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It’s been nearly 10 years since “Tan Mom” Patricia Krentcil was accused of bringing her then-5-year-old daughter into a New Jersey tanning bed.
Krentcil was charged with child endangerment in 2012 for allegedly exposing her child to artificial UV rays in a Nutley salon — and earned the nickname Tan Mom overnight.
“I was dubbed ‘Tan Mom’ all over tabloids, and this turned into the most massive hurricane in the world,” Krentcil, 53, told The Post’s “I Survived Internet Infamy” series of the scandal. “It went global. There are no words to describe what happened to me and my family.”
Police became involved when Krentcil’s daughter Anna allegedly arrived at school with sunburn all over her body, while Krentcil said she only had “a little bit of burn on her back.”
“I was accused of child endangerment. I was vindicated through the courts,” Krentcil told The Post. “The owner of the tanning salon told the police when they came and asked, ‘Did she bring her daughter into the booth?’ and the owner said, ‘No.’”
A grand jury ultimately declined to indict Krentcil in 2013, and the case ended.
“I did nothing wrong, period.”
However, Krentcil and her family continued to endure harassment from the media and paparazzi, which caused Krentcil to turn to alcohol to cope.
“I got so sick from it all — I started drinking and making a fool of myself,” she shared, before adding she and her family relocated to Tampa, Florida, to turn her life around and start fresh.
The woman who made fake baking famous met Howard Stern and started to appear on his show as a personality, which led her to embrace the Tan Mom identity.
“It doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s two separate people,” she explained to The Post. “There’s Tan Mom, celebrity, and then there’s Patricia Marie, Mom.”
Her rebranded identity even inspired a 2013 “Saturday Night Live” parody by Kristin Wiig, and Krentcil later used her infamy to launch a music career in 2018 with her partner, Adam Barta, 41.
“I’m not the best singer in the whole entire world,” admitted Krentcil, who battled colon cancer after a heart attack, stroke and hip replacement in 2020. “[Barta] is definitely the voice, the better voice.”
The “Free 2 Be Me” singer had one mantra to get her through it all: “Stand tall.”
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