Teen Mom's Amber Portwood Talks About Suicide Attempt and Why She Opted for Prison

Troubled MTV starlet opens up for the first time about why she contemplated taking her own life and how being behind bars may be the best place she could be

By Josh Grossberg Jun 07, 2012 3:31 PMTags
Amber PortwoodSplash News

Don't cry for Amber Portwood. It turns out she's looking forward to the slammer—because it just may save her life.

Giving her first jailhouse interview since being sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for violating her probation, the Teen Mom star revealed to ABC News that she recently attempted suicide by overdosing on a drug used to treat opioid withdrawal.

She also explained why she thinks doing the time she was originally handed by an Indiana judge instead of completing a drug treatment program will actually be better for her.

"I took 30 Suboxone [pills] within three days," said Portwood, talking about how her life hit the skids while starring on the hit MTV series.

She was subsequently hospitalized after baby daddy Gary Shirley called 911 and reported that she threatened to kill herself.

"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," she noted. "I had, you know, mental problems, too."

Quite a few of these issues were chronicled on Teen Mom, a spinoff from MTV's 16 and Pregnant, which first introduced her to television viewers.

In Portwood's view, the sudden fame associated with being a reality star and having her personal struggles play out in front of the cameras contributed to an unhealthy situation when the 22-year-old entered rehab and prevented her from truly getting back on track.

"In my situation, I felt in the program there were a lot of eyes on me. And it was uncomfortable," admitted Amber. "I was not using my anti-psych medication even."

She later added, "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."

Consequently, Portwood has no regrets about voluntarily leaving drug treatment in favor of prison, where she believes her incarceration will help her to focus on her recovery.

"You know, I was very depressed, all alone, all bitter at everybody. 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," she said.

Shirley now has custody of their 3-year-old daughter, Leah.

But the erstwhile reality star plans to make most of her time behind bars.

"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," she said.

We wish her well.