MTV’s countless docu-series about teenage pregnancy began with just six girls in 2009. We watched on as the young girls struggled with balancing the challenges of pregnancy, family, school, finances and life as an American teenager on 16 and Pregnant.
The show’s creator, Lauren Dolgen, senior vice president of MTV series development, launched the show after learning about the surprising and scary reality of teenage pregnancy in the United States.
“The U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen birth in the fully developed world, but at that time, no one was really talking about the harsh reality these young women were facing,” she stated in an interview with CNN.
From 16 and Pregnant, MTV birthed Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2, Teen Mom 3 and Teen Mom: Young and Pregnant, bringing the world tons of controversy, laughs and tears. We met Maci and Catelynn, Amber and Farrah, Chelsea, Kailyn, Jenelle and Leah — each girl bringing a different perspective on what life with teen pregnancy and young motherhood is really like in today’s world.
The girls opened their homes to the world to share all the details in their personal lives. Nothing is safe or kept secret from the cameras and audience, or is it? MTV can’t possibly jam all the juicy details about the Teen Mom girls into just an hour-long episode. There is so much the world doesn’t know. Here are 25 little-known details about the cast that MTV doesn’t tell you.
25 The Show Isn't Completely Real
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but reality shows aren’t completely reality. Teen Mom claims to follow the lives of its stars, but quite a few of the show's stars have come forward slamming the network for putting together a false portrayal of their real lives.
Editing is key when trying to capture some rating-raising drama. While Teen Mom 2’s Jenelle Evans has stated the show is not staged, others like Kailyn Lowry of Teen Mom 2, Bristol Palin of Teen Mom: OG and Mackenzie Edwards of Teen Mom: OG have come forward complaining that the edits and cuts in the show make things seem different from what they really are.
Mackenzie posted to Instagram, “[MTV is] a lame, fake, boring and scripted TV show that uses people’s life issues as a way to gather ratings and money.”
24 The Teen Moms' Paychecks Are Outrageous
It’s easy to assume that the girls of Teen Mom get a pretty hefty paycheck based on how their lives and assets have changed since they first appeared on 16 and Pregnant. If you ask any of the girls how much they make, though, they’ll tell you they aren’t allowed to talk about it because of their contract with MTV.
However, according to In Touch Weekly, not all the girls are paid the same, but the highest paid girls of Teen Mom 2, Kailyn Lowry and Chelsea Houska, are raking in up to $300,000 per season now.
23 The Series Was Never Supposed To Last This Long
Teen Mom originally wasn’t supposed to become one of MTV’s biggest hits. According to Insider, it was just meant to be a time filler until the new season of 16 and Pregnant. However, once it started becoming a huge success, MTV ordered more episodes.
Now, eight years, more than 100 episodes and multiple spin-offs later, Teen Mom has “more than outperformed its predecessor and has become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right,” admitted Cosmopolitan. It’s a special experience getting to watch our favourite girls grow into hardworking women and their babies grow into mostly well-rounded, happy kids.
22 Tyler And Catelynn Used To Have A Filming Curfew
When Catelynn Lowell and her now-husband, Tyler Baltierra, joined the 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom cast, they were still attending high school. Tyler’s mom, Kim Forbes, desperate to try to keep the slightest sense of normalcy in the kids’ lives, set up a filming curfew for the couple.
According to Teen Mom producer, Kirsten Malone, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, during the first couple of seasons, they were only allowed to film Catelynn and Tyler between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. "They had school and had to do their homework, which I thought was fantastic. It did not make our jobs easy, but we did it, and we're still super respectful of the kids and their schedules."
21 Amber's New Man Might Not Be As Great As He Seems
All Teen Mom fans rejoiced when fan-favourite Amber Portwood kicked her ex-boyfriend, 47-year-old Matt Baier, to the curb. There aren’t very many wonderful things to say about the man.
However, based on Teen Mom footage, Amber quickly linked up with another man, Andrew Glennon. All we can say is at least this one had a job. So far, his MTV portrayal seems to be pretty crisp and clean. But as we know, things might not always be as they seem with this show. According to Teen Mom Talk Now, Andrew has a pretty nice-sized record to his name, including possession. The pair does seem genuinely happy together with their new baby boy, though.
20 Kailyn Has A "New York Times" Best-Selling Book
The picture MTV paints of Teen Mom 2’s Kailyn Lowry isn’t always the brightest. She is a single mother to three little boys, who each have a different father. But aside from her parenting methods, Kailyn is one of the most successful moms outside of her MTV role.
Kailyn is an accomplished author with four books under her belt, one of which is a New York Times Bestseller. Aside from Kailyn’s books, she has also written a children’s book about what love means to young children.
