The Teen Mom franchise first started off as an after show of the MTV docuseries 16 and Pregnant. It followed several young mothers and showed the challenges and obstacles they face as a young mom. It originally starred Farrah Abraham, Maci Bookout, Catelynn Lowell, and Amber Portwood, although Farrah has since been replaced by Bristol Palin and reality star Cheyenne Floyd.
The success of the first Teen Mom has spawned various spin-off shows. The most popular of these is Teen Mom 2, which currently has even higher ratings than the original TM. Following the same premise as the original, TM2 followed young moms Jenelle Eason, Chelsea DeBoer, Kailyn Lowry, and Leah Messer as they balanced babies, boys, and money problems. There was a short-lived Teen Mom 3 that only lasted for a season due to poor reception, although TM3 cast member Briana DeJesus and her family currently star on TM2. Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant and Teen Mom: UK are the spin-offs in the TM franchise that are currently producing new episodes.
Despite Teen Mom being on the air for over a decade now, fans can’t get enough of it. And it turns out there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that fans have been oblivious to. Read on to discover what you never knew about this beloved reality show.
20. MACI INDULGED DURING HER THIRD PREGNANCY
Fans of Teen Mom OG have long praised Maci Bookout for being one of the most responsible moms on the show. However, that doesn’t mean she’s immune from criticism. During her last pregnancy with son Maverick, the reality star faced backlash after it appeared she had been drinking after discovering her condition.
After announcing her pregnancy, fans were quick to point out that she’d been photographed only weeks prior with a questionable beverage in hand, Insider reports. Some fans suggested the star may not have known she was pregnant at the time. But given that she waited to announce her pregnancy until she was five months along, many of her followers found it hard to believe.
19. THE CREW WAS ACTUALLY SCARED OF DAVID EASON
Before he was kicked off of Teen Mom 2, David Eason (aka Mr. Jenelle Evans) was stirring up a lot of trouble for the cast and crew. Thanks to his penchant for online threats and discriminatory rants, many of the crew started refusing to work with him, claiming they were too nervous to be around him.
“There are a lot of crew members who work on multiple girls’ shoots, or all of the girls’ shoots during the season,” one source revealed, OK! Magazine reported. “After the first video incident, several of them said they will no longer accept shoots with Jenelle, because they are downright scared to go anywhere near her, out of [worry for] what David may do.”
18. AND SO WAS THE CAST
It wasn’t just the behind-the-scenes crew members that began feeling uneasy while working in close proximity to David Eason. The reality star’s former co-stars have even expressed concerns over their wellbeing while in his presence.
For instance, Kailyn Lowry’s ex-husband Javi Marroquin has expressed concern about David’s temper. “I wouldn’t go anywhere around there,” he told Radar Online. “If Jenelle is around he knows what she’s doing and he knows where to find her. I wouldn’t go down there at all. I wouldn’t even go to the state!” Many of the cast members have also refused to attend reunion tapings if David is present, which probably played a factor in his eventual firing.
17. CHELSEA WASN’T A NICE GIRL IN HIGH SCHOOL
Nowadays, the biggest complaint fans have against Teen Mom 2’s Chelsea DeBoer is that her storyline is too boring. The former teen mom is now married with two more kids, and life seems pretty laid back and drama-free for her family (aside from her absentee first baby daddy).
However, last year, an anonymous user came forward on Reddit claiming that Chelsea wasn’t as nice in high school as she seems now. “I made an account I’ll never use again to share this because I can’t prove it […] I knew her in high school,” the poster wrote. “She and her group of friends were almost expelled for making a homecoming poster that said [a racial slur]. The only reasons she didn’t was her dad and other parents threw a fit about it just being a really poor joke.”
However, both Chelsea and her father responded to the accusations claiming they were entirely made-up. Could you imagine Chelsea doing something like that?
16. THE CREW IS LEGALLY REQUIRED TO REPORT BAD BEHAVIOUR
All Teen Mom 2 fans are aware of the accusations that have been reported against Jenelle Evan’s husband David Eason (which played a part in getting him kicked off of the show). The reports have made fans question if the producers have ever encountered a cast member mistreating their child when filming. And if so, what did they do?
A source once told The Ashley’s Reality Round-Up that the crew is legally required to report wrongdoing. “We are required to report anything we see to the higher-ups [producers] who will tell us what to do and handle it from there,” the on-set source said. “This would include anything we see that is illegal happening — [substance] use, for instance, or [child mistreatment] etc.”
15. AND THEY’VE REPORTED THE CAST BEFORE
There have been plenty of times the Teen Mom cast has had run-ins with the law- and it turns out that the MTV crew may have had something to do with it. Another source told The Ashley that producers have been in situations where they’ve called the authorities on one of the stars.
