Las Vegas superstar Terry Fator is opening up about his painful early years in North Texas.
The ventriloquist and singer, who won "America’s Got Talent" in 2007, recently sat down with NBC 5’s Brian Curtis before a performance at Oklahoma’s WinStar World Casino and Resort.
Fator talked candidly about his difficult relationship with his father.
“To this day, he’s never told me I’m good,” Fator said.
Fator said he was terrified of his father and his extreme religious beliefs.
“He got this messianic narcissistic complex where he began to believe that he was Christ on Earth.”
Fator said living with his father was like being in a cult. The two men eventually went their separate ways, and Fator said they have not spoken in 15 years.
Fator also revealed his struggles after winning ‘America’s Got Talent’ and landing a headline act at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
“Once I got all the fame and the fortune and got all of my dreams to come true, everything around me collapsed,” he said.
Fator went through a messy divorce. There was financial trouble and lawsuits. At one point, Fator wanted out.
“I even wrote an email to some of my business partners and I was like, ‘Look, I don’t know how much more I can do this. It’s not working out.’”
Help wasn’t far. A relationship blossomed between Fator and his onstage assistant, Taylor Makakoa. She is more than 20 years younger than he is, which caused plenty of whispers in Vegas.
Fator isn’t shy about setting the record straight about why they clicked.
“Knowing that she wasn’t after me for the fame or the money or anything — that she just wanted a solid relationship. Both of us went through those rocky times, and I’ll tell you, she’s a gem.”
They have been happily married for four years now and continue to perform together.
Seven years after hitting it big, Fator said all of his struggles are in the past.
“It’s nice to be on the other side of that,” Fator said.
His Vegas show is as popular as ever. But the entertainer with humble beginnings in North Texas refuses to get caught up in celebrity.
“You know, I almost never think about the degree of my success. My focus is so much on my audience.”
After a long personal journey, Fator has no distractions.