart” songstress encountered first hand the trauma of domestic violence in not only one but two relationships with a couple of Hip-Hip’s biggest names during her rise to fame.
Here are 5 things to know about Michel’le, her relationship with Dr. Dre and her marriage to Suge Knight.
1. Michel’le signed to Ruthless Records in 1989.
Michel’le was originally a featured female vocalist on World Class Wreckin’ Cru’s 1987 single “Turn Off the Lights.” Soon she caught the attention of Eazy-E and signed to his label. Dr. Dre served as the sole producer on the South Central native’s self-titled debut album and because they worked so closely in a professional manner, their relationship soon became intimate.
2. Michel’le and Dre welcomed a child in 1991.
Michel’le gave birth to Dre’s fourth child, a son named Marcel now 25.
3. The two were a couple for 6 years.
During their relationship, which included parenthood and an engagement, Dre raised his hand to Michel’le several times. According to Michel’le he broke her nose, cracked her ribs and blackened her eyes. The relationship prompted a downward spiral into substance abuse for the chart-topping singer.
“When you’re living in it, you can’t see it. But I couldn’t believe that I was really living like that,” she recently said during an interview with The Huffington Post. “And it really resonated with me. Never did I wake up and ask Dre, ‘Why did you hit me?’”
4. Marion “Suge” Knight became her knight in shining armor.
In 1999, Michel’le found solace with Death Row Records founder Suge Knight. The two married and welcomed a daughter Bailei, now 14. Although, the marriage was invalid because Knight was still married to another woman.
5. Michel’le stood by Suge during his prison stint.
The couple was together for eight years, with Suge being incarcerated for six of them. Currently Suge is back in jail on a 2015 attempted murder charge. “I am used to Suge’s behavior,” Michel’le said in a recent interview with the Daily Mail. “Most of our relationship was under the shadow of him being in and out of prison and always being in trouble.”
6. Much like Dre, Michel’le suffered abuse at the hands of Suge.
She claims the Death Row Records founder only hit her one time. He later promised not to hit her agains because “she was too small.”
Michel’le is most proud that Surviving Compton is airing in October, which also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month, she told ESSENCE. “It organically happened,” Michel’le says of the film’s timing. “Just the way it was supposed to and I hope women watching the movie feel empowered. ”
Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le premieres Saturday Oct. 15 at 8 pm ET on Lifetime.