“We’ve called the police on cast members over the years, and let the cops handle the situation,” they told the publication. “We have also called CPS on cast members plenty of times when we see things in regard to the children that don’t seem right. Viewers don’t see everything. They would probably never know what’s happening behind the scenes. The cast member may not even know it was us, to be honest.”
14. FARRAH SUED THE SHOW FOR MILLIONS
Farrah Abraham is always making the news for some wild antics. And of course, she couldn’t let her exit from Teen Mom be drama-free. When the celebrity was let go from the show last year after her other work ventures were getting in the way, she launched a lawsuit claiming she’d been fired inappropriately.
“Threats were made against Ms. Abraham by [MTV producer Morgan Freeman] about ending her [work] with MTV and sabotaging future deals Ms. Abraham had in place with MTV, and defaming her,” her lawsuit read, E! News reports, adding she was arguing on the grounds of gender discrimination. “Given Freeman’s hostile tone, mannerisms and body language, Ms. Abraham [was worried] for her life.”
13. THE CAST DOESN’T CLEAN THEIR HOMES BEFORE FILMING
Given that their homes are broadcast on national television, many fans assume the Teen Mom cast makes sure their homes are spick and span before inviting the camera crews in. And while we’re sure that’s true for some of the TM stars, it can’t be said about all of them,
In 2012, an anonymous cameraman for the reality show came forward to reveal how gross Teen Mom 2’s Leah Messer kept her home. “I would have to say that Leah is,” well, the biggest offender, the source said, C. Sheet reports. “Filthiest person I’ve met. When feeding her twins she would spill a bunch of cheese puffs on the … carpet and the girls would crawl around and suck up the cheese puffs, no hands involved. This made me cry a few times.”
12. ADAM LIND BLAMES MTV FOR BEING BROKE
Chelsea Houska’s first baby daddy Adam Lind has been on a downward spiral for years and things don’t seem to be getting much better. Last summer, it was revealed that Adam feels MTV is the source of his problem and the reason he was broke during his most recent child support mediation for daughter Aubree.
“He went on this rant, that he can’t get a job because ‘the publicity against me from MTV is negative,'” Chelsea was seen telling a friend during an episode. “You’re not getting a job because you did that to yourself … ” She added that Adam owed $16,000 to his second baby mama, Taylor, for their daughter Paislee. However, several months ago, Adam relinquished his parental rights to Paislee so he wouldn’t owe anything any longer.
11. TYLER AND CATELYNN HAD A CURFEW WHILE FILMING
Given how complicated and chaotic their family lives were, no one expected Tyler and Catelynn’s families to have strict rules, especially when it came to filming Teen Mom, which was bringing in so much money. But it turns out the couple did, in fact, have a curfew that restricted when they could and could not film.
Insider reports that their parents only allowed them to film after school, although their homework still had to be finished by the end of the night. “I can remember, during the first two seasons, only being able to film with Catelynn and Tyler from 4 p.m. to about 8 p.m. because [Tyler’s mom] Kim had a rule that they were not allowed to film past 8,” MTV producer Kirsten Malone once revealed.
She continued, “They had school and had to do their homework, which I thought was fantastic. It did not make our jobs easy, but we did it, and we’re still super respectful of the kids and their schedules.”
10. DEBRA WAS ARRESTED FOR HURTING DAUGHTER FARRAH
It’s clear that Farrah Abraham has never had a good relationship with her mother Debra Danielson. During her stint on Teen Mom, many fans criticized Farrah’s attitude towards her mom and found her to be the root of their problems. But it’s since been revealed that Debra could also start the drama, too.
Back in 2010, Nicki Swift reports that Debra was picked up by police after getting into a physical confrontation with Debra. “[It was] over child care issues as well as other problems,” a source said, adding that Debra then through a shirt at her daughter that landed close to her granddaughter’s face. The insider said that’s when Debra put her hands on her daughter and was subsequently hit with police charges.
9. THE CAST CAN FIRE PRODUCERS
Usually, we think it’s the producers that can call the shot about who stays and who goes on TV shows. But when it comes to Teen Mom, there have been multiple times one of the reality stars has kicked a producer off their set because they couldn’t get along.
Most recently, Kailyn Lowry of Teen Mom 2 declared she would no longer work with producer JC after a heated conflict during the 2018 reunion show. She later revealed she believed JC allowed Briana DeJesus to sit behind her during the taping, which motivated Briana to physically attack Kail (fans still can’t believe this happened!).
“Clearly set up a [showdown] and use extreme force against one person but not against two wild animals. How did someone backstage have so much security, meanwhile the people on stage got past them?” Kailyn posted online about the incident, In Touch Weekly reports.
8. AND THEY NEGOTIATE THROUGH THEIR LAWYERS
Back in the day, the Teen Mom girls were inexperienced teenagers with children to feed. It always seemed like they were eager to sign on to the next season. But nowadays, the moms are grown up and more experienced, so they often allow their legal representatives to negotiate the terms of their contracts. And if something goes amiss, they can totally refuse to speak to MTV unless it’s through their attorneys.
