Amber Portwood: “I Lost My Whole Family”

Amber Portwood was sentenced to serve a five-year prison term earlier this week and now the troubled Teen Mom star has spoken out about her drug addiction, attempted overdose and mental issues.

"I took 30 Suboxone within three days," Amber tells ABC News on Wednesday (June 6) in a jailhouse interview. "The depression took over. I'd just take four to five at a time underneath my tongue, and nod out. I had more than addiction problems. I had, you know, mental problems, too."

Amber Portwood was sentenced to serve a five-year prison term earlier this week and now the troubled Teen Mom star has spoken out about her drug addiction, attempted overdose and mental issues.

“I took 30 Suboxone within three days,” Amber tells ABC News on Wednesday (June 6) in a jailhouse interview. “The depression took over. I’d just take four to five at a time underneath my tongue, and nod out. I had more than addiction problems. I had, you know, mental problems, too.”

“I had been at such a low point, I couldn’t go any lower,” she continues. “There’s nothing lower than trying to kill yourself. That’s why it’s probably hard to understand why I did what I did.”

“But when you mentally know that, you’re not right. You’re 22, and you tried to take your life twice. And you’re 22, and you’re still here, you don’t want to mess that up.”

Amber was jailed last December in connection with a felony drug possession and cut a deal to avoid her five-year sentence behind bars by agreeing to complete a drug program and regular court-ordered drug testing.

However, after failing to comply with the drug tests and being picked up on May 10th by authorities, Amber was released a week later – only to turn herself in on May 25th telling the judge she’s a “bad girl” who “couldn’t stand” complying with the terms of her drug program.

“In my situation, I felt in the program there were a lot of eyes on me,” she reveals. “And it was very uncomfortable. I was not using my anti-psych medication even.”

“You know, I was very depressed, all alone, all bitter at everybody,” she adds.

“I felt like that wasn’t the life I wanted to live, I felt like I’d rather do my time, and get it over with, and make the best out of the situation that’s been handed to me.”

Gary Shirley – the father of Amber’s 3-year-old daughter Leah – has held custody of their daughter because of Amber’s arrests, stint in rehab and subsequent jail sentence.

“I felt like I had no reason to even be around, because I was a mom.” she says. “I felt like that’s what I was put on this Earth to do, when I had her … and I started partying and doing drugs because I felt like I couldn’t do anything anymore. I lost my whole family, I felt like, they moved away from me.”

“I lived such a busy life and I woke up sometimes and was like, am I too busy for my family? And I felt so selfish. I was so depressed. It became kind of scary for me,” she continues. “I felt the same way I felt a couple years back when I, you know, tried to commit suicide. When I walked in a courtroom, I was like, if I don’t do something, I’m going to have to.”

Amber hopes that by entering prison long-term, she will finally be able to turn her life around for the better.

“You want to be free. Who doesn’t? But you know if you can’t do it, if you can’t do it, why are you kidding yourself?” she comments.

“I’m going to take some classes, I’m going to get my GED, take as many programs as I can. You know, just try to better myself for when I do get out and not stay in prison … I’ll be off the drugs, I’ll have an education to get me a job, you have to think of the positives in this negative story.”

And while Amber takes responsibility for the direction her life has taken, she does attribute some of the hardships to being on a hit MTV show like Teen Mom.

“Getting money at a young age, going to parties where drugs were given to you, that’s what really got me. … You make your own choices,” she reveals.

“It’s like every time you go out to eat, you know, people are staring at you, talking, and it’s hard. You get paranoid … It’s not normal, to always be paranoid.”

Filed under: Amber Portwood

Photo credit: Bauer Griffin

  • Adrienne

    She sounds like a mess, poor girl. Im glad that she can and has finally recognized that she is not in control of her life. Boy, is Leah cute! Here’s hoping for the best…. And also. Mtv. WAKE UP and please realize that exploiting teen moms isn’t good for them… Their choice or not, since they got pregnant at 15 clearly they don’t make the best decision……..

  • Anabelle

    Every time she further screws up her own life and that of her daughter, she then immediately goes out and tries to make out she’s such a victim and needs the sympathy vote. She’s such a despicable person.

    • Kathy

      I have no sympathy for Amber what so ever! She is totally despicable, and plays the victim!! Amber is psychotic and violent!

  • AJ

    She needs to not do media interviews and just focus on getting through her term, getting clean, getting an education, bettering herself, mend her relationships (especially with Leah) and just… stay out of the public eye. She made the choices she did, now she must face the consequences. I really do feel for her as it doesn’t sound like she has ever had a stable life and I genuinely hope she can turn herself around, but I also genuinely feel like doing these interviews is only detrimental. All the best to her, Gary, and Leah, and I hope she means it when she says she wants to get back on track.

