“Teen Mom” star Amber Portwood said that her daughter, Leah Shirley, noticed that she was treating her son, 4-year-old James Glennon, differently.
Portwood, 32, said down with her friend for a drink — a vodka with sugar-free Red Bull — after she was discharged from probation.
“Leah deserved this Amber,” the Indiana native told her friend on the October 4 episode of “Teen Mom: The Next Chapter.”
The “Teen Mom” star discovered something that stung when she talked to her ex-boyfriend, Gary Shirley, about their 13-year-old daughter.
“She had expressed, from what Gary had said, you know, she had some feelings about how she saw me treating James compared to why I couldn’t treat her that way,” the Indian native told her friend.
“I was like wow, I don’t want her to feel that way,” Portwood continued. “Even though I take responsibility for my actions back in the day, it’s hard to come to terms with you weren’t that person for your first kid, my girl.”
Portwood lost custody of Leah in 2011 after Child Protective Services was “nervous” about the “Teen Mom” star’s living arrangements, TMZ reported.
In 2012, Portwood went to prison for 17 months after she violated probation in her drug case, Us Weekly reported. In 2016, Portwood agreed Shirley could have primary custody of Leah and she would pay him child support.
Portwood entered another battle for custody — this time for James — after she was arrested in July 2019. She pleaded guilty to domestic battery and intimidation, per the Indy Star. This time, she avoided jail time but was placed on three-and-a-half years of probation.
In July 2022, a judge determined Portwood’s ex — Andrew Glennon — would have primary custody of James.
Portwood Said Being on Probation For 3 Years Was ‘Rough’
Portwood was proud that she completed probation but it wasn’t a walk in the park.
“I am thankful that I fought so hard to get through it cause it has been so intense. When you know that you have five years of prison hanging over your head,” she told her friend.
In a voiceover, Portwood admitted the period was “really rough, really tiring.”
“I had to do anger management classes and I saw a psychiatrist once a week,” she said. “Going out I couldn’t be around like a bunch of drinking or anything like that. I’m ready for all the stress of that to be off my shoulders and move on.”
During a family gathering with the Shirleys, Portwood said she wasn’t going to “do anything” until 24 hours after her probation period ended.
“Or just wait until the 25th,” Leah advised her mother. “Or just like don’t do it.”
“I have a rocky past and made many mistakes,” Portwood maintained. “I’m in a much better place now.”
Before Portwood walked out of the door, Leah ominously told her mother to “make good choices.”
Portwood Felt Like She Was Living a Double Life
As shown in “The Next Chapter” episode, Portwood got in her car and gave Catelynn Baltierra a call.
“I feel like I’m living two lives,” she confessed to her co-star. “Like a great, blended family on one side, and then I feel like I’m just completely split on the other and I just want everything to be cohesive.”
Despite feeling fractured, Portwood admitted that her relationship with Leah had improved.
“It feels like I’m actually her mom again,” she told Baltierra. “She gives me love again. I want to keep it that way.”
Even though her probation period was ending — and she’d be allowed to drink alcohol again — Portwood said she wasn’t interested in getting intoxicated.
“I have a rule that I cannot get twisted drunk or anything like that. I also can’t do shots,” Portwood told Baltierra. “Even though I’ve never had a problem with drinking. I feel like I owe it to myself to make sure I at least have some sort of boundary.”
“I’m proud of myself but I’m also very sad and heartbroken that I went through all of this,” she said. I don’t think anybody will ever understand how f****** hard this has been.”
“I couldn’t let Leah down again,” she added.
To find out what happens next, don’t miss “Teen Mom: The Next Chapter” when it airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.