The Tragic Lives of Chico DeBarge and His Siblings
If you grew up during the 1980s, you probably have memories of the R&B superstar Chico DeBarge.
He was born to his father, Robert Louis DeBarge, and his mother, Etterlene DeBarge. The couple had 10 children, out of which only two of them did not sing.
His five older siblings — Bunny, Randy, Mark, El, and James were part of The DeBarge, a band formed in 1979.
The five musically gifted DeBarge siblings were second only to the Jacksons in terms of talent.
Chico DeBarge and his brother (Source: Real Reality Gossip/YouTube)
Chico also sang and danced and was destined for great things, but the behind-the-scenes, family drama brought the entire family down.
Chico DeBarge and His Siblings Sufferings
Chico and his siblings had horrible memories of their father. Robert not only abused and tormented his wife, but his children claimed they suffered the same fate.
The singer shared with Vibe magazine that his father molested many of his brothers and sisters. And the one who suffered the most was his second oldest brother, Bobby.
Bobby was their mother’s favorite child, and his father, who could not stand this, took out most of his frustration on him.
But this did not mean that the other DeBarge children were off the hook. All of them suffered brutally.
The oldest child, Bunny, shared that she experienced years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of her father.
Chico DeBarge's siblings, The DeBarge (Source: Vega Funk/YouTube)
She stated that he had molested her when she was 7 years old, and this went on till she was 13.
As for Chico, he got away from his father, but not from his brothers or kids at school. The kids called him “Oreo, zebra, half-breed,” which got him into fights.
But it wasn’t the fights he feared. What scared him was his brother beating him up if he lost.
Despite all the claims made by all his children, Robert denied ever abusing his family.
Chico DeBarge and His Siblings’ Drug Abuse and Crime
Something that has always been on public record is the fact that all of Robert's children led a life of drugs and crime.
One might say the repercussions of traumatic past events led them to follow one dark path after another.
Bobby was the first of the DeBarge kids to succumb to drugs.
He was only 15 when he became addicted, and when he got older, he often found himself in trouble with the law.
In 1988, the singer was sentenced to five years in prison. He died when he was 39 due to complications from HIV/AIDS, which he had contracted in prison.
Bunny also resorted to drugs from peer pressure. “If you weren’t doing drugs, you weren’t in,” she said.
And when the DeBarges weren’t doing drugs, they were put away for doing drugs.
Chico, Bobby, Tommy, Mark, James, and El were all sentenced to prison for drug trafficking charges at some point.
On November 14, 2021, TMZ reported that Chico had been busted for drug possession.
Before that, he had been busted in early 2021 where he posed as his brother, James.
After everything that’s happened, his mother has only one regret — allowing her kids to enter the music industry.