19 The Way Producers Have To Handle Awkward Situations
The Teen Mom producers see a lot of the drama and action that plays out on the show first-hand. Many viewers have come forward accusing the producers of doing nothing when faced with bad behaviour from the show’s stars.
That’s not the case, though. According to Insider, one of the show's crew members has said that they usually let the cameras continue rolling unless something illegal or dangerous is happening. That's when they'll take action and call the cops. However, the source adds that they can't call the cops if someone's parenting their kids in a way that they disagree with if it's not illegal.
18 That One Time Leah Brought A Cameraman To Tears
MTV’s cameras don’t always show everything the cameraman might see while on set at the moms' homes. For example, Teen Mom 2 definitely didn’t show the time Leah Messer brought a cameraman to tears, and not over an endearing moment.
On one occasion, a former MTV cameraman admitted that Leah’s complete lack of care for her twin girls and dirty living conditions made him cry. “When feeding her twins, she would spill a bunch of cheese puffs on the gross carpet and the girls would crawl around and suck up the cheese puffs, no hands involved,” he stated, according to Screen Rant.
17 Many Of The Girls Have Made Changes
A lot of things have changed for the Teen Mom stars over the years. Many of them have used their fame and fortune to enhance certain areas of their lives, including their own bodies. “Though the drama has stayed the same, the girls' faces and bodies have undergone drastic changes since the show's very first episodes aired,” explained In Touch Weekly.
The stars of Teen Mom haven’t exactly tried to keep their beauty mods a secret, either. In fact, each one has been super open about sharing their experiences and transformations, but MTV doesn’t spend much time addressing the matters.
16 Maci Has Had Some Serious Money Struggles
Despite starring in the first season of 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, Maci Bookout landed herself in some major financial troubles back in 2011. According to In Touch Weekly, everyone’s favourite redhead had a tax lien against her and owed a huge sum of $78,308 to the IRS.
At the time, Maci appeared to be seriously struggling, but things seem to have changed for her nowadays. Maci is married and shares a successful clothing line with her now-husband, Taylor McKinney.
15 Amber Was A Rebel
From her time on 16 and Pregnant and the first season of Teen Mom, we know Amber Portwood had her own demons to conquer. We saw her get into serious quarrels with her daughter’s father, Gary Shirley, and struggle with her own personal issues.
In 2010, Amber was charged for a number of things with Gary, as US magazine reports, and then again in 2011 and 2012.
If you’ve tuned into the recent seasons of Teen Mom: OG, you’ll know that Amber has thankfully cleaned up her act and is living her best life.
14 ... And So Has Jenelle
Teen Mom 2’s Jenelle Evans is another momma who has had her fair share of mugshots. According to US Weekly, Jenelle has been in trouble a total of 15 times.
Her record has several charges, however, Jenelle is another mom who appears to have turned her life around for the better.
13 Chelsea Has Two Sisters Who Don't Want To Be A Part Of The Show
Deciding to be part of a reality show is a huge undertaking, and much of Teen Mom 2’s Chelsea Houska’s family understood what that commitment would entail.
Teen Mom fans know all about Chelsea’s mom and dad, Mary and Randy, but we don’t ever see or hear much about her sisters. Chelsea actually has three older sisters who each have kids of their own. However, don’t plan on seeing them on the MTV series. The sisters prefer to live their lives out of the spotlight, and we definitely don’t blame them.
12 Farrah Has Super Strict House Rules
When the Teen Mom ladies signed up to be on the series, they signed up to welcoming several strangers and a whole lot of equipment into their personal homes. From her time on Teen Mom, we learned that Farrah Abraham isn’t always the sweetest cast member. But what we don’t know is the many rules she set in place for producers and cameramen to follow while in her home.
Farrah is very strict and absolutely does not allow MTV staff to use her house bathroom.
“Absolutely do not use the bathroom,” producer Heather tells the crew before they film with Farrah, according to Wetpaint. “She's very organized. She just likes her stuff particular. Keep it clean, keep it simple.”
11 Catelynn Is Not Afraid To Share Her Opinions With The World
Catelynn Lowell joined 16 and Pregnant with a different story than the other girls – she was putting her baby up for adoption. Catelynn and her now-husband Tyler both grew up in less-than-favourable situations and wanted better for their own child.
Catelynn is proud of who she is and what she supports. She has been known for sharing controversial messages to her Instagram page. On the topic of being pro-life, Catelynn denounced other choices and came off as really judgmental to her fans.
10 Leah Has Spent Some Time Away
Leah Messer is one of the few Teen Mom girls to have spent some time in a center. Although she claims she took time away for anxiety and depression, those closest to her have admitted Leah had problems. “She was far more emotionally disturbed,” an insider for Radar Online claims. “No one knew what to do.” For whatever the reason may be, Leah getting help was a great thing for her and her three children.
