Rickson Gracie recently made an appearance on the Trocação Franca podcast where he expanded on an explosive revelation he laid out in his recent book, shining some light on the true history of the Gracie family lineage. More specifically, the secrets that his family had kept for decades about who the real mother of all of Helio Gracie’s children actually was. According to Rickson, Helio and his brother Carlos had always planned on having as many children as possible to spread the family’s martial art:
“My uncle and my father had the intention to create a clan of fighters and, in order to do that, they couldn’t be limited to one relationship and two or three kids.”
But while Carlos was always transparent about the fact that he his 21 children were from 7 different mothers, Helio and his family had always maintained that his 9 children were all from the same woman, his wife. According to Rickson Gracie however, that is actually one of the most little-known secrets about his family lineage, until now that is:
“I think that’s a truth that has to be told at some point. I didn’t know the reality when I was born. I always saw Margarida as my mother, completely, and didn’t see it any other way. I believed that up until I was 16. After I started connecting the dots and started to make things make more sense, I really understood that my real mother was a nanny that my father had for a long time. With [Margarida’s] agreement, they had a scheme that they had three kids.”
The scheme that Rickson is referencing was concocted with a nanny in the family, Isabel, who was actually not only Rickson’s birth mother, but also Rorion’s and Relson’s too. According to Rickson, even though he found out the truth quite some time ago, he had never actually brought it out into the public until now on the wishes of both of his parents:
“After it was uncovered…we always treated her differently, as a unique nanny that later transformed into mother No. 2, you know? We treated her nicely, but she never opened up about that fact, never opened up about being our mother. We never spoke openly about it. The only time I tried to talk to her about it, I was already married, I think it was in 2006 or 2008, and she said no one in her family knew about that yet. She kept it a secret. Since she wanted it that way, I didn’t want to force anything by coming now as a new son.”
Isabel wasn’t the only secret mother to Helio’s children however, as Rickson explained that a lady called Vera who worked in the Gracie Academy also gave birth to several of his siblings. These children were not something that Helio’s wife Margarida was aware of at the time however, and were a surprise to the entire family:
“When I was 12 years of age, my father asked me, ‘My son, would you like to have more siblings?’ I said, ‘Yes, dad,’ but what a weird question that was. I still thought I was son of [Margarida],” Gracie said. “We hopped in the car and left the house in Flamengo and when we got to Botafogo, we got to an apartment in the sixth floor and when the door opened, one lady showed up and I started seeing heads popping up behind her. There were four at that time: Rolker, Royler, Royce, and Rerika. Ricci and Robin had yet to be born.”
“I saw those kids, and [Helio] said, ‘They are all your siblings.’ That was a surprise to me, but I can say it was a pleasant one. But, from the point of view of his relationship with my mom [Margarida], she was surprised by those four kids, who later became six, and it was traumatic because she hadn’t agreed with it, and she probably didn’t know about this story either.”
Rickson also went into detail about how this long-held secret of the Gracie family lineage actually effected his publicly-known mother Margarida. Understandably, he doesn’t believe it was something she was able to get over and the knowledge effected Rickson’s view on relationships and what he wanted from his own:
“She was disappointed when she found out about it, and I started seeing a side of — I wouldn’t call disrespect, but lack of love, lack of partnership, that bothered me at the time,” he said. “I didn’t want a girlfriend that had that type of relationship with me, a weak relationship, of not knowing what I do, not being OK with the things I want, etc. That was not what I wanted for me in a relationship, and was a reference for my future.
“I saw that in my mom [Margarida], even though she did it all for love, it got to a point where her depression, her sadness for not being able to satisfy him through her own powers, she felt like she didn’t succeed in the end. I felt a lack of joy as she got older, and that impacted me a lot. Thinking about it, seeing this relationship, that’s not something I wanted for my life. Even though I admired my father as an example, as a general, as someone with many [qualities], on the relationship side, I felt he lacked a bit.