People these days love ‘Teen Mom’, so much that when Jenelle Evans updates her social media, she makes a headline. The cast of 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom 2, and Teen Mom OG are now bonafide reality stars, but there’s a lot to learn.
In 2019, Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra welcomed their third child. While Farrah Abraham only has one daughter, the lives of these young mothers are now considered so fascinating, the TV franchise is one of the most-watched around.
Everyone wants to know what really goes on. Behind closed doors, what is Chelsea Houska actually like? Does Amber Portwood deserve all the shaming she gets? (Answer: no.) Reality shows aren’t always what they seem, though. As fans of Keeping Up With The Kardashians keep debunking plotholes and dates that don’t add up, there’s something similar going on with Teen Mom.
Catelynn Lowell might not have a social media following on a Kardashian level, but this mother of three is influential enough. With 3.5 million followers, that’s a steady flow of people who want daily updates from Catelynn, Novalee, and the entire family. Social media shows what the poster wants to show, though. As does the show. This isn’t about that.
The secrets had to come out eventually. From how the producers feel to what the cast is actually earning, here’s the real deal. Teen Mom has two sides. The side that’s filmed and the side that isn’t. Here are 20 things the cast of Teen Mom doesn’t share on the show.
20. GLAMORIZING TEEN MOTHERHOOD
Interestingly enough, in 2018 Kailyn Lowry “slammed” Kylie Jenner for “glamorizing teen motherhood,” as Hollywood Life reports. That strikes us as a little strange coming from a mom who has become a celebrity for this exact reason. Still, this is looking at the overall cast.
The show seems to strive to show hard-working moms being “regular.” There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, though. Hair, makeup, editing, and what social media has often taken a dislike to: encouraging teen motherhood. While these moms are candid about the struggles they have faced, they have begun to be worshipped as icons.
19. A CAMERAMAN CALLED LEAH MESSER ‘THE WORST’
Watching Teen Mom, we almost forget that the whole setting comes with a giant production team. Yes, we see the producers arguing it out with Farrah Abraham, but for the most part, the work is hidden. When a Teen Mom cameraman did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, he had this to say:
“Admirable qualities are rare with these girls. Kate is the most level headed and the only one who has potential in being a good mom. The best person on the show is Cory, Leah’s ex. Really sweet guy. He never should never of [sic] agreed to be on the show. I would have to say that Leah is the worst. Lot’s [sic] of horror stories about her.” Oh dear!
18. ‘EVERY SHOOT I WOULD WANT TO CALL CPS, FILTHY HOUSES
The girls have definitely grown up. As insecure teen moms, it’s understandable that the old days might have seen a bit of a messy house. It’s still to be expected in our own homes. Alloy has a report that raised everyone’s eyebrows.
“Every shoot I would want to call CPS. Dirty houses (dog [waste] on the floor, [used sanitary products] sitting in a corner for months, weeks old food everywhere, etc) one of the [grossest] is Leah, filthiest person I’ve met.”
This came from a crew member. We see the Teen Mom houses as lit-up. The kitchens are glowing, the carpets are vacuumed. While we’re hoping this report is no longer applicable, it is still out there.
17. ‘IT GETS TO THE POINT WHERE THE DIRECTOR IS FEEDING THEM LINES’
All reality shows have accusations of being scripted. Keeping Up With The Kardashians gets it, as does The Real Housewives of Atlanta. This Is Insider has been spilling the secrets in terms of just how much of Teen Mom is real. The media outlet quotes a Reddit AMA from a cameraman.
“The storyline is heavily produced by the director. It gets to the point where the director is feeding them lines.”
The fights do seem a little forced at times. As does the overall drama. Whether it’s Jenelle Evans screaming her head off or Amber Portwood bursting into tears, there’s little way of telling how much of it is real.
16. JENELLE EVANS HAS DONE TIME
Celebrities and run-ins with the law happen on every level. Season one of Keeping Up With The Kardashians showed us Khloé Kardashian in trouble. We’ve seen it with Paris Hilton and Chris Brown. The Teen Mom cast can feel a bit “redneck,” although admittedly, that is the appeal.
Jenelle Evans now comes way more grounded and responsible than she used to be. Still, this young mother has had her troubles. With violations left, right, and center, this girl’s slate doesn’t come clean. It’s good to see that Jenelle is now on a path of steadiness, but the history hasn’t disappeared.
15. THE $325,000 PER SEASON PAY
There’s a lot of money to be made in reality TV. The cast of Teen Mom might not be renewing their show for the reported $150 million that E! states the Kardashians did, but these ladies are more than earning their cash.
