Teen Mom's Maci Bookout and Taylor McKinney Reveal the Biggest Struggle in Their 7-Year Marriage

A decade into their romance, Teen Mom's Maci Bookout told E! News she still thinks husband Taylor McKinney is "cool as s--t." But the busy parents admit they still grapple with one major issue.

By Sarah Grossbart Apr 13, 2024 4:00 PMTags
Watch: Teen Mom's Taylor Selfridge Gives Update on Daughter Maya's Health

Flying off to Colombia to film the third season of MTV's Teen Mom: Family ReunionMaci Bookout and husband Taylor McKinney had visions of Aguardiente cocktails dancing in their heads. 

"Truth be told, walking into it, I was like, Oh, great, we get to be away from the kids, be with each other and hang out with our friends," Maci admitted to E! News in an exclusive interview. "Like, it's a vacation. I'm not sure we were expecting all of the work we were going to have to do when we got there." 

Because while their time in South America did include a few tipples and time spent with castmates Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra, Jade Cline and husband Sean Austin plus Cheyenne Floyd and her husband Zach Davis, it also came with a healthy serving of homework.

And 12 years after the Texas motocross racer, 34, connected with the strong AF single mom from Tennessee (the 32-year-old shares 15-year-old son Bentley with her high school ex Ryan Edwards), they're still trying to ace the same tough subject. 

Teen Mom Stars: Then and Now

"I think the main thing was communication, for sure," admitted Maci of their top struggle. "And honestly, it still is. I feel like we're still working on what a healthy communication routine looks like. And who's to say we ever solve it? Because we're both hustlers, we're go-getters, we're stubborn, we're competitive, we're strong-minded. So that might be something that is just there forever. But I think as long as we're continuously trying to figure out the best way to do it, that's a win."

Maci Bookout/Instagram

More than seven years into their marriage, the pair have drawn up the right plays to navigate parenting Bentley, plus their daughter Jayde, 8, and son Maverick, 7. 

"We work really well together as a team especially with three different kids going in three different directions all the time," explained Taylor. "We just make it work. And then we get a little bit of alone time when they go to bed where we get to sit down on the couch and watch TV."

But when it comes to discussing anything deeper than their latest binge-watch, they're still a bit of a work in progress. 

"You change so much as you grow up," noted Maci. "So just because we figured something out this year doesn't mean in four years as we're evolving that we're not going to hit that again. So as long as we're just doing something every day and working on the same team, not against each other, I think we'll be just fine."

One sound strategy they've developed is celebrating every play, not just the small victories. 

With three school-aged kids at home, "We're just doing the best that we can," explained Maci. "And I think we both understand that a lot of each of us has to go toward more of the family than each other. But I've also realized that you've got to take advantage of the small wins. And the small windows, too." 

Which means that a night on the couch can feel just as romantic as a fancy AF dinner. 

Even taking 10 minutes to reconnect "you can gain the same thing that you can in a date night," insisted Maci. "So it's small wins, small windows go a very, very long way."

And no matter what happens, they always remember that they share a dugout, so to speak. 

"We have this thing we say, it's like, we root for the home team," said Maci. "So even sometimes when we do feel like we're opponents, it's no, we root for the home team."

And whenever they feel all the carpooling, homework-overseeing and the millions of other things it takes to successfully run a family has them hitting a boiling point, agreed Taylor, "I think we do a good job of taking a step back and being like, 'Hey, we're on the same team.'" 

Instagram / Maci Bookout

But, also, date nights are pretty clutch. 

Filming in Colombia, for instance, "really helped us reset," said Taylor. "That gave us the time to reconnect." 

And also to remember that their 2016 rustic Florida vows happened for a reason. 

"I was like, 'Man, we haven't spent time just the two of us together in a long time, are we still going to like each other when there's no distraction? When there's no place to be or thing to do?'" admitted Maci of getting so much unfettered alone time. "And I feel like that was the reset button because I was like, 'Hell yeah, I'd hang out with this guy every day, he's great!' So for me, it was like, we're definitely still there. I really like him, not just as a dad or just as a husband, I just like hanging out with him."


She considers it a souvenir from the experience. 

"When I came home, I'm like, 'He's cool as s--t. I'd hang out with him all the time, kids or no kids,'" shared Maci. "I felt like that's what I gained from it, even though that I didn't necessarily know that's what I was looking for." 

