How Teen Mom's Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley Went From Archenemies to Lifelong Allies

MTV reality stars share a daughter named Leah together

By Mike Vulpo Jun 10, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Amber Portwood Considers Ex Gary Shirley Part of the Family

Regardless of the past, Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley are and always will be family.

From the very beginning of Teen Mom, the two MTV stars have been an open book when it comes to their relationship.

Back in season one of the reality show, the couple was engaged but constantly fighting over a wide variety of issues. Disagreements, tension and a nasty breakup would soon follow all under the public eye. But fast-forward 10 years later and the pair can confidently say that things are in a much better place.

"Honestly, it's really good. It's like he's just part of the family," Amber shared with E! News ahead of tonight's two-hour Teen Mom OG season premiere. "I think when I started looking at him like that, it really made things easier. He was the same. He had to look at me that way too and now we're always in each other's lives because of Leah."

She added, "And we take vacations together. We're going to take another one soon."

Their current relationship is a huge contrast from what viewers witnessed just a couple of years ago. Whether it was on the small screen or on social media, both parties found themselves talking bad about the other.

Back in January 2018, Amber went on Twitter and expressed her disapproval of the comments made by Gary and his wife Kristina Shirley.

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"Make sure to watch Gary and Kristina tonight talking s--t about me! It must be hard making money off of me! Being such a bad mom and all," she wrote. "Where would they be? a 1 bedroom shack in the ghetto of Anderson where he was before I got out and the show came back on!! Ignorant!"

And just a couple of months later, an episode of Teen Mom aired where Gary spoke candidly about his ex's past that included a five-year jail sentence stemming from drug possession charges. 

"I can't take a break. Millions of parents can't take a break because they had a bad day at work or because they got a divorce. I did not make her snort a pill," he told Kristina. "I did not make her take a pill. I did not make her do drugs. I did not make her go to prison."

This time, however, immediately after the episode aired, Gary expressed regret at the words he shared.

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"@AmberLPortwood I know we have overcome a lot since tonights episode was filmed however, I feel horrible for the things I've said in tonights episode & probably next weeks as well. I'm sorry & I want to continue to strengthen the co-parenting relationship we have. Plz forgive me," he pleaded on social media. "@AmberLPortwood You're my baby Mama & even if I'm given a reason to be upset with you I should still respect you. I'm not perfect and I never will be. I want your time with baby James to be precious and I don't wanna bring you down from this joyful time in your life. Again sorry."

That mindset only continued as Amber moved on with boyfriend Andrew Glennon and got pregnant with their own child. If Amber was faced with critics, it was Gary who was quick to defend his ex on social.


"We all have made mistakes & we are trying to learn from them," Gary shared on Twitter. "Amber don't let anyone get to you, not even me. Just continue to enjoy being pregnant. This baby is a blessing for you. I know you'll make everyone proud. Maybe if your lucky @krissyK01 & I can baby sit sometime. :)))."

When it was time to plan their daughter's birthday parties, Gary and Amber came together. And when big life moments came about like Gary searching for his biological father, Amber was there to support.

So what was the turning point in the relationship? While it's hard to mark one day or one event, Amber says time was the best recipe to a cordial dynamic.

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"It definitely took a while but I think people just have to grow and be mature and they'll figure it out in the end," Amber shared with E! News.

Co-star Catelynn Baltierra added, "It's so cool to see that too—people able to co-parent in a healthy way and get along. It's so important for the kids."

Jackson Lee / Brian Prahl

As for Amber's relationship with Gary's wife, they go to "mommy and me" bingo together and have fun. And believe it or not, the Never Too Late author revealed to Us Weekly that her son with Andrew refers to Gary as "Uncle Gary."

"It was good to feel like you're able to mesh that life together because it's hard when you have a new partner," she explained to the publication. "Everybody gets along so it's great."

To watch more of Amber and Gary's dynamic, watch a new season of Teen Mom OG airing Monday nights at 9 p.m. only on MTV.