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Danny Trejo 'Took Over' after His Kids' Mom Was Left with 2 Autistic Children by Her Husband

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jul 29, 2022
04:20 P.M.
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Danny Trejo did not grow up under the care of a good father, but he turned out to be a great one. He shares a great bond with his ex-wife and even cares for her kids like his own.

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Danny Trejo is one of those movie stars with an early life one would imagine would make a good movie. He was born on May 16, 1994, and was raised in Pacoima, San Fernando Valley. As a young boy, he lived with his father and stepmom, who couldn't stand the sight of kids for some reason.

That Made him seek comfort and companionship outside their house. That was no mean feat; the Mexican-dominated neighborhood of Echo Park back then was entirely overrun by crime and corruption carried out by thugs.

Actor Danny Trejo attends the Youth, Improving Non-Profit for Children Awards March 4, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Danny Trejo attends the Youth, Improving Non-Profit for Children Awards March 4, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. | Source: Getty Images

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They always had to be on guard in the park as there were always gunfights and gang violence. Trejo had to be on the streets alot, so it did not take long for him to get mixed up in gang-related affairs. It also didn't help that Trejo got mixed up with his uncle Gilbert, who had an affinity for breaking the law.

He would randomly rob stores and the like when he felt like it and always took Trejo with him, but that's not all. When they were not out robbing, Trejo's uncle had him doing drugs, alcohol, and larceny even though he was merely a boy in his early teen years. First, he thoroughly corrupted Trejo; then, he also taught him how to fight.

It was not a matter of choice, of course; Gilbert attacked him with his full strength, and if he had not learned to deal with it appropriately, Trejo once confessed that Gilbert would have gotten his head "beat in,"

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 Danny Trejo attends the premiere party for "Con Air" on June 2, 1997 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Danny Trejo attends the premiere party for "Con Air" on June 2, 1997 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

It affected Trejo deeply; by age 12, he had become a very disturbed kid, and at some point between ages 12 and 13, he was incarcerated because of his fighting and armed robbery. He once confessed:

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"The first time I went to juvenile hall, I was 12 or 13."

Actor Danny Trejo attends the premiere of "XXX" at the Mann Village and Bruin Theatres August 5, 2002 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Danny Trejo attends the premiere of "XXX" at the Mann Village and Bruin Theatres August 5, 2002 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

He got addicted to heroin and started selling it around age 15, and in the years that followed, he was in and out of the most fearsome prisons, including Folsom, San Quentin, and Soledad. The actor once said on the topic of prisons:

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"I've been in every prison in the state of California."

His trips to prison continued, but in the end, it turned out to be what he needed. His love for boxing had made itself apparent during his time behind bars, and he used it.

Danny Trejo during 20th Anniversary Premiere of Steven Spielberg's "E.T. - Arrivals at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Danny Trejo during 20th Anniversary Premiere of Steven Spielberg's "E.T. - Arrivals at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

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Trejo even had a coach to help him reach his full potential, and not long after, he became a force of nature on the boxing grounds of San Quentin, Folsom, and Soledad, three of the deadliest prisons.

He also got sober in jail, which let him concentrate on boxing. The sport became some sort of anchor for Trejo, setting him up for a better life after he was released.

DANNY TREJO AS A HUSBAND AND A FATHER

Danny Trejo, wife Debbie and sons Gilbert & Danny during "Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams" Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Danny Trejo, wife Debbie and sons Gilbert & Danny during "Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams" Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

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Trejo is a proud father of three kids. He had two of the three with the last woman he married, Debbie Shreve, and he also had one from an earlier relationship.

The talented actor and Shreve got married in the late '90s, and their union lasted about seven years before they chose to start living separately in 2007. Two years later, Trejo filed for divorce; however, the motion was not finalized until 2019.

Trejo was 38 years old when he became a father. He was a good dad; however, he was always lacking when it came to being a good husband. When he welcomed kids, he knew that he did not want to treat them like his father and "tyrant" grandfather had treated him as a child.

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 Actor Danny Trejo and his wife Debbie Trejo arrive at the 2008 ALMA Awards After Party held at Mood Supperclub on July 17, 2008 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Danny Trejo and his wife Debbie Trejo arrive at the 2008 ALMA Awards After Party held at Mood Supperclub on July 17, 2008 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

His upbringing with his father made being a disciplinarian difficult for him, so whenever his kids cross him or do anything wrong, he reasons with them on walks. Rather than impose on their lives, he let them understand he was always there to support them. He said:

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"They just knew that I was there if they were in trouble."

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It also helped that his kids were smart, something they got from Shreve, who was a nurse before she became a lawyer. Trejo once said:

"My kids were all pretty smart. Thank god they have a smart mom."

DANNY HELPED SAVE HIS CHILDREN'S LIVES

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There are conflicting reports of exactly how many kids Trejo has, but the actor has only confirmed three. He has a drug history, but his kids never saw him using it or taking alcohol.

Trejo has named his kids his greatest accomplishment, and he takes his job as a dad very seriously. When two of his kids, Gilbert and Danielle, got caught up doing heroin, Trejo stepped in to help them, and he succeeded.

Danny Trejo, wife Debbie, daughters Rebecca & Danielle, son Gilbert. | Source: Getty Images

Danny Trejo, wife Debbie, daughters Rebecca & Danielle, son Gilbert. | Source: Getty Images

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Thanks to having experienced being addicted and overcoming it, Trejo knew exactly how he could help his kids — with a 12-step group that the proud father says was instrumental in stopping their addiction and preventing them from using again. Trejo said:

"I thank god I had a support system that my kids liked and respected."

After getting clean, the two kids were able to determine how they wanted their lives to progress; Gilbert expressed interest in filming while Danielle started selling vintage clothes even though Trejo does not quite understand the difference between them and normal clothing.

DANNY TOOK OVER AFTER HIS EX-WIFE WAS LEFT WITH 2 AUTISTIC KIDS

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After Trejo and Shreve divorced, she re-married a man who later left her with two autistic children. Their son together tried to do what he could to help, but eventually, Trejo had to step in. He once explained:

"I took over because that's his mom. That's the thing we have to remember, that's our kids' mom, so I did whatever I could."

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The gesture positively affected his son, and his reaction is something Trejo has never forgotten. Trejo said, "I remember my son saying 'Dad, you're raising the bar pretty high to be a good dad' and I'll never forget that."

Actor Danny Trejo shows tattoo with name of his wife Debbie at the premiere of the film "The Salton Sea" April 23, 2002 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Danny Trejo shows tattoo with name of his wife Debbie at the premiere of the film "The Salton Sea" April 23, 2002 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. | Source: Getty Images

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Trejo chose to help Shreve because of their shared history and kids whom he has vowed never to abandon. Their divorce did not change how he felt; at this point, nothing could. He said:

"I've never forsaken my kids no matter what I felt or whatever with their mom. They always know; they have to know that their dad's there no matter what."

Trejo was no good as a husband, but he ensured his failed relationships didn't affect the children. He explained, "A lot of us aren't good with relationship and marriage, but kids are forever."

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It was precisely for that reason that the actor pitched in to help his former wife raise her two autistic kids even though they did not belong to him.

Trejo and Shreve continue to enjoy a great friendship and have also become co-founders of a foundation for Autism. It is just one way Trejo is known to give back to others.

Last year during the pandemic, he fed many hospital workers for free thanks to his food business, and he is known to still dedicate some of his time to helping addicts get clean. Indeed, Danny Trejo has become a role model who beat his past and became a better man and father.

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