Interview With Tiffany Rubin
In 2008, Tiffany Rubin’s son Kobe was secretly abducted by her ex and taken to South Korea. Incredibly, Tiffany found and rescued Kobe. Now her story is the basis for the Lifetime Original Movie “Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story.” Find out what Kobe says about his time away, what Tiffany wants other parents to know and more!
When you first realized that Kobe was taken by your ex, what did you do? How did you, as a mother, react?
I was panicking and stayed in bed for a week. Eventually I went online and researched, and ultimately found Mark [of the American Association For Lost Children] through my sister in-law, because she was a teller at a bank and a customer from “Inside Edition” did his banking there and he found out about Kobe. He gave her Mark’s number because Mark had been on “Inside Edition.”
At the time, did you believe that you would be able to find Kobe and bring him back? Did you ever feel hopeless?
It was come and go. I thought I’m going to do this, I’m going to bring him back, but for a while it did seem hopeless because I read about kidnapping crimes and how rare it is to get a child back.
How has the whole incident changed your life and your relationship with Kobe?
Kobe was always number one in my life. He was seeing his father even though I was warned by people to be careful, but I thought it was better for him to have his father in his life. I’ve learned that I need to follow my gut instinct and to treasure every moment. I missed a Christmas with him while he was gone, I missed his birthday, and for Easter we always do things together. For a whole year I missed a lot of his life. You learn to treasure every single itty-bitty thing now, and it makes you overly cautious too. He says, “You’re overprotective,” but after that, I have to be.
Is he able to talk about that time period? For a child, it must have seemed like an incredibly long time to be away.
Yeah, he does say, “I thought I was gone for two years,” and I tell him that it was seven months. I think the biggest issue is that he didn’t know he was taken, so he thought I just let him go. Because he had such a horrible time there, he was thinking, “Why would my mom just let me go?” Even now, I have to sometimes remind him that I didn’t let him go, he was taken from me. I would never let him go.
Has he had any contact with his father?
No, his father is not allowed to contact us at all.
Does Kobe understand there is a movie about him and your story? What does he think?
It’s funny because we were watching “The Craigslist Killer” movie and saw the commercial [for “Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story”] and he said, “That’s so weird” when he heard his name on TV. He knows there’s a movie, but we’re kind of separated from it. I hadn’t really told anyone I was doing it, and women at work were saying, “I was watching ‘The Craigslist Killer’ and saw the commercial!” I try to keep our life as normal as possible.
Do you think Kobe will watch the movie with you?
He might. My mother wants us to watch it with her. I’ll see if he wants to, or maybe he’ll watch when he’s older.
How do you feel about the movie? You’re a mother, just like so many Lifetime viewers, and you faced a terrible obstacle, and now your story is a movie. Have you reflected on that?
It’s strange, but one thing I can say is that it ended happily. I remember thinking how difficult it is to recover a child from a parent when they are taken, but this story will give people hope that they can. There are people out there who can help them do it.
What about Taraji P. Henson portraying you in the movie?
I like her a lot. I knew her from the Tyler Perry movies and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and I love that movie. And she’s such a nice person; I spoke to her on the phone. She’s great.
If there are parents watching the movie who may be fighting and using their children to get revenge on the other parent, what message do you hope they get from your story?
It does more damage than good. It hurts the child and it hurts both parents. Think of your child first to stop you from doing things like that. If you’re a parent who ends up in my position, follow your gut and don’t lose hope.