And she's not the only Teen Mom cast member to have found what she didn't know she was seeking. Check out the rest of the MTV stars who have settled down with their perfect person

Catelynn Lowell & Tyler Baltierra

Viewers watched Catelynn Lowell and now-husband Tyler Baltierra make the difficult choice to place their first daughter, Carly, for adoption, in 2009 on the inaugural season of 16 and Pregnant. After 13 years together, the fan-favorite couple wed in August 2015 and have since had three more daughters: Novalee, Vaeda and Rya.

While the absence of Carly—who lives with her adoptive parents, Brandon and Teresa Davis—still aches 14 years later, the couple live for their meetups. "The girls love her," Catelynn told E! News of her younger daughters' reaction to Carly. "It's pretty awesome to be able to witness it. And we're blessed that we do have an open adoption to be able to witness it. It's truly a blessing to be able to watch all of these things over the years."

Maci Bookout & Ryan Edwards

Together less than six months when she got pregnant, viewers saw Maci Bookout struggle with an irresponsible Ryan Edwards on 16 and Pregnant. Though they got engaged, the high school sweethearts split less than a year after their son Bentley was born in 2008.

These days they're focused on building a coparenting relationship. "We're in a good place," Maci revealed to E! News in 2023, adding that Ryan is showing up "more consistently now than maybe he ever has before."

Maci Bookout & Taylor McKinney

Maci found her forever teammate in Texan Taylor McKinney in 2012, the pair soon building up their squad. They welcomed daughter Jayde in May 2015 and son Maverick a year later, then wed in Florida that October. 

Partners in parenting, life and their TTM Lifestyle fashion brand, "He's just my person," she told E! News in 2023. "Even when we've had a rough year together, I think at the end of the day, I still choose him. I like him. And even if I want to punch him in the face sometimes, I'd rather argue with him or have a rough patch with him than never have a rough patch with anybody else." 

Cheyenne Floyd & Cory Wharton

Despite moving on with new significant others, the MTV stars, who connected while filming The Challenge, continue to coparent their daughter Ryder together.

"Our biggest thing since day one of Cory coming into Ryder's life was what kind of dad he wanted to be and what kind of parent he wanted to be," Cheyenne explained to E! News in March 2020. "I wasn't going to allow him to be a Disneyland dad or an Instagram dad or just in the moment. He had to be 100 percent. I think from the beginning, he saw my mindset and appreciated it so that's why we coparent so well."

Cheyenne Floyd & Zach Davis

After their romance ended in 2018, the pair decided to give their relationship a second chance. While celebrating her 28th birthday, Cheyenne confirmed on Instagram that she was back with Zach. In May 2021, the couple welcomed their first child together, son Ace, and got married in September 2022. 

"They are very in tune in such a natural way," Maci Bookout told E! News. "They just go together so smoothly and individually, they're awesome to be around but together, they are a blast. And they are always down for anything."

Cory Wharton & Taylor Selfridge

Connecting while filming Ex on the Beach may not sound like the start of a love story, but more than six years and two kids—daughters Mila and Maya—later, Cory and Are You the One? alum Taylor Selfridge are still making waves. 

"We just bought a house," he shared with E! News in 2023, before bringing up that, yes, he's aware that people want to know when they're getting married. "It's definitely being talked about. We have everything but the ring and me just letting her know. Taylor deserves that and it's something that I want and she wants. Right now we're just taking steps to get there."

Ryan Edwards & Mackenzie Standifer

Testing the limits of for-better-or-for-worse, Ryan checked into rehab not long after he married girlfriend Mackenzie Standifer in May 2017, with her giving birth to their first son Jagger in 2018 while Ryan was still in treatment.

Though the pair would welcome daughter Stella in January 2020, Mackenzie filed for divorce three years later. 

Amber Portwood & Gary Shirley

While their very contentious romance came to an end for good in 2013, the couple have since worked out a way to successfully coparent their now-teenage daughter Leah

"We have fun together but at a distance," Amber told E! News in January 2022. "But our relationship is good. It's a family now so we treat it as a family more than anything else." 

Amber Portwood & Matt Baier

After several years together, a proposal and one unsuccessful stint on Marriage Boot Camp, Amber and Boston transplant Matt Baier called off their engagement in 2017. 

"Honestly, you just get to a point when you're done hearing things and you just start to not care in a relationship and I think that's what started happening to me and him," Amber revealed on Dr. Drew Pinsky's podcast later that year. "I started not to care anymore about the relationship like you should. I put a wall up so I wouldn't get hurt again pretty much."

Amber Portwood & Andrew Glennon

Amber did find love while filming Marriage Boot Camp—connecting with crew member Andrew Glennon while on set. The pair made their debut as a couple at the 2017 MTV Movie Awards and in May 2018, Amber gave birth to the couple's first child, James.

