Amber Portwood was featured on the cover of her hometown newspaper, The Herald Bulletin, on Friday. In the piece the Teen Mom OG star, who recently celebrated her 25th birthday, talked openly about the fame MTV has brought her, her late father’s struggles with alcoholism, and her hopes for Leah as she grows up in Anderson, Indiana.
On what she believes she’s learned at age 25:
“I feel like there was a lot of immaturity and growth that I needed to get past. I was young teenager and I didn’t know much of anything. I just kind of listened to myself. So I kind of learned to listen to others and take other people into consideration and listen to wisdom, especially when I was in prison. Life lessons and learning from them and growing up and becoming an adult in a way and realizing you’re a mother and a role model. You have to take all that into consideration and better yourself as a person.”
On her TV fame and if she blames it for her problems:
“That would be the easy way out. The truth of it is I was kind of going down this road without the show anyways. Before the show I was already out of school. I was pregnant. I was promiscuous. I didn’t have my head on straight at all. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for the support actually of the show in the end.”
On her dad’s passing at 50 and struggles with alcoholism:
“My dad always said that to me before. He always told me you have to change. You have to think about what you’re doing to yourself, to your family. ‘Never Too Late’ is actually from my father telling me that … He was showing me that with his life because he was sober for 10 years before he passed due to complications from alcohol. He was a huge supporter and I gained a lot of strength from him.”
On how life in Anderson shaped her teen years and what changes she thinks would help her daughter Leah in the community as she matures:
“I think growing up in Madison County, you know, teenagers get bored. There’s not exactly a lot to do around here. So, you know, there’s um, you know, you experiment. I’m just gonna make sure she has a level head and she knows when to say no and I’m just going to be involved in her life. I think Leah, when she gets older, she’s going to want to explore the world a little bit. She’s one of those little girls you just can’t hold her down. She’s always talking. She’s always thinking about something. She has a lot of energy. I know it’s going to be hard when she’s a teenager…”
“Most of my teenage years, I was mostly riding in cars with older people doing the wrong things. There needs to be more interaction with teenagers. There needs to be something to keep them busy other than sports… There needs to be more drug-related programs that work. It’s my goal in the future to get that started.”
When the report was shared via Facebook by THB, there was your typical amount of negative feedback in the comments. Someone asked if she had been recently evicted and another person stated that Amber did the interview for money.
Interestingly enough, Leah’s dad Gary Shirley was tagged and he came to the defense of Amber:
In the feature, we encourage you to check it out in full here, Amber talks about the song “On My Own” by The Used, the only tune she mentions in her book. “It’s got a lot of anger in it but it’s emotional. I just connected with that song more so than anything.”
Another area resident on Facebook wrote, “Amber was like a daughter to me in high school. I’m so glad she’s on the right track. She’s handled a lot of adversity in the past several years and I’m so proud of the accomplishments she’s made!”
As a belated happy birthday to Amber here’s a stripped-down, live version of “On My Own.”