“It was all thanks to Amber,” a source told Radar Online. “She made sure Gary made as much as she did when they were together.” Maci earns $25,000 per episode. That’s $325,000 per season.
While the settings of these mothers’ homes seem somewhat normal, there’s no denying that things have scaled up. Maci and Taylor bought themselves a mansion. Catelynn Lowell has Louis Vuitton bags. The money isn’t mentioned on the show, but it’s there.
14. AMBER’S APPEARANCE: ‘I JUST LEARNED HOW TO DO MY MAKEUP!’
With fame comes exposure. There’s more pressure to have that “Hollywood look,” and the temptation to change one’s appearance definitely amplifies. Amber Portwood doesn’t seem to have gone down the somewhat-generic “Barbie” look that Farrah has, but she has her pleas, as Hollywood Life reports.
” I didn’t do anything to my face, I promise, I just learned how to do my makeup!”
Amber is a natural beauty. She has a unique face that really stands out, and her wardrobe choices really flatter her shape. At the same time, there is an admission! She did more than just learn how to contour her face.
13. LEAH MESSER FED HER KIDS CHEESE PUFFS OFF THE FLOOR
2016 was the year The Inquisitr reported that life under Leah Messer’s roof is somewhat chaotic. As one of the more controversial mothers on the show, Leah has made headlines for all sorts of reasons.
“When feeding her twins she would spill a bunch of cheese puffs on the [dirty] carpet and the girls would crawl around and suck up the cheese puffs, no hands involved. This made me cry a few times.”
The report quotes the same Reddit AMA from a cameraman that we’ve already seen. The crew member then recalled an icky vehicle belong to Messer.
12. THE MOMS FIGHT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Teen Mom does have its drama. The interesting thing about the show is how isolated the moms are from each other. When Cheyenne Floyd went to meet the other moms in NYC, she was actually nervous, as viewers will recall.
The show’s setup works like this. We see a bit of Maci in Tennessee. The scene then jumps to Amber in Michigan. Then we see Farrah house-hunting in California. Cheyenne is in Florida. Social media is a whole different story, though. The moms have lashed out at each other, but it isn’t something that’s shared on the show. In fact, they aren’t even asked about it.
11. RELATIONSHIP DRAMA ‘NOT REAL’
We don’t just watch Teen Mom for the kids. We want to see the relationship drama. Teen Mom 2 showed us Chelsea going speed dating. That’s a one-off. Between Catelynn and Tyler’s marital problems, Amber embarking on a new relationship, and Jenelle’s various guys… there’s a lot.
“They [got] into big fights and Matt [would say] he’s moving out. But then hours later, [they’d] act like everything is fine.”
A source reporting to Radar Online suggested that Amber “faked” her engagement to Matthew Baier. To think that those storylines are set up kind of makes us sad, but if true, it’s definitely not talked about on the show.
10. 70, 000 PEOPLE VOTED FARRAH THE MOST “FAKE”
We’re looking at a 2016 petition here. Three years ago, a Change.org petition saw 70,000 people sign up to get Farrah Abraham removed from the show on account of “fake” behavior, Nicki Swift reports. The Teen Mom OG star has been making 2019 headlines for “quitting” the show.
The petition centered around Farrah’s apparent move into the adult entertainment industry and, as the motion stated, for “ruining the show” and her daughter Sofia’s “life.” In a way, signing up to vote someone off a show is pretty mean, but viewers of Teen Mom OG will know that Farrah comes as a handful. This one certainly isn’t something Farrah talks about on the show.
9. $13,000 FOR PROMOTING CONTROVERSIAL TEAS
There doesn’t seem to be a celeb mom out there who isn’t promoting. Cardi B has been repeatedly slammed by moms for promoting Teami Blends as the “stomach-flattening” solution to an insecure shape. Kylie Jenner joins her. So does Maci Bookout.
4.1 million social media followers. Influencer Marketing Hub’s calculator puts Maci’s earnings at $8,305 – $13,841 per sponsored post.
“I’ve made the @teamiblends Matcha tea a huge part of my daily routine and I haven’t been tempted by energy drinks. Since it’s totally pure green tea it’s got a lot of health benefits and has a ton of antioxidants in it,” is a caption to one of Maci’s sponsored posts. No word on the show about how much she’s making from promotions!
8. CATELYNN CASHING IN ON THE BABY PICS
2019 brought so much joy to Catelynn Lowell. Watching her welcome little Vaeda Luma was one of the most heart-warming moments of this year; we’re truly happy to see this mom and Tyler Baltierra welcome another little one. There’s something that isn’t being mentioned, though…
When the news broke that Catelynn had given birth, IG fans eagerly waited for a baby pic. They got one, but it came courtesy of People. When you’re sharing your exclusive baby pics via a magazine, you’re getting paid for it. Cashing in on a baby isn’t really Catelynn’s vibe, but don’t think this family did it for free.