But the couple separated not long after Amber was arrested for domestic battery in July 2019. After a contentious court battle, California native Andrew was awarded sole legal and primary physical custody of their son in 2022. 

"I've worked so hard to better myself and improve my relationships with my children," the Teen Mom star told E! News at the time. "While I've always been candid about my past substance abuse and struggles with mental illness, a person should have the chance to redeem themselves and not be tethered to their problems from the past."

Determined not to give up, she added, "If your road has not been perfect, but you've worked hard to become a better, more stable and caring person today, keep moving forward as I will. I'll never stop fighting for my children who I love more than anything."

Amber Portwood & Dimitri Garcia

After meeting Amber on the Internet, Dimitri Garcia made his Teen Mom OG debut in April 2020. "Dimitri is from Belgium. He's 39 so he's 10 years older than me. But he's a very handsome man," Amber shared on the show. "I started opening up to him and we decided we should meet since we like each other."

In April 2021, Amber revealed on the Teen Mom OG reunion special that she was still dating Dimitri. "We've known each other now for 18 months," she explained. "But I haven't seen him in a year though." Though the pair struggled with not being able to physically see each other during the pandemic, they are reportedly still talking

Gary Shirley & Kristina Anderson

Months after Gary and now-wife Kristina Anderson welcomed daughter Emilee in April 2015, they wed in a sweet beach ceremony. 

"You are one of the most beautiful souls I know," Gary wrote in a 2022 Instagram post. "I don’t know how I would do this without you."

Farrah Abraham & Derek Underwood

The father of Farrah Abraham's daughter Sophia died in an accident two months prior to her birth in December 2008.

Farrah Abraham & Simon Saran

Her first serious relationship since the death of her high school boyfriend, Farrah dated real estate agent Simon Saran on and off for over two years.

Though their 2017 split got ugly (as in cease-and-desist ugly), the two gave a stab at trying to remain friends. Sorta.

"I have no hard feelings against Farrah," Simon told E! News at the time. "We are just from two different worlds. She likes the fake life, I want what's real. I wish the best for her and much success in all of her future endeavors."

Jenelle Evans & Andrew Lewis

Jenelle Evans and Andrew Lewis, parents to now-teenage Jace, split not long after his 2009 birth, with the model having no involvement in his son's life. 

“I do feel bad because that’s Jace's dad," Jenelle reflected on a 2019 episode of Teen Mom 2. "But I know how he is, and I don’t want him to disappoint my son. I don’t want [him] to pop back in and then pop back out."

Jenelle Evans & David Eason

After a one-year marriage to Courtland Rogers, and having her second child, Kaiser, with ex-boyfriend Nathan Griffin in 2014, Jenelle wed David Eason on their North Carolina property in September 2017, eight months after they welcomed their daughter Ensley.

After a particularly rocky stretch saw David charged with a child abuse misdemeanor involving Jace (at the time, Jenelle likened it to a "smear campaign"), Jenelle revealed they had separated. "I would've skipped straight to divorce but I couldn't because in the state of North Carolina, you have to be legally separated for a year," she explained on social media, "and you have to prove you have two separate addresses."

Chelsea Houska & Adam Lind

Remember the charmer who asked then-girlfriend Chelsea Houska when he could "sign the papers over for that mistake"?

Completely in the rearview. 

Against all odds, the Teen Mom star-turned-HGTV personality has a somewhat copacetic relationship with her high school ex Adam Lind, mom to her eldest daughter Aubree. “There’s no bad vibes and it’s just a very open relationship," she told Us Weekly. "There’s no bad feelings. We see him sometimes and it’s totally fine."

Chelsea Houska & Cole DeBoer

What began as a meet-cute at a gas station in 2014 became forever when the pair wed in October 2016. After welcoming son Watson in 2017 and daughters Layne and Walker in 2018 and 2021, respectively, the pair launched a new joint project: Their HGTV series Down Home Fab

"If we were going to come back to TV, I wanted it to be something lighthearted, feel good and be able to show our authentic selves," Chelsea explained to E! News, sharing why this move felt "so right." As she put it, "This was just such a cool opportunity to do that."

Leah Messer & Corey Simms

Though then-high schooler Leah Messer and Corey Simms fought to turn their friendship into a forever family, the parents to now-teenage twins Aleeah and Aliannah filed for divorce six months after their October 2010 wedding

Corey has been married to Miranda Patterson since 2013.

Leah Messer & Jeremy Calvert

Leah went on to wed pipeliner Jeremy Calvert in 2012, the couple welcoming daughter Adalynn the next year.