9 Jenelle's Controversial Husband Was Officially Fired
Jenelle’s husband, David Eason, was never really a fan-favourite on Teen Mom 2 and brought a lot of controversy to the series. David received criticism for his treatment of Jenelle and her three kids, two of whom are not David’s biological children.
The reason MTV fired David had nothing to do with any of his outlandish actions on the show, though. Instead, it happened because of a homophobic post on Twitter. His post was deleted and his account was shutdown, but the damage was done and MTV had to respond.
8 Most Of The Moms Continued Their Education Past High School
Drama makes for good entertainment and increased ratings. MTV knows this, which is likely why they don’t share all the good-natured mature decisions the girls make in life.
We know that many of the girls tried to continue with high school while pregnant in 16 and Pregnant, but many of them also further continued their education. Kailyn Lowry became the first mom from the MTV franchise to earn a bachelor’s degree. Maci and Farrah both have an associate degree and Jenelle and Chelsea both have education outside of high school.
7 Farrah's Parenting Methods Aren't Ordinary
When you’re living your life under the spotlight like the Teen Mom girls do, you’re bound to get caught making parenting mistakes. However, that’s a bit of an understatement for Farrah and her parenting methods with her daughter, Sophia.
According to Café Mom, Farrah has been accused of being inappropriate with Sophia countless times. When Sophia was just four years old, Farrah was quoted as saying Sophia was doing her own thing in life and she was doing hers. Sophia has also been involved in tasteless celebrity feuds and been part of adult situations that she probably shouldn’t have been.
6 Leah Has A Bad Reputation
When living under the Teen Mom microscope, all your faults are shared with the entire world. Leah became all too familiar with this after her infidelity became public knowledge.
Leah had only been in a relationship with Corey Sims, the father of her twins, for a month before she became pregnant. Nonetheless, the pair tried to make the relationship work. We know now this didn’t work out, because Leah admitted to Corey that she betrayed him with her ex-boyfriend just a week before she married Corey. She also admitted to being unfaithful with her second husband, Jeremy Calvert, with Corey.
5 ... And So Does Chelsea?
Teen Mom paints a pretty picture of Chelsea Houska’s life. She has the handsome husband, the nice house and the gorgeous children. However, the rumour mill has something else to say about that perfect life she lives.
According to Wetpaint, fans are convinced that Chelsea betrayed her now-husband, Cole, with her ex-boyfriend and first daughter’s father, Adam Lind. Chelsea hasn’t made any comments on this rumour and also has never completely denied Adam’s accusations that she betrayed him while she was pregnant with Aubree.
4 Amber's Problems Started At A Very Young Age
Many of the Teen Mom girls had a difficult life before finding reality show fame and a lot of those struggles have transferred into their adult life. We know Amber has dealt with personal issues as an adult, but fans had no idea of when it all began.
"I’ve been partying since I was about 11 years old,” Amber expressed in an interview with People. “In Anderson, [Indiana], there’s not much to do. A lot of kids at school, they always brought [stuff] from their house. We didn’t know what much of it was.”
3 Corey Got Full Custody of His And Leah's Twin Girls
During a particularly sad part of Leah’s struggles as a young mom, she lost custody of her twin girls to their father, Corey Sims. After spending 30 days in in a center, Leah lost primary custody of the girls and was only allowed to see them on the weekends. At the time, Leah blamed the situation on Corey’s new wife, Miranda, and Corey not wanting to pay child support anymore.
Now, a couple of years later, Leah and Corey have worked out a better custody situation that Leah says is pretty 50/50. She has admitted the custody battle was the lowest point of her life.
2 Maci Has A Lot Of Artwork All Over
You wouldn’t exactly know this from watching an episode of Teen Mom, but Maci actually has a lot of tattoos. According to Pop Culture, Maci is a “known ink addict” and has several tattoos, including a full sleeve and a large piece on her back.
"I think of them as pieces to my puzzle,"
Maci wrote on her online page. "No matter how big or small, they put me together. I love them, and I don't [care] if you love them or not."
1 Kailyn Almost Quit The Show After Their Untrue Portrayal Of Her
When scenes get edited, a different reality often gets shown on our television screens. Kailyn Lowry is one cast member who has come forward claiming she hasn’t always been portrayed in an honest light. A few years back, she was accused of being unfaithful with her second child’s father, Javi Marroquin, and she didn’t appreciate that.
Kailyn insists she did not betray Javi and was just catching up with an old friend, but she still threatened to quit the show over the way they were portraying her. In recent months, Kailyn threatened again to leave the show after explosive reunion shows and the way other cast members were behaving around her and her boys.
References: E! Online, People, MTV, Daily Mail, Radar Online, CNN, Cosmopolitan