7. KAILYN ALMOST QUIT AFTER ACCUSATIONS WITH JAVI
Given that she’s such a loving mother, we’ve got to say, it’s crumby whenever we see Kailyn Lowry looking sad. Her troubled relationship with Javi Marroquin hasn’t been easy. A report from Radar Online states that Kailyn nearly quit the show after she was accused of being less-than-faithful.
Mostly, we see the girls grilling their guys on this show. Chelsea did it (only to hear “five times” wasn’t too bad from her man). Tyler has admitted wandering thoughts to his dad. Kailyn’s troubled time with Javi was documented, but not many people know that she considered calling it quits on the actual show.
6. A CAMERAMAN ‘COULDN’T TAKE IT’ AND QUIT HALFWAY THROUGH A SEASON
And we’re back to the notorious Reddit AMA that saw a Teen Mom cameraman reveal all. Working on a reality show is demanding anyway. The hours are unpredictable, the direction can change, and you always need to be ready to shoot.
As per the AMA reported by Crushable, one cameraman “couldn’t take it anymore” and almost quit his job entirely. This comes as interesting given that the stars themselves have threatened to quit the show. Teen Mom OG has shown us Amber threatened to part ways with the franchise. What we didn’t expect (and what certainly isn’t talked about), is the actual crew not managing.
5. HOW CHEYENNE REALLY FEELS ABOUT HAVING SO FEW FOLLOWERS
The pressure to rack up social media followers is nothing short of insane. We feel it ourselves. It’s driving teens to depression, and it’s becoming a real problem. The girls tend to talk about parenting more than social media on the show.
Looking at the cast’s following, there are disparages. Chelsea Houska has 5.5 million on IG. Catelynn Lowell has 3.5 million. Amber Portwood has 1.7 million. Cheyenne has just over 700,000. While this strong mother seems less popular than the rest of the cast, she sure doesn’t talk about the inner pressure on the show. We hope that she realizes that your worth is not measured by your following.
4. MACI’S HOME COST $625,000
Maci Bookout is super down-to-earth. She’s a Southern girl who loves the outdoors, and she’s an amazing mother. She also happens to be a pretty rich mother (nothing wrong with it). As The Blast reports, Maci and Taylor’s new home cost $625,000. Maci maintains that she’s a regular mom, according to her book.
“There’s no red-carpet prestige or glamorous piles of money. I still live in Chattanooga and go to Walmart and buy bread and milk.”
Walmart might still be there, but so is a home that’s not far off a mansion. It’s also worth over half-a-million dollars. Definitely not mentioned on the show!
3. FARRAH’S FALSE ACCUSATIONS TO AN UBER DRIVER
An accusation of physicality towards an Uber driver is a serious one. The driver can lose his job or face worse. When Screen Rant reported that Farrah had “falsely” accused an Uber driver of hurting her, everyone was taken aback.
“I felt like I was getting [assaulted]…”You’re violating me by looking at me… I have a severe problem with that.”
As Page Six reports, Farrah later admitted that the incident didn’t happen. She “acknowledges” that the driver didn’t attempt to put his hands on her, the newspaper states. Kind of not cool… Also, definitely not something that this mom talks about on the show.
2. USING THEIR KIDS TO PROMOTE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This one will forever have moms debating. Whether or not to “use” your kids for endorsement potential is something that mothers argue out whether it’s Teen Mom or the Kardashians.
In an innocent way, it’s just a bunch of kids playing in front of the camera. In reality, it’s more like a carefully staged setting where the product is clearly visible, the kids are seen using it, and the mom gets paid. Chelsea Houska does this with household items, although she isn’t alone. One thing for sure, though. The Teen Mom cast doesn’t sit there on the show saying: “Hey, I made a ton of money by getting my kids to join in with me on the promo!”
1. THE WAY THEY’RE KIND OF TURNING INTO KARDASHIANS
Admit it– they’re kind of starting to look like Kardashians. Farrah Abraham has the hair extensions, the Fendi dresses, the nails, and the contouring. Catelynn Lowell is filmed at home with a Louis Vuitton bag. With money and fame comes the potential to glam it up.
There’s nothing wrong with spending your cash. These ladies trade in privacy for a price – it isn’t easy having the world watching. At the same time, the simple, regular moms we fell in love with on 16 and Pregnant just aren’t the same anymore.