This past January, Kailyn briefly refused to film after co-star Barbara Evans made some choice remarks about her. Inquisitr reported that Kail was only speaking to MTV through her lawyer. “I’m not filming until something is done,” she explained. “It’s about the principle at this point. The producers say they’re handling it. I gave them my attorney’s info and told the producers to contact my attorney and not to contact me.”
7. CHELSEA FELL FOR ADAM’S BEST FRIEND
Chelsea took a long time to get over her first baby daddy, Adam Lind, and the two went back to each other multiple times before eventually calling it quits. However, during the 2014 reunion special, fans were surprised when Adam claimed that Chelsea had begun dating one of his best friends — and she sure didn’t deny it on camera.
The reality star later took to social media to clarify the confusing scene. “I don’t usually comment on things said/done on the show BUT to the people giving me [heck] for some stuff that aired on part 2 of the reunion,” she wrote. “I’m sure if your […] life was plastered all over national television you wouldn’t look like an angel either.”
6. THEY’VE LOST A CAST MEMBER BEFORE
Though not a part of the spinoff franchise Teen Mom, Valerie Fairman was known for her episode on 16 and Pregnant, the show that gave all the TM moms their start. Unfortunately, the one-time reality star’s life met an untimely end in December 2016.
The young mom, whose daughter Nevaeh was 7-years old at the time, had various run-ins with the law as well as a habit in the years leading up to her passing. For many of those years, her daughter had been in the care of her parent. According to Nicki Swift, Nevaeh continued to live with her grandparents following her mother’s passing.
5. JENELLE HAD BAD HABITS WHILE PREGNANT
Jenelle has come a long way since her first few seasons of Teen Mom 2, and nowadays claims to have been clean for a very long time. However, during her last pregnancy with daughter Ensley, the celebrity caused quite the stir when she tested positive, meaning she took something otherwise not believed to be safe for pregnant women.
Although the issue wasn’t explored much on TM2, Jenelle didn’t hold back from addressing it in the media. “I’m not going to lie about that. I tested positive and Ensley did not test positive,” she said during an appearance on The Brand podcast.
4. THE CAST AND CREW HAVE A HARD TIME RESPECTING BOUNDARIES
Even though many of the producers and crew have worked with the cast for years, they still have a professional code of conduct to abide by. Even though the cast and crew can be friendly with each other, they can’t cross a certain limit. And according to Maci Bookout, it’s been difficult to balance in the past.
“I know I feel much more comfortable because whatever I’m talking about on camera, I’ve probably already talked to [my producers] about it,” she once told Cosmo. “It just takes everybody remembering there’s a difference between our friendship relationship and our professional relationship. But we’ve all done this for so long that we are very aware of times when one relationship needs to override the other one.”
3. AND SOMEONE GOT FIRED BECAUSE OF IT
For many seasons, Teen Mom fans were used to seeing producer Heather Walsh interact with the cast, particularly Farrah Abraham who she appeared to work with the most. But back in 2017, the producer was abruptly replaced on the show, which made fans instantly question what happened to Heather.
The Hollywood Gossip reported that Heather had been staying overnight at Farrah’s, which went against the professional code of conduct. “They found out that she was frequently staying at Farrah’s house and that is not allowed,” a source revealed at the time. “They want producers to have a great relationship with the cast, but there are certain rules in place that lay out things they can and cannot do with the cast.”
2. DID AMBER HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT?
While many fans were quick to blame Farrah for Heather’s firing (after all, she was the castmate that the producer had been hanging out with), Farrah’s then-boyfriend Simon Saran was quick to point the finger in another direction — all the way at Amber Portwood!
Simon wrote on social media that Amber made a fuss over Heather because of her ongoing feud with Farrah. “Heather was fired because Amber threatened to quit the show,” he wrote. “Then MTV worked out a ‘deal’ with her since she couldn’t handle the heat.”
However, Amber quickly shot down his claims. “Why would I do that to her,” Amber replied online. “I mean I’m [mean] sometimes but I wouldn’t really want her fired. Maybe if Simon and Farrah didn’t always party then she would have been fine.”
1. THE SHOW WASN’T MEANT TO LAST
The Teen Mom franchise has been on the air for almost 10 years. But when the show was first proposed, no one thought it would last this long. In fact, MTV meant for it to act as a filler show while 16 and Pregnant was filming another season, Insider reports.
However, TM ended up taking off after its first season, which is why it spawned tons of spin-offs, including Teen Mom 2, Teen Mom 3, Teen Mom UK, and the most recent, Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant. The only show in the franchise to be canceled was TM3, which received poor ratings after its first season. However, TM2 fans know that Briana DeJesus was originally invited to participate in TM2 after her stint on TM3.