With Amber Portwood behind bars and Jenelle Evans posting bail for her second arrest in a week, I have to wonder, were these Teen Moms destined to end up behind bars regardless of their reality fame? Or is the spotlight of MTV cameras, and their subsequent tabloid fame, the real reason these girls end up in the slammer over and over again?
Both Portwood and Evans have their fair share of problems that would exist even if they were just teen moms and not MTV Teen Moms. Yet, if you take a look at their criminal records and the charges they've been busted on, it's clear that if cameras weren't rolling, and their faces weren't plastered all over tabloid magazines, they probably would have never been arrested in the first place.
Portwood's criminal history first began in November 2010, when she was charged with three counts of domestic violence for abusing baby-daddy Gary Shirley. Yet the sad truth is had MTV cameras not been rolling when Portwood attacked Shirley, she likely never would have been arrested. Shirley did not report the abuse to police or press charges. It was only after MTV aired footage of the fight that Anderson, Indiana police took action.
That first arrest, and subsequent investigation by Child Protective Services, is the root cause that has led Portwood into this downward spiral, including her June suicide attempt. She admitted in an episode of Teen Mom that because of all the media coverage of her case, she was constantly harassed in her hometown, with people driving by her home honking and yelling "you're a terrible mom." The show even chronicled her move to a new home to escape the harassment as she told a friend she was scared to be seen in public with her daughter, saying "I hate my life right now."
And now she's sitting behind bars until her January 27th hearing on charges she violated probation stemming from an arrest that likely would have never happened without MTV. The key to Portwood staying out of trouble is getting herself off the show and slowly fading back into anonymity. And Portwood has pledged to do just that, telling a judge last month she plans to quit the show that made her famous.
As for Evans, I will admit her original arrest for breaking & entering and drug possession with boyfriend Kiefer Delp in October 2010 would have happened regardless of her MTV fame. Yet her subsequent arrest in March on assault charges only occurred after a video surfaced online of Evans beating up another teen. If Evans weren't famous, I doubt Oak Island, North Carolina police would have ever seen the video. Her latest arrests come after charges she harassed and threatened her ex-roommate, Hannah Inman, and later violated a domestic violence protective order by contacting Inman. Evans' attorney claims Inman pressed charges out of retaliation. If Evans were just an anonymous teenager, I highly doubt the fight between the two girls would have escalated to the point of arrest.
No one ever said fame didn't come without a price. And for these teen moms, their fame also comes with lengthy criminal records and a growing collection of mugshots.