Teen Mom OG dad Gary Shirley dropped a major bombshell this week when he revealed on camera that Amber Portwood’s fiancé Matt Baier allegedly owes child support for seven different children. As you would imagine, the backlash online has been TREMENDOUS, as concerned fans of Amber Portwood have bombarded the reality star with warnings and derogatory comments about her much older fiancé.
During the episode, Matt was obviously angry that MTV producers allowed Gary to surprise Amber with the legal documents with cameras rolling, and now it seems the network is trying to make up for that (at least in some small way) by giving Matt a chance to defend himself in a bonus clip interview. Here’s the video:
I think that the problem I have with this is, whether [Gary’s] information was accurate or not, he presented it as if it were a negative thing, and that’s not necessarily the case. He had no idea what the story was behind that. And he was under the impression that because he didn’t know, that means [Amber] didn’t know. Gary’s not part of our family and we don’t open up and tell him everything that’s going on in our life because, frankly, it’s really none of his business.
For people to automatically say this is a negative thing, or “you are a deadbeat,” or “you abandoned your children,” when none of that was actually accurate — even a little bit. I think it’s unfortunate because now, when this happened, I had to not only deal with Amber having doubts, regardless of whether it was true or not, I also had to deal with people saying to me, “Oh, you abandoned your kids.”
For Gary to come out and say, “Here’s this information and this is a negative, and the world needs to know it,” that doesn’t hurt me — that hurts my kids. I have no shame at all about my older kids. None whatsoever. I love my older kids. But, they were born in a time when I wasn’t capable of taking care of myself, never mind anybody else. Thankfully, they were raised by a wonderful mother and a wonderful father, and they had great lives. And they had no regrets, no animosity. I think they would have had more animosity had I been more involved in their life because I was a mess.
At this point, Amber chimes in and says, “From the stories that he’s told me from his past, we connect a lot through that. Mine’s just a little bit, you know, closer than his.”
“I had a twenty-year head start,” Matt says. He then adds, “I made a lot of poor decisions, but also, like Amber said, if you look at both of us now as now as compared to then, the people — they’re not even similar people. And I think who we really are is finally come out once we cleaned up.”
In addition to Matt’s clip, Amber also had a chance to respond — and she is definitely standing by her man:
I feel when Gary approached me with all the cameras there, I think that was really, like, tasteless. Honestly. You know, Gary had told me a couple weeks after that he actually had known for a while, which just tells me that he literally just waited for the cameras to be there. And he kind of admitted it to me, and said, “You know, well I just didn’t know how you were going to react.” But I think that’s a bunch of bull.
I think what his main goal was is to humiliate us and to try to make our family look like it’s not stable because that’s when we were in the big custody battle with Leah.
It’s not accurate. [Matt] does only have five kids. Yes, I did know about them, but the other ones are older with families and it wasn’t something that we wanted out.
I can say that today we’re in a great place. That was a few months ago. Matt still says he has five kids, and the thing with me that I would always go to is, well if he had five, why the hell wouldn’t he tell me if he had seven? As if that really makes a difference to me. I mean, he could have ten and I don’t even know if that would make a difference because to me the point is that his past was horrible. He wasn’t a good person back then. He was a womanizing user. He was an addict. That’s not an excuse, but that’s the type of person he was.
We went through a really rough patch because of this, because I had no trust in him any more, and it’s like we had to rebuild our trust again in our relationship. And I think Gary could have went about it in a different way because it was a really vulnerable and hard position to put me in.
It’s good that Amber is OK with Matt having 10 children, because another of his exes has come forward and revealed that she also shares a daughter with Matt. This woman, named Kelli Nunn, was not included in the original “seven children by five different women” tally, and she says she is aware of at least one more child of Matt’s that also was not counted — which would raise the total to nine. (The ninth child has yet to be confirmed.)
In addition to Kelli, another of Matt’s former female acquaintances named Judy Cornett went on a Twitter tirade this week after she learned that Matt was currently engaged to Amber Portwood and appearing on Teen Mom OG. In her tweets she referred to Matt (who went by the name Grey Baker at the time) as a “con man” and a “thief” before mentioning an incident involving some missing money from a suitcase.
Here is a photo of Matt and Judy together:
Judy later went into detail about her experience with Matt in an interview with The Ashley’s Reality Roundup, and the similarities are eerily similar to what we know of Matt’s relationship with Amber.
Judy is a rather famous sexual predator awareness spokesperson and victims’ rights advocate who had appeared on numerous television shows, including Oprah, Montel, 20/20 and more. She says Matt reached out to her online and revealed he was working on a book about childhood sexual abuse. (Anyone remember that Matt was pitching some virtual woo at Jenelle and Farrah on Twitter before he struck up an online relationship with Amber via the social media site?)
Matt later arrived at her home in Tampa, Florida in a suspicious manner that should sound familiar to Teen Mom OG fans. “When he came to Tampa, it was very awkward,” Judy recalls. “He came with very little. He just had a small bag with a few dirty clothes in it. I had to wash his clothes for him. But at the time, he had made it seem like he had money, and that he wanted to help me and my organization.”
Viewers of Teen Mom OG will recall that Matt came to “visit” Amber at her home in Indiana, but later revealed that he had been evicted from his apartment and had nowhere else to go, at which point she said it was OK if he moved in permanently.
Judy says it was obvious he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship, but she thwarted his advances.
Fast forward two weeks and Judy kicked Matt out of her home after the suitcase incident. She says he then moved back in with an ex before later getting kicked out of there as well.
Also important to note is that the incident with Judy took place in 2008, which was less than eight years ago. I assume that is after he “cleaned up” and became “who he really is?” And I think it’s interesting that Matt was so open about his alleged history with childhood sexual abuse, but yet didn’t mention a word about his drug problems to Judy. “He never once mentioned that, and his sobriety and all of that never came up in our conversations,” Judy says.
Judy then explained that she is only speaking out over concern for Amber’s well being. “She understands that people make mistakes and can change; however, this was not an isolated incident,” Judy says. “So many people are coming out of the woodwork to talk about their experiences with Matt. If all of this had transpired before 2008 and then stopped, then maybe he had changed. But it has continued.”
Judy adds, “I just hope that with all of us coming forward, that we can make an impression that will change her mind about being with this man. Right now she has such a huge opportunity, working in entertainment, to make a difference. I wish her well and I hope that she will enjoy the money from the show with her child, and enjoy the quality time with her. I hope all this drama disappears for her.”
So what do you think? Is Matt a changed man? Are his decades of philandering and “poor decisions” over, or should Amber be worried?