It's a thin line between misbehavior that's acceptable on a reality show and misbehavior that's acceptable in real life. Teen Mom's Amber Portwood might have crossed it.
E! News confirms that the 20-year-old mother-turned-cover girl is currently under investigation for domestic violence charges involving baby daddy Gary Shirley after MTV's cameras caught her kicking, punching and knocking his head against a wall.
In front of their nearly 2-year-old daughter, Leah.
Though the incident in question took place roughly six months ago, the episode featuring the disturbing footage only aired this week, thus launching an investigation by Indiana's Anderson police. Child Protective Services is also reportedly looking into the situation.
"Due to the fact the couple was out of town for the past three weeks, we have not been able to interview either party," spokesman Mitch Carroll told E! News. "The situation gets complicated because the incident happened six months ago, but we just received the complaint when the episode aired.
"The couple returned home several days ago and we are hoping to talk to Amber and Gary soon. At that point, we will know our direction and launch a formal investigation."
And that's where it could get serious. In additional to the potential misdemeanor assault and/or battery charges that could result, in the state of Indiana, engaging in any domestic violence in front of a child under the age of 14 is considered a felony.
The duo's toddler is clearly seen to be in the same room with the couple, watching, as the violence goes down.
And that's not all. Should the district attorney decide to make an example of Portwood's case, the various crew members present filming the encounter could face misdemeanors for their failure to report the domestic violence attacks.
Amber herself has already opened up about her violent behavior, discussing the incident with Dr. Drew Pinsky on the reunion show this week. She said that she had "whited out" and only remembered hitting Shirley once, not over and over as seen in the footage.
(Somewhat regrettably, she also talked openly over the summer about her newfound love of martial arts.)
Whatever the case, maybe she should do a few less tearful, on-camera interviews with MTV, and a few more honest, off-camera ones with police.
No charges have yet been filed. There's also no word yet on Life & Style's sigh-inducing report that Portwood is expecting her second child.