In the decade Amber Portwood spent in front of MTV cameras, the “Teen Mom” star has faced multiple felony charges, from domestic battery and child neglect to her latest and most serious yet — criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon (a machete, specifically).
TMZ reported that the 29-year-old could be booted off the reality show if convicted of that specific felony charge, for which she was arrested July 5. Portwood was also charged with two counts of domestic battery in connection with a dispute involving her boyfriend, Andrew Glennon. According to court documents, Portwood allegedly wielded a machete, striking it at a door Glennon was standing behind with their 1-year-old son, James. Glennon has since filed for emergency custody of the boy.
As court proceedings unfold, the cable television network has yet to issue an official statement. But MTV has mostly stood behind Portwood and other “Teen Mom” stars throughout their tumultuous legal histories: Portwood was charged with felony domestic battery and child neglect in 2010, which investigators say was prompted by her on-camera brawls with her former partner. In 2012, she also served about 17 months in prison for a felony drug charge.
After those incidents, Portwood managed to resume her role on the show, on which she discussed her struggles with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. But this latest charge is different: Portwood could be found guilty of recklessly placing Glennon and her son in harm’s way.
In recent months, the network has shown no mercy toward troublesome co-stars. In May, MTV abruptly cut ties with former “Teen Mom 2” star Jenelle Evans after her husband, David Eason, reportedly shot and killed her dog for attacking their 2-year-old daughter. (Eason was fired February 2018 for posting derogatory tweets about gay and transgender people.)
While Evans ultimately defended her husband’s actions, MTV said it had “no plans to cover her story in the upcoming season.” Evans, too, has a history of arrests and legal run-ins, some of which were caught on camera: Last July, the network televised video of the 27-year-old reaching for a handgun while confronting an aggressive driver — while her 8-year-old son sat in the passenger seat.
No arrests were made, but the severity of Evans’s actions indicates how much the show’s producers are willing to tolerate the stars’ on-camera behaviors, typically with minimal interference.
“Teen Mom OG” is now in its eighth season, and “Teen Mom 2” has wrapped up its ninth. But the interpersonal drama playing out on-screen is only a small portion of the franchise’s latest and most shocking headlines. Viewers of reality television demand spectacle, and the show’s producers have a tendency to narrow its focus on specific story lines; “Teen Mom” star Maci Bookout recently complained that her family life was not accurately portrayed on the show this season.
Recently, however, its most dramatic — and questionable — scenes have not been caught on camera. Evans used the show’s platform in January to clarify rumors that her husband, Eason, assaulted her, after a 911 call in October led to Evans’s hospitalization. Meanwhile, Portwood has remained under the radar, skipping a “Teen Mom” season reunion filming this weekend in New York City.