  • Amy

    I think she has finally realized that by half assing it, she is not going to get better. For some people it really takes hitting rock bottom to make them want to truly, deep down inside, want to change.

    For any of those that wonder why she didn’t do the outpatient thing, you need to understand a few things. There is still a lot of freedom with outpatient. Unless you are actually living in a treatment facility, not able to leave and being tested daily, you can still get drugs. There are some people that do the time at a treatment center and then leave and go right back to drugs. Statistics show that for the vast majority of people who are addicts, it takes many times before the treatment actually works and they stay clean.

    I hope that Amber really does what she has spoken of and gets her life in order. I think the confinement of jail and her determination to make it work will help her succeed this time.


    Its amazing to me when they want to help these girls they only put themselves in more danger. Now she is goi ng to prison instead of rehab. Not the smartest choice. This show only shows the harm they do to these kids. Get help with while in jail maybe just maybe you will be healthy when you get out.

    • Anonymous

      Rehab is voluntary, jail is not. For someone who can’t stop using, rehab is going to be useless because she can walk out anytime.

  • Anonymous

    Happy to see that she realized she needed some serious help for her behavior. Hopefully this is a wake up call for her. Although I highly doubt she will do the entire 5 years. She sounds like is in a good place. I hope to god she will change her behavior.

  • Alexandra

    I feel so bad for her. I think she is not trying to portray herself as a victim, but rather she probably thinks everyone hates her….Poor girl….I wish her the best. It was obvious she was not well.

  • doni

    So this idiot would rather not see her daughter for 5 years than just grow up and complete a rehab program? Smart choice…

    • Anonymous

      You clearly don’t understand addiction.

    • Amber

      I don’t get how Amber thinks prison will help her better than rehab. I would think being locked up would make it so much more stressful.. and drugs are easy to find in prison I’d think. I wonder how long she can go without seeing Leah.. knowing she cannot checkout of prison for 5 years.. it has to hit her sooner or later.. and the depression will hit hard! Leah will be what 7 or 8 by the time she gets out. Not the smartest choice!

  • Anonymous

    That child needs to be with her father, period. With no visitation. Sometimes best interest of the child trumps mother’s rights. Just because you have ovaries doesn’t mean you have the right to see your child no matter your behavior. Sometimes instability is more detrimental to a child than never seeing the mother (or father) at all.

    • Kathy

      I agree with you 100%… Leah will be one messed up child if she were to be around Amber! Amber needs major help with not only her addiction but with her temper… she is violent, the farthest from being a stable mother or stable person period!!

  • Anonymous

    I blame Gary. He drove me crazy toooo!!!

  • Urface

    Her bad makeup drive me to drink

  • Anonymous

    IDK, She’s choosing to be away from her daughter for 5 years for choosing prision. Although that’s probably for the best… that’s messed up and selfish.

  • Psychbackground

    Amber’s problems are not due to her being a bad person, she is a product of her upbringing and her environment. She loves Leah, but addiction will trump even the strongest love. It’s a disease, she’s not thinking right. Her decision to do her time rather than be out in the public eye is actually the most unselfish thing she’s done.

  • Anonymous

    I just feel bad for that poor kid. She has had an unstable environment during a fairly critical development time. I hope Gary can give Leah a stable environment.

    • Kathy

      I think Gary can give Leah a stable environment to grow up in. His mother seems to be a very stable person as well! I’m sorry to say it but even Ambers mom and dad seem a bit unstable in ways.. although I’m sure they love Leah… but from the start they seemed to distance themselves and bad mouth Garys family… you’d think they at least would put their differences aside for the sake of Leah!

  • a&O

    yo this girl is MESSED UP. I thought so ever since i saw the first episode. Never was fit to be a mother. Never was fit to even be in a successful relationship. She’d rather go to jail for 5 years than be with her family? Yet she says she lost her whole family? She’s only owning up because she has no choice. She’ll end up being even more of a deadbeat mom than she is now, which is hard to do. All I gotta say is WOW

    • Amber

      No Amber never was a fit mother nor a fit person to be in any kind of relationship. Amber is so lucky Gary never hit her back.. I have never heard of anyone willing to put up with abuse like that(physical ,mental, and verbal).. and not lash back(The physical) especially…. and how does she figure 5 years in prison will be better than rehab? Definately MESSED UP!!! I’m sorry but I have no pity for Amber.. everything that has happened she has done to herself! Poor Leah!!

  • Bri

    Its such a sad thing. Ambers situation has been glorified by a television show. Her instability used for ratings. So many young mothers in north america and Teen Mom makes it “cool”. I feel so sorry for Amber, her daughter, Gary and both of their families. I hope one day she is able to be the mother that she wants to be

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