Tonya Harding fought back tears during Sunday’s Golden Globes as she received a shout-out from actress Allison Janney, who won an award for playing her mother in the film, I Tonya.
After a beaming Harding appeared front and center at the film’s LA premiere last month, her public rehabilitation from pariah to honored guest continued at the Golden Globes. She sat at the same table as Margot Robbie, who played her in the film.
On the red carpet, Harding donned a long black dress in line with the night’s blackout theme, but her presence at the event sparked mixed reactions.
The Today show’s Al Roker took a jab at Harding just seconds before the show began.
“Look, Tonya Harding, she’s got a pipe — go get her,” he shouted to distract a theater employee in a pre-show gag.
One viewer tweeted: “It was surprising that Tonya Harding was celebrated at the Golden Globes and not a word was mentioned about Nancy Kerrigan, who was the real victim.”
Janney portrays Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden, as ruthless and abusive.
“I had to find a way to make her human,” Janney told reporters backstage Sunday. “I didn’t get the luxury of speaking to the real woman and Tonya wasn’t much help. She didn’t know really where her mother was or didn’t care.”
In late 2017, Inside Edition tracked down Golden, who now goes by the name Sandy. She was surprised when we showed her scenes from the movie.
“Is that me?!” she said of Janney. “She doesn’t even look like me.”
She says she and her daughter haven’t spoken since 2002.
“She hates me — period,” she said. “I could never do anything right for her. Nothing.”
She admits she was a tough-love mom but refutes that she was abusive.
“I did the best I could as a mother,” Sandy claimed. “I disciplined all my children. Not harshly, but they were disciplined.”
Sandy says she worked three jobs to pay for little Harding’s training and sewed her costumes by hand. Her goal, she says, was to help make her daughter’s Olympic dreams come true.
“I wanted her to have what I couldn’t,” she said. “I thought I did everything I could for her. I really thought she’d love me for it. She didn’t.”
I, Tonya is a critical success and is now winning awards, but when Sandy spoke to Inside Edition before the film’s release, she said she “doubts” she would ever see it.