After being cast in the reality show 16 and Pregnant in 2009, Amber Portwood rose to prominence across the United States, attracting a horde of fans. Millions of viewers tuned in and followed her story as a pregnant teenager, and later, also watched the spin-off series Teen Mom to see how she was handling her new role as a mother to baby Leah.
Amber appeared on the show for four seasons before taking the time out to reevaluate her life and make some necessary changes for the benefit of herself and her daughter. While her fans supported her through the hard times, she also received backlash and criticism from thousands around the country.
In 2015, Amber returned with her co-stars to do Teen Mom OG, allowing fans to see the changes she went through. For the last ten years, much of Amber’s life has played out publicly for all to see, but there are still a few details about her life that most people don’t know about.
Many fans think they have a good idea of who Amber is, but there’s a lot more to this Indiana native than meets the eye!
Check out these little-known facts about Amber Portwood.
Today Amber has made enough money to secure her daughter a quality education and has amassed over a million followers on social media. She’s come a long way—especially because she wasn’t born into wealth and privilege.
In an interview with Dr. Phil, the Teen Mom star revealed that by the age of nine, she was already living an unhealthy lifestyle and was also breaking the law. Her childhood wasn’t easy, and by the time she was a teenager and appeared on the show, certain habits that she had formed years earlier were getting worse and fans of the show weren’t even aware of it.
In the past, Amber has had her fair share of issues with controlling her fits of anger. It’s understandable why she has so much anger built up inside her since her life hasn’t exactly been easy up until this point. But her inability to manage her temper set her apart from her co-stars on Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant.
It was only after Amber attended anger management classes that she was finally able to have an element of control over her emotions. But the classes were successful for her, and she came full circle in the end—during a period of incarceration, Amber passed on the techniques she’d learned to others!
Amber has made a lot of money from the platform she built after appearing on television, but it’s clear that money isn’t the most important thing in her life. We know that because in the past, she turned down certain offers that would have paid very well because she didn’t agree with them.
TV Over Mind reports that Amber was offered $500,000 to star in a film by Vivid, and for obvious reasons, this didn’t sit right with her. While someone who placed a higher value on money would have taken the offer, Amber decided that she’d received enough criticism from the world and didn’t need the backlash of appearing in a film like that!
In 2012, life took a turn for the worse for Amber, and she was sentenced to five years behind bars. While this wouldn’t have been good news for anyone, it ended up being a positive change for Amber because while she was inside, she was able to turn her life around.
She kicked any lingering habits that she wasn’t able to control before and adopted a new positive attitude. She also worked on her good behavior and a newfound sense of responsibility by helping others with their own anger management issues. Because of that, her sentence was cut to just 17 months.
We can see from her social media pages that Amber Portwood has many fans, but her own neighbors don’t seem to fall under that category. Even though her story touched a lot of hearts when she appeared on TV, locals in her area reacted in a much more hostile way.
Residents of Anderson, Indiana believed that she was giving her hometown a bad reputation and portraying the rest of them in a negative light. They also weren’t afraid to let her know about it. Angry locals caused damage to Amber’s property and shouted negative things at her when they saw her in the street.
Amber has had to deal with a lot of pressure from a young age, and at times, it’s been extremely stressful for her. Her mental health has definitely been affected by her upbringing and the struggles she’s faced in the past, and at her worst point, Amber came to the decision that she wanted out of life, at least twice.
During one of these periods, Amber called her boyfriend and let him know what she was planning, and he contacted the police who found her before anything serious could happen. Amber cites mental illness and social rejection as some of the factors that contributed to her feeling so low.
When Amber was first sentenced to spend time behind bars, she was actually given the choice between that and visiting a facility that would help her kick her habits. And surprisingly, she chose to serve time rather than attend the facility.
For some, committing themselves to a treatment option like this doesn’t completely help them to get healthy again, and Amber actually preferred the first option. But as we mentioned, serving time actually turned out to be a positive thing for Amber because it enabled her to completely turn her life around and change herself (and her habits) for the best.
The hardships in Amber’s life started very early on. When she was only five years old, her younger sister, Candace, passed away from SIDS. While Amber was a child at the time, she remembers how grief-stricken her parents were after the loss.
Later, in 2014, Amber lost her father, Shawn Portwood Sr., when he passed away at the age of 50. He had just undergone liver surgery at the time. These losses have been a lot for Amber to deal with, and naturally, have contributed to the mental health issues that she has experienced. Even though she had her daughter Leah, Amber likely felt that she was losing everyone else who mattered to her.
The relationship between Amber and the father of her daughter Leah, Gary Shirley, was clearly turbulent when it played out before the public. Amber was engaged to Gary, but the two split before they got married, and Gary received full custody of Leah.
Following this, Amber began a relationship with former radio DJ Matt Baier, after meeting him on Twitter. They were engaged as well but called it quits before the wedding came. But Amber has found love again, this time with Andrew Glennon, who she met while filming Marriage Bootcamp. The two share a son called James Andrew Glennon.