Though they split in 2015, they have made an effort to coparent their daughter. "I'm looking at a complete, better version of myself," Leah told E! News of her girls. "And seeing everything that they love and enjoy doing, and being able to support them in their lives and be a part of it is magical. I love it. I love being a mom, especially a girl mama."

Leah Messer & Jaylan Mobley

By the time Leah went Instagram official with Jaylan Mobley in 2021, the United States Army officer had already charmed her and her daughters. 

The couple announced their engagement in August 2022, but broke up that October. 

"I needed that breakup," the Teen Mom star confessed to E! News a year later. "I've learned a lot from my last breakup and, moving forward, I do feel like my life is just beginning." 

Kailyn Lowry & Jo Rivera

Kailyn Lowry was just 17 when she and high school boyfriend Jo Rivera welcomed their eldest son, Isaac, in 2010.

And though they split a year later, they've since settled into a comfortable coparenting arrangement, Kailyn even hosting her Baby Mamas No Drama podcast with Jo's wife Vee Torres. "We’ve come a long way since we were 18," Kailyn wrote on X after attending Jo and Vee's 2018 wedding. "I couldn’t ask for a better stepmom for isaac." 

Kailyn Lowry & Javi Marroquin

Kailyn's second son Lincoln joined the squad in November 2013, roughly a year after the then-star of Teen Mom 2 wed his father Javi Marroquin

Splitting in late 2016, their relationship has been rocky at times, with Javi and girlfriend Lauren Comeau—already parents to son Eli—announcing in December 2023 that they were expecting their second child together, a girl.  

Kailyn Lowry & Chris Lopez

Though Kailyn welcomed sons Lux and Creed with boyfriend Chris Lopez during their on-and-off romance, they eventually called it quits for good. 

"Right now, we don't communicate at all," she revealed to E! News in 2020. "I'm hoping that it will get better with time but I don't have a big vision. I don't have anything negative to say. I hope for our kids that everything works itself out in whatever direction that may be." 

Kailyn Lowry & Elijah Scott

With current boyfriend Elijah Scott, Kailyn finally feels she has a strong foundation. "It's been very different from my other partners and my kids' other dads," she told People of Elijah, dad to her son Rio and twins Verse and Valley. "He pours concrete, he gets down and dirty at work. But he's also just a real family man. He's very, very much connected with his own family, with our family, and so he's been a really good partner to me, and I feel like it's a really good match."

But she's not ready to head down the aisle just yet. "He's been pushing for it," admitted Kailyn. "But I've already kind of done marriage once and I f--ked it up royally. So I'm a little hesitant."

Jade Cline & Sean Austin

Though Indiana-based Jade Cline and Sean Austin had more than their share of ups and down since welcoming daughter Kloie in 2017, in January 2022 Jade teased to fans that they were on the rise. 

"There were some major, major things that happened with our lives and major improvements that happen with Sean's life as well and with his future," she told E! News. "I'm really proud of him and where we are today." Eight months later, the pair announced their engagement, marrying in October 2023. 

"I know for sure my relationship isn't always perfect," Jade told E! News in 2024. "But we love each other and we make it work."

Ashley Siren & Bar Smith

California natives Ashley Jones and Bar Smith wed in 2021—four years after they welcomed daughter Holly. And while the pair has publicly called off their romance several times, they still appear to be together. 

Briana DeJesus & Devoin Austin II

Years after 16 and Pregnant star Briana DeJesus and Devoin Austin II welcomed their daughter Nova in 2011, they flirted with giving their romance another shot. 

These days, however, Briana told E! News in 2024, "I want a man man, I don't want a little boy that I've been so used to dating back in the past."

Briana DeJesus & Luis Miguel

After starring on the single season of Teen Mom 3, Briana joined the cast of Teen Mom 2 in its eighth season, and gave birth to her second daughter, Stella, with ex-boyfriend Luis Miguel, on July 2017.

Since then, Luis' involvement has been spotty at best. "I think he wants a family with me," Briana explained to Dr. Drew in a December 2019 Teen Mom 2 episode, "and since I'm not giving that to him, he just wants to stay away completely."

Briana DeJesus & John Rodriguez

Shortly after celebrating their one-year anniversary at a tropical destination in 2019, Briana called it quits with then-boyfriend John Rodriguez

To put it bluntly, she shared in an episode of the MTV hit, she simply stopped loving him. "It sucks because I kicked him to the curb," she noted, "but he didn't fight to be with me either. I wanted him to fight for me but he didn't."

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