Danny Trejo ‘Took Over’ after His Kids’ Mom Was Left with 2 Autistic Children by Her Husband

Danny Trejo did not grow up under the care of a good father, but he turned out to be a great one. He has a wonderful relationship with his ex wife and cares for her children like his own.

Danny Trejo is a movie star with a life that one would expect to make a great movie. He was born May 16, 1994 and was raised in Pacoima (San Fernando Valley). He lived as a boy with his father and stepmom.

He sought out companionship and comfort outside of their home. It was not an easy feat. Echo Park’s Mexican-dominated neighborhood was in complete chaos at the time due to corruption and criminality committed by thugs.

Danny Trejo, actor, attends the Youth, Improving Non-Profit for Children Awards, March 4, 2002, Los Angeles, CA. Source: Getty images They were required to keep watch in the park due to gunfights and gang violence. | Source: Getty Images

They always had to be on guard in the park as there were always gunfights and gang violence. Trejo was always on the streets, and it didn’t take long before he got involved in gang-related activities. Trejo was also a victim of his uncle Gilbert’s penchant for breaking the law.

Trejo would accompany him to rob stores and other places whenever he felt like it. Trejo’s uncle made Trejo do drugs, alcohol, and larceny while they weren’t out robbing. This was even though Trejo was only a young boy in his teen years. First, he corrupted Trejo. Second, he taught Trejo how to fight. Source: Getty Images It affected Trejo deeply; by age 12, he had become a very disturbed kid, and at some point between ages 12 and 13, he was incarcerated because of his fighting and armed robbery.Source: Getty Images. At age 15, he became addicted to heroin and began selling it. In the years that followed, he was in many of the most terrifying prisons including Folsom and San Quentin.

It was not a matter of choice, of course; Gilbert attacked him with his full strength, and if he had not learned to deal with it appropriately, Trejo once confessed that Gilbert would have gotten his head “beat in,”

Danny Trejo attends the premiere party for “Con Air” on June 2, 1997 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

It affected Trejo deeply; by age 12, he had become a very disturbed kid, and at some point between ages 12 and 13, he was incarcerated because of his fighting and armed robbery. He once confessed:

“The first time I went to juvenile hall, I was 12 or 13.”

Actor Danny Trejo attends the premiere of “XXX” at the Mann Village and Bruin Theatres August 5, 2002 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

He got addicted to heroin and started selling it around age 15, and in the years that followed, he was in and out of the most fearsome prisons, including Folsom, San Quentin, and Soledad. The actor once said on the topic of prisons:

“I’ve been in every prison in the state of California.”

His trips to prison continued, but in the end, it turned out to be what he needed. His love of boxing was evident during his time behind bars and he continued to use it.

Danny Trejo during 20th Anniversary Premiere of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. – Arrivals at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Trejo even had a coach to help him reach his full potential, and not long after, he became a force of nature on the boxing grounds of San Quentin, Folsom, and Soledad, three of the deadliest prisons.

He also got sober in jail, which let him concentrate on boxing. The sport became some sort of anchor for Trejo, setting him up for a better life after he was released.


Danny Trejo, wife Debbie and sons Gilbert & Danny during “Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams” Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Trejo is a proud father of three kids. He had two of the three with the last woman he married, Debbie Shreve, and he also had one from an earlier relationship.

The talented actor and Shreve got married in the late ’90s, and their union lasted about seven years before they chose to start living separately in 2007. Two years later, Trejo filed for divorce; however, the motion was not finalized until 2019.

Trejo was 38 years old when he became a father. He was a good dad; however, he was always lacking when it came to being a good husband. When he welcomed kids, he knew that he did not want to treat them like his father and “tyrant” grandfather had treated him as a child.

Actor Danny Trejo and his wife Debbie Trejo arrive at the 2008 ALMA Awards After Party held at Mood Supperclub on July 17, 2008 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

His upbringing with his father made being a disciplinarian difficult for him, so whenever his kids cross him or do anything wrong, he reasons with them on walks. Rather than impose on their lives, he let them understand he was always there to support them. He said:

“They just knew that I was there if they were in trouble.”

Shreve, a nurse who worked before becoming a lawyer, also contributed to his children’s intelligence. Trejo once said:

“My kids were all pretty smart. They are blessed to have a smart mother.


There are conflicting reports of exactly how many kids Trejo has, but the actor has only confirmed three. He has a drug history, but his kids never saw him using it or taking alcohol.

Trejo has named his kids his greatest accomplishment, and he takes his job as a dad very seriously. When two of his kids, Gilbert and Danielle, got caught up doing heroin, Trejo stepped in to help them, and he succeeded.

Danny Trejo, wife Debbie, daughters Rebecca & Danielle, son Gilbert. | Source: Getty Images

Thanks to having experienced being addicted and overcoming it, Trejo knew exactly how he could help his kids — with a 12-step group that the proud father says was instrumental in stopping their addiction and preventing them from using again. Trejo said:

“I thank god I had a support system that my kids liked and respected.”

After getting clean, the two kids were able to determine how they wanted their lives to progress; Gilbert expressed interest in filming while Danielle started selling vintage clothes even though Trejo does not quite understand the difference between them and normal clothing.


After Trejo and Shreve divorced, she re-married a man who later left her with two autistic children. Their son together tried to do what he could to help, but eventually, Trejo had to step in. He once explained:

“I took over because that’s his mom. This is the most important thing to remember: that’s their mom. I did what I could.

Trejo’s son was positively affected by the gesture and Trejo has never forgotten his reaction. Trejo said, “I remember my son saying ‘Dad, you’re raising the bar pretty high to be a good dad’ and I’ll never forget that.”

Actor Danny Trejo shows tattoo with name of his wife Debbie at the premiere of the film “The Salton Sea” April 23, 2002 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. | Source: Getty Images

Trejo chose to help Shreve because of their shared history and kids whom he has vowed never to abandon. Their divorce did not change how he felt; at this point, nothing could. He said:

“I’ve never forsaken my kids no matter what I felt or whatever with their mom. They know everything; they must know that their dad is there no matter what.

Trejo wasn’t a good husband but he made sure that his failed relationships didn’t impact the children. He explained, “A lot of us aren’t good with relationship and marriage, but kids are forever.”

It was precisely for that reason that the actor pitched in to help his former wife raise her two autistic kids even though they did not belong to him.

Trejo and Shreve continue to enjoy a great friendship and have also become co-founders of a foundation for Autism. It is just one way Trejo is known to give back to others.

Last year during the pandemic, he fed many hospital workers for free thanks to his food business, and he is known to still dedicate some of his time to helping addicts get clean. Danny Trejo is a role model for others who have overcome their pasts and become better men and fathers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here