MTV wasn’t about to let last week’s Farrah Abraham interview implosion stop their successful series of Teen mom OG Facebook fan Q&A sessions! This week they got the dad who put the “G” in “OG” in the form of Gary Shirley, who didn’t dodge any of the hardball questions as he responded to inquiries about his custody battle with Amber Portwood, his wife Kristina, and, of course, Amber’s controversial fiancé Matt Baier.
Here are some the highlights of the interview in bullet point form:
• Gary and Matt Baier have since made up. Gary reveals that he even apologized to Matt at the Reunion taping for the way everything went down.
• Gary’s reluctance to being flexible when it comes to Leah’s custody schedule is due mostly to the fact that her school record — both grades and attendance — is pretty much perfect. He also says that he is 100% in support of 50/50 coverage over the summer.
• Gary still thinks Amber tries to blame every one else for her problems and is reluctant to accept responsibility herself.
OK, here we go….
FAN: Does your wife have a job? If not, how is she any different from Matt? Just on the aspect of working.
GARY: My wife has a job, but for the time being she is a stay-at-home mom for our beautiful daughter. We’re not ready to put her in day care.
I know you and Amber have a crazy past, but if she has stayed clean and out of trouble, why won’t you consider joint custody? As a fan I know that MTV doesn’t show us everything at home, but she seems to have done very well and proved that she has changed for the better.
I really appreciate the way you asked this question. I don’t keep Leah from her — it’s played out worse than it is. It’s not me. Amber can see her anytime, she just needs to make sure we have no important plans.
But the only reason I have issue with her getting her overnight thru the week is Leah has perfect attendance and all A’s. And Amber lives 50 plus min from school we both don’t wanna jeopardize that.
You are a great Dad. Why is it when Amber doesn’t like what is happening in her life with her loser boyfriend is it your fault? She needs to thank her lucky stars you were a good Dad and took full responsibly of your daughter when she was finding herself and getting clean and sober. Kudos to you and stepping up, too bad more fathers aren’t like you.
We are getting along much better. And I really appreciate the nice comment.
Gary, if you had to pick one of the guys on the show to babysit Leah who would it be?
Teen Mom 2 Corey!
Are you as self centered and manipulative as you seem on TV? Why do you enjoy pushing Amber’s buttons? But I do have to say that not many dads would have taken ownership as you did with Leah, so good job there. For the sake of Leah you and Amber should think about going to counseling together.
Not at all. I am a really caring person. But, when you gotta protect your own it doesn’t seem like that. Besides, the show wouldn’t be a show if there was no drama — things are edited and cut down! So keep all of that in mind. But, to answer your question, I actually try to get along with Amber, but she won’t let me because then she couldn’t blame me for everything when she is the one to blame.
Why wouldn’t you let Amber be at Leah’s birthday party?
She could have seen Leah on her birthday. But we both decided since it was a school night we wouldn’t have enough time for a birthday party. So on my weekend Amber got to see her. So I’m not sure why she was so upset and saying she didn’t get to see Leah because we communicated that together.
Gary why did you bring up that Matt had seven kids, and I really would love a response — thanks.
Because I felt it was something Amber needed to know since Matt was in Leah’s life too!
Gary, what’s your great challenge when it comes to co-parenting with Amber? We hear her side all the time and know what she thinks, so I figured this would be the time to see how it’s difficult for you.
* Gary answered this question with a video:
Does Amber play the victim a lot??? Be strong. You were there for that kid all her life, you shouldn’t just give her up just because Amber is her mother. You must make sure she’s OK to do the job.
Yes, always — and it’s never her fault, and says things to put on me. Yes I know how to push her buttons, but I don’t anymore. More often I just let her say what she wants and leave it alone.
Are you and Kristina still together? Do you guys plan on getting married? And do you still have full custody of Leah?
We are married and I have joint legal with Amber, which is what we always had. I just have primary meaning she lives with me.
Why do you let Leah call Kristina Mom?
So that’s a hard one. It’s not that I let her, but when my daughter slips up and says it, since she has 2 other sisters that call her mom, it gets hard on Leah to not say it. So when Leah asked me, I told her it’s up to her. I just want to be supportive of what she feels comfortable with.
Just a comment Gary…I think it’s awesome you are taking the time to answer each question and not bail out like Farrah did. Seems you are a great dad.
Was your wife mad when she found out you were trying to get with Amber while she was sitting at home?
I wasn’t trying to get back with her, but after that scene I told her what I did. I did it because it was nice to see Amber smile and good for Leah to see us getting along, and of course at that time I still cared for her.
Can you comment on why your wife doesn’t have custody of her daughter? I believe (from what I see) she is good to Leah, so I can’t imagine something being so bad she would lose her daughter. Also, now that you see the show, can you see how Leah plays you and Amber against each other? Not a bad thing, my daughter did it for a while before her dad and I caught on!
They have 50/50. Her daughter was used to being at that house so her mom thought best to let her stay at that house with her dad as her primary residence. Nothing to do with Kristina. She is an amazing mother, no joke. We also wanna respect the father’s wishes of her daughter not filming, which we do at the times when she’s not with us.
So since the concern seems to be Leah keeping great attendance and good grades, in the summer do you plan on letting Amber have 50/50 custody?
Yes most def. 100%
Why did you have to tell Amber about Matt in front of the cameras?
To protect myself. With us going to court at that time it was important to have those kind of things documented so it wasn’t hearsay and so they couldn’t use my words against me.
Gary, if you were to go back in time at least three years or more, what would you have done differently for you and Amber? What would you have done to fix your problems? What would you have wanted her to do?
Hard to think or answer because the reason I was hurt was from Amber always dropping me for another guy, which got old after some many haha.
