OK! Exclusive: Teen Mom's Amber Portwood is Sober, Focused & Ready To Put The Past Behind Her

Amber portwood weight loss

Aug. 21 2014, Published 3:18 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to FlipboardShare to Email
Amber on Instagram
Source: Amber on Instagram

It’s been quite a road for Amber Portwood. Just a few years ago, the 24-year-old Teen Mom star was caught up in a vicious cycle of popping prescription painkillers, flying off in fits of rage—often culminating in physical assaults on ex-boyfriend and baby daddy Gary Shirley—and sneaking drugs into her court-ordered rehab stints.

OK! News: Kevin Durant Reportedly Offered Monster $265 Million Deal from Under Armour

Article continues below advertisement

In 2012, she finally turned a corner when she opted out of drug court in exchange for a five-year prison term. “It was the most terrifying day of my life, but I had to do something,” she tells OK! “I didn’t have any other options—it was prison or death.”

OK! News: Is This Finally the End of Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon? The Secret They've Been Hiding

Last November, after serving 17 months, Amber was released early on good behavior and has spent the past year turning her life around. Finally sober, she’s written a book about her struggle, Never Too Late. She’s on good terms with Gary, 27, and has found a renewed sense of purpose in co-parenting her daughter; her new house, in suburban Indiana, includes a “princess room” for Leah, 5.

Exclusive _ Amber Portwood Spends Some Quality Time With Daughter Leah
Source: Amber and daughter, Leah

PHOTOS: Nicki Minaj Has Ever More Very Naked Instagrams To Look At

Amber, who recently signed on for next year’s installment of MTV’s Teen Mom, talked to OK! about making the most of her second chance:

OK! Magazine: You opted to go to prison, knowing you wouldn’t see your daughter for years. What drove you to that?

Amber Portwood: I’d already done rehab, and nothing was working. When you’re walking to your drug test with Fentanyl patches in your mouth, you know you have a problem. There was nothing left, and I didn’t want to die—I wanted to be there for my child.

Article continues below advertisement

OK!: What is your day-to-day life like now?

AP: I’m in school, and I want to study sociology—I think it will help me understand people better. In the future I want to open a rehab facility. I know it’ll take a while, but I hope by the age of 30, I’ll have it underway.

WATCH: Amber Portwood Admits To Dr. Phil That She Was On Drugs The Entire Time While Filming Teen Mom

OK!: Is Leah a motivation to stay sober?

Article continues below advertisement

AP: She is, 100 percent. She was the driving force for me to get out of prison, so why would I want to mess that up?

OK!: You and Gary once had trouble being in the same room. How’s your relationship now?

AP: It’s good; not like it was, with screaming and cussing. We have difficult times, but we get over it, and we don’t do it in front of Leah. It’s not the greatest, because he’s still my ex—but it’s not drama all the time.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: Amber and Gary in not-so-happy times

OK!: Are you trying to get joint custody, or are you happy with Gary having primary custody?

AP: For now, everything is working, so I’m not messing with it. I can call Gary and say, “Hey, I want to pick up Leah.” It’s freer than a legal agreement—and I get to see her more.

OK!: You’ve gotten lots of Internet criticism. How do you handle it?

AP: It’s weird to still see some of the hate. Putting myself in prison was terrifying—obviously I tried to change for the better, so what are people not getting? But you realize they’re just immature and ignorant, and you have to ignore it and move forward. A lot of my fans are nonjudgmental, beautiful souls. I’m really happy with who I am today, and that’s what matters.

Article continues below advertisement

OK! News: Why Cindy Crawford Won't Let Her Kids Hangout With Kendall & Kylie Jenner

OK!: Why did you decide to write a book?

AP: I was offered a book deal when I was 21, but I never did anything about it. There was no purpose back then. But when I got out of prison, I was like, “I really have a story to tell—and if I want to help people, this is a great way to reach out.” I can show people that they can change.


Do you think Amber has changed for the better? Will you buy her book and watch her on Teen Mom? Share in the comments or tweet us @OKMagazine.


Want OK! each day? Sign up here!

More From OK! Magazine

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 OK!™️. A DIVISION OF MYSTIFY ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK INC. OK! is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.