Pickler's mother was repeatedly charged with writing bad checks and was convicted in 1988 for passing a forged prescription for Valium at the Albemarle Wal-Mart, where she worked. Pickler's parents split up the day after her second birthday; a year later, in July 1989, her mother vanished. During periods when her father, Bo, was incarcerated, she would live with her grandparents outside Albemarle, 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Charlotte. In 1992, Pickler's mother returned to Albemarle, but rarely made contact with her. But in March 1995, with Bo Pickler in prison for armed robbery, her mother was granted custody. Pickler was in the fourth grade. In a February 2006 interview with The Observer, Pickler said: "She got custody of me for two years. . . During that time, she was physically and mentally abusive of me. " In a 1997 court filing, Pickler's grandparents said that her mother had moved to Union County with her and treated her harshly. The court restored custody to the grandparents. Her mother vanished again, and Pickler has not heard from her since. Her father, whom she describes as an alcoholic and drug addict, served a three-year-nine-month prison sentence at Florida State Prison for aggravated assault and battery stemming from a 2003 stabbing incident. He was released on May 6, 2006, a week after her elimination from Idol. In an April 2006 interview with NBC Pickler said, "One thing that's so important in life is we learn to forgive others. I ask the Lord every day to forgive me for my sins and for things that I've done wrong. And who am I to not forgive someone for what they've done?" . . . "God tells us to love everyone. "