Spitting image of Leah when she was a baby. Not joking, she is so cute — I would love to have a baby that is that cute.
It’s my genes I guess.
Why did you tell her about Matt’s kids in front of the camera? Why didn’t you wait until no cameras were around?
Going thru court, so I didn’t want what I said [to be misinterpreted].
Why won’t you let Amber have Leah on the weekends if you’re concerned about the grades and attendance and such?
She gets her every other weekend and every Wednesday.
After watching yourself on TV this season, do you feel like you’ve made the decisions about visitation based on what’s best for Leah or based on your feelings about Amber & Matt? Because it seems it has more to do with Amber & Matt….
It’s always about Leah
Gary – Do you think Amber has really changed — sometime I still see that “dazed” look in her eyes?
Yes on some things, but she’s still the same person.
Are you starting to trust Amber a little more with Leah?
Both you and Amber are great parents!!! Wondering how does Leah do in school?
Leah has perfect attendance and straight A’s. She’s so smart and loves to read to Emilee. Which is why I want Leah with me on school nights.
Gary you are awesome!! And I would have done the same thing, someday Amber will thank you, and understand what your real intentions were by telling her about this deadbeat she’s with. Keep doing what you’re doing Gary, you’re an amazing dad! No matter what anyone says.
What is it like raising another baby? Nostalgic? Do you remember all the skills and tricks from when Leah was a baby, or did it take you time to remember how to learn things? 🙂 🙂
It’s nice. I love my lil girl just as much as my big one. My first time made my second time easier.
Gary, How will you explain this show to your daughters when they are old enough? I mean, as far as you being portrayed in a negative way sometimes.
Leah already knows the person I am and knows her mother. I think when she’s older and watches it she will have an open mind and I’m sure she will understand that it is a show made for entertainment.
Do you think Matt is a good match for Amber and Leah?
Personal preference, haha, but I think he’s good with Leah.
More of a health concern. Are you interested in losing weight for the sake of being healthier and living longer for your children? No offense….. Or do you not care?
I do care. Of course. Just hard to do and I have been going to the gym and changing eating habits, but staying consistent is hard.
Gary why are you always in Amber’s business? Do you still love her?
No, and what you’re referring to wasn’t me being in her business, just making sure there wasn’t anything I needed to concern myself with for Leah’s safety, and I believe there isn’t.
Just a comment here: along with Corey from Teen Mom 2, you guys are the best fathers on the shows. You really stepped up when most fathers wouldn’t!
Thank you! He’s a good guy.
Why were you so against 50/50 custody?
I want Leah to have the stability she has. Her bedtime is 8:30, lights out at 9pm
She has straight A’s and perfect attendance. We have a routine. It wasn’t to hurt Amber, just to give Leah the best chance in school.
Gary I think you’re a great Daddy! Where do you think you would be today had y’all not been on Teen Mom?
I have no idea, but I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given.
Gary, when Amber went to jail, how was it taking full responsibility for Leah? And did you have a good amount of help? I think you’re doing a Great Job whether people agree or not.
At the time, I was already doing it myself. People seemed to think I had my mom helping me a lot, but that wasn’t true. She was going thru a divorce and trying to deal with that. But I made and grew a great bond with my daughter.
Why did you find it necessary to go behind Matt’s and Amber’s back and do a background check on Matt? I understand he’s around your daughter, but him having 7 kids has nothing to do with you and Amber raising y’alls child together. Plus, he treats Leah amazing, so I found it really shady what you did… You could of done it in private if you were that worried.
I didn’t go behind anyone’s back — someone gave me the info, and before showing them, I talked with my lawyer to see what I should do, and she advised me to show Amber. I’d rather of done something than nothing and something bad happen.
And a JOB — why don’t you have one? Oh yes, you’re sitting at Home on your Butt responding to all these comments. And are you not worried about your Health? You need to be around for your Girls.. J/S You both have issues ..
And yes I’m on my Butt answering questions that you’re asking, so kinda seems we both have a lil extra time.
Hi Gary! I have to give you credit — you seem like a good dad. But, do you think you will ever be able to get along with Amber and accept Matt?
Matt and I get along, and after this reunion show hopefully you guys can see that I apologized to him for how things were handled and how it [got] out of control. I think we’re all in a good place.
— Gary Shirley (@ItsGaryTime) January 17, 2016
How many siblings does Leah have? I know your girl has some kids as well right?
2 with my wife and I.
I don’t blame you at all for doing a check on Matt. Do you feel your daughter is safe around him???? BTW I think you are an amazing Dad!!
Yes! Matt is good to Leah, which was something as a father I needed to make sure of.
Do you still love Amber?
Care about her as the mother of Leah, but those feelings of love have been long gone for years — no offense to her. Just fell out of love after some things she did.
When are you gonna get over Amber?
I care about Amber. And hardly even talk to her. Only reason you see me talk to her is because in order to have a show you need dialogue.
Does Leah like sports?
Why do you deal with Amber anymore?
We co-parent a beautiful growing girl. Haha
Hey Gary, you are doing an awesome job with Leah. What is Leah’s favorite subject in school?
This is my last comment/answer haha I’d have to say Math besides recess. Lol And thank you, I really appreciate that. Message me at SugarDaddys.email@example.com for a free gift. Anyone can order cookies from me through there, but thanks for the nice comment.
A HUGE thanks to Gary for answering SOOO many burning questions! Be sure to continue to follow his and Amber’s story with new episodes of Teen Mom OG airing Monday nights at 10/9c on MTV. And be sure to like the Teen Mom Facebook page so you don’t miss any of their future cast Q&A events!