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What Is Tonya Harding Doing Now?

Updated on December 26, 2017
Stephen Sinclair profile image

Stephen Sinclair is a freelance Canadian writer who has been publishing professionally for several years.

Tonya Harding in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2006
Tonya Harding in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2006 | Source

What happened to Tonya Harding?

Tonya Harding is infamous for her part, which amounted to a guilty plea of conspiring to hinder prosecution, in the investigation into the January 6, 1994 attack on figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, as reported by the New York Times. Harding was fined $160,000 and received three years probation for her part. The incident occurred just prior to the 1994 Olympics, in which Kerrigan was still able to compete, earning a silver medal, ahead of Harding, who did not finish on the podium.

However, Harding, when asked by ABC News, who notes that the attack is still drawing "intense interest" almost 25 years later, described feeling as though she had received too much shame and was firm about the point that she, herself, did not carry out the attack. In addition to the legal ramifications, she was banned from figure skating, for life.

"No... yes," Tonya Harding responded when asked if she still cared about people's opinion of her.

"They don't listen," is what Harding, who also boxed professionally, listed as a reason when asked why so many people believe that she personally carried out the attack on Ms. Kerrigan.

"The media had me convicted of doing something wrong before I had even done anything at all," the former skater said. "I'm always the bad person. Is it a challenge from the Lord to see how far I can be pushed? Until I break and become nothing? You can't push me that far anymore."

"I've been nothing, and I've been nothing several times," Harding continued. "It's my faith in myself and in my father that comes back to me and makes me get up off my butt and be something worth being proud of. I always wanted my daddy to be proud. And now, I want my son to be proud."

Tonya Harding teared up as she spoke.

What is Tonya Harding doing now?

Critics, fans praise 'I, Tonya'

Stephanie Merry with The Washington Post described the feature Tonya Harding biopic, which was released in the United States on December 8, I, Tonya, as an example of a "national punchline" receiving "culture redemption."

Merry is evenhanded, though sympathetic, with her treatment of Harding's plight, writing, "If Tonya Harding was tried and unanimously convicted in the court of public opinion more than 20 years ago, then I, Tonya makes a solid case for exonerating her."

The Post piece concludes with the point that for some reason, women like Harding are reduced to jokes.

Alyssa Rosenberg, also with the Post, via the Chicago Daily Herald, concurred with Merry's assessment of the first film to closely examine the events of 1994 from Harding's perspective, writing, "In the years since, it's been infuriating to see pop culture lionize a series of fictional men who do far worse than Harding ever did, while giving the world far less beauty and grace than she ever had to offer. Harding may not be a hero, but she is an antiheroine in the best possible sense. If I, Tonya is an uncomfortable viewing experience, it's because the movie and Harding herself tell us something so true about who we are that we're tempted to look away."

Biography reports that Tonya Harding has been married three times: to Jeff Gillooly, who was involved in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, from 1990 to 1993; to Michael Smith, from 1995 to 1996; and to her current husband, Joseph Jens Price, since 2010. The couple have one child, a son, named Gordon, who was born in February 2011.

It has been noted that Harding has persistently sought out the spotlight following the 1994 ordeal. She has appeared on Larry King Live, Rosanne, and The Weakest Link, as well as on Celebrity Boxing, in an apparent effort to further "garner fame." Her career also includes service as a commentator with the television program, The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest.

I, Tonya is reported by IMDb to have earned $264,100 in box office receipts over its opening weekend, and has now attracted, as of December 26, 2017, $1.3 million on a budget of $11 million, as featured with the Hollywood Reporter. IMDb users give the film 7.8 out of 10 stars. Margot Robbie stars as Harding.

Has Tonya Harding apologized to Nancy Kerrigan?

In an April 2017 interview with ABC News, Nancy Kerrigan was shown footage of Tonya Harding on Oprah, where she stated that she would give Kerrigan a "hug," if given the chance.

Kerrigan told ABC that she had "no idea" how she would respond to such a situation.

Four years after the incident, the two appeared together on a Fox special, where Harding stated, "I would like to apologize again for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and with the wrong people... If I would have known, I would have done anything I could to stop it. I say that from the bottom of my heart," as reported by the Victoria Advocate.

When asked by ABC news if she felt that she had ever received an apology from Harding, Kerrigan responded that she hadn't received "a direct" one.

"Does it matter?" Nancy Kerrigan asked. "At this point?"

© 2017 Stephen Sinclair

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