Earlier this year, Michael Phelps sat down with Matt Lauer to talk about the now infamous photo of the Olympic champ with his mouth on a device that could potentially be used by a person to smoke marijuana, which surfaced in a British tabloid. During his "Today" show interview, Phelps apologized and said he most regretted hurting the people he is closest to, like his mother, Debbie Phelps.
In a brand new interview, Debbie revealed to Access how a scandalous picture or an absent dad will not bring her family down.
"No one's life is perfect," Debbie told Access. "If someone's life is perfect, I want to know."
Debbie never expected a fairytale existence when her son made headlines for that tabloid photo, but her first reaction to the picture wasn't the one you might expect.
"I'm a person who is guiding, who is supporting, who is nurturing, who is holding a hand, maybe squeezing a little bit tighter, trying to understand, trying to say, you know, 'OK, talk to me,'" Debbie explained.
Communication has always been at the heart of her relationship with her three children. And, in her book, "A Mother For All Seasons," Debbie was open and honest about the good times and the bad.
"Sometimes you may think that [your] child is not listening but I'd say 99.9 percent of the time they've got the message in their ear, as to, you know, 'Oh, well mom's right.' So it was a learning experience," Debbie said.
Debbie's book is filled with memories, observations and photos of the kids growing up, but noticeably absent is any image of the children's father, Fred. Michael and his mom have maintained silence about the fractured relationship, but in the book she claims Fred was unfaithful and that Michael and his sisters had once seen him in the car with a woman.
"I was very happily married and we have three wonderful children and he was a great man — he is a great man, but there's parts of your life you keep private," Debbie explained.
While she chooses to keep some things to herself, Debbie did reveal her advice for life.
"Take each day, live it to its fullest and you learn from either what went right, or what went wrong, and to me, you are continuously learning each and every day," she said.