Although appearing on shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom opened Amber up to all kinds of criticism and backlash, she ended up drastically improving her financial situation this way. During her court hearing in 2012, Amber was under oath and admitted that she made $140,000 for every six-month contract she signed with 16 and Pregnant.
Not bad at all! The reality star came under fire in the beginning because it was thought that she wasting away her money, but she has been open about the fact that she has saved enough to make sure that her children can go to college.
The TV shows may have made Amber a lot of money, but with everything going on in her life at the time, she found it hard to just show up and start filming. And so, whenever she had to film, she would have a few drinks beforehand.
In an interview with Dr. Phil, Amber confessed that there was never really a time when she was on camera that she hadn’t had anything to drink. However, that all changed after she served time behind bars. When she was released, she had turned her life around and was able to film without drinking anything.
Even though she’s received anger management counseling, Amber still has a fiery personality, and in particular, doesn’t allow anyone to talk negatively about her love life in front of her. She’s much better at handling criticism of her than she is at handling criticism of her loved ones. This was obvious when she was dating Matt, and people would make negative comments about him on Twitter.
She was always quick to come to his defense, the way she was during one infamous Teen Mom OG reunion episode, when Farrah Abraham made a negative comment about Matt. Amber did not hesitate to put her in her place.
There has definitely been drama between Amber and her Teen Mom co-stars, but despite their ups and downs, they do share a bond. While there are lots of tension-filled arguments on screen, behind the scenes, it’s a different story.
According to BabyGaga, “Amber has stated many times that she is close with her Teen Mom co-stars and that they all do have a special bond and friendship.” They even spend time together when they’re not filming, and chat on the phone in their free time. And while episodes air, Amber has been known to come to the defense of her co-stars on Twitter.
Amber has undergone a serious transformation of her attitude, behavior, and lifestyle since serving time. But she’s also adopted a totally new, glammed look (which we’re loving). Many fans want to know what brands of makeup the reality star uses to achieve her look, and apparently, that brand is Smashbox.
Amber states that Smashbox is the only brand that she uses, and it’s at the point where it’s become something of an addiction. From what we can tell, she isn’t being sponsored by the company to endorse their products, so they must really be doing something for her!
There is a lot that Amber Portwood has had to overcome in life, and nobody can argue that she isn’t strong. But for all the things that she has been able to achieve, there’s one simple task that she still can’t seem to master, no matter how hard she tries. According to Amber herself, she just can’t cook.
We actually received photographic evidence of this when a photo emerged of what looked to be eggs that Amber had totally made inedible after attempting to flip them. We don’t like to put people down, but in this case, we’re inclined to agree with Amber: if you can’t flip eggs, then cooking is clearly not your thing!
Because of all the criticism she’s received, Amber is even more grateful when people give her support. She is thankful for her millions of followers on social media and is always sure to show how much she appreciates them.
One of the ways she makes her fans feel appreciated is by retweeting any positive comments they make to her. Considering she gets a lot of comments, both good and bad, it must take a bit of time to single out the positive ones and acknowledge them. But her newsfeed is full of positive comments from fans to whom she is grateful.
Amber isn’t a cooking person, but she is a tattoo person! When she was in a relationship with Matt, the two decided to get matching tattoos of each other’s names on their bodies. She also has a large tattoo of her daughter Leah’s face on her stomach.
Amber’s personal style tends to fall more towards the modest side of the scale, and she often covers up her body. Because of this, fans tend to forget that she has been inked up a few times. It will be interesting to see if she gets any more tattoos in the future (maybe one of James?)!
It looks like Amber is finally happy in her relationship with Andrew, but like everything else in life, it’s not perfect. According to Inquisitr, she doesn’t get along with Andrew’s family, which is causing some tension. It’s been reported that Amber believes Andrew’s family think they are better than her.
“I feel bad for Andrew because I couldn’t deal with such fakeness honestly,” Amber wrote (via Inquisitr). “I love my family and they’re always here for me AND Andrew. I cannot believe what I’m hearing... Saying people from Indiana are backwards and Andrew will be going downhill from here lol wow.”
In the past, Amber has come for people who have negative things to say about her past partners, Andrew’s family members, and her TV co-stars. But there’s one other famous person that Amber seems to not have taken a liking to: Justin Bieber.
During an appearance on The Maury Show in 2014, the reality star revealed that she’s not really a fan of the way the pop star can behave sometimes. “He wants attention,” she said plainly, recalling that she wanted attention when she was a teenager and did things for money and publicity. We guess she’s not a Belieber!
The positive side of going through hardship is that it equips you to help other people in your situation. Now that Amber has turned her life around, she wants to inspire other young people to do the same. She spoke to The Fix about how she’s considering moving into the public speaking field and using her story to encourage teenagers going through the issues that she went through to help themselves and turn their lives around.
She also revealed that she’d love to open a treatment center before she hits the age of 30 and help those who have formed the habits that once consumed her life.
Sources: TV Over Mind, BabyGaga, Inquisitr