Getting emotional. Amber Portwood broke down in tears while describing her strained relationship with her 12-year-old daughter, Leah, whom she shares with ex Gary Shirley.
The reality star, 31, revealed during the Tuesday, September 14, episode of Teen Mom OG that Leah refused to go to therapy with her in an attempt to mend their relationship.
“It truly breaks my heart that Leah and I are drifting apart,” the 16 & Pregnant alum said. “For the past six years, I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist. I really think if I could go to therapy with Leah, it would bring us closer together. But Gary and [his wife] Kristina [Anderson] feel differently.”
She added, ”We’ve already talked about therapy for Leah, but Gary wasn’t for it at all. Therapy is a good thing to get you and your mother back together and having that mediator can get you to open up and understand a bit. I think she’ll be happier in life to understand a bit more of what the past was and how I am today. It’s okay to have a mom that has been through these things. You shouldn’t be ashamed about it. Therapy is something that needs to happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it because [Gary] does have primary custody of her.”
Later in the episode, Gary, 34, and his wife spoke about Leah’s hesitance to mend her relationship with the Never Too Late author.
“I talked to Leah last night about seeing if she was open to going to therapy,” Gary explained. “I know she’s against it, but I told her to think about if it’d be beneficial for her. I’m not going to sit here and make Leah go somewhere because it’ll help Amber. How can I encourage Leah to do something she doesn’t want to do if her mom’s not doing what she needs to do?”
Gary noted that his daughter is 12 now and isn’t “going to get back those years” she missed with her mother.
“If there’s going to be any kind of reuniting or reconciling, it’s going to have to be, like, Amber really dug deep and really did what she really needed to do to be the mother she needed to be,” he added. “Make sure you apologize for all the years you’ve put other people first and haven’t put your daughter first. … I want to protect Leah. I want to make sure she’s not going to get hurt.”
One week earlier, Amber detailed the mother-daughter pair’s separation.
“I haven’t seen her in quite some time,” she said in a confessional during the September 7 episode. “Leah and I are still struggling with our relationship. My relationship with Leah has changed a lot.”
The Indiana native alleged at the time that her ex-boyfriend and his wife had been keeping Leah from her. “I haven’t heard back from Gary or Leah if I can see her on Easter,” Amber said. “I feel very stressed right now. A little sad. … All I do is text Leah all the time. I don’t get anything back. Never. Not anymore.”
The MTV personality — who also shares 3-year-old son James with ex Andrew Glennon — previously promised to “make things right” with her eldest child amidst the ongoing drama.
“I know you are going through a lot and there are many things I need to do to make things right,” she captioned an Instagram tribute in April. “However, I will always love you, my beautiful daughter. Love you and Happy Easter.”
Amber’s Instagram post came one month after Leah revealed that she didn’t have a relationship with her mother.
“We don’t really have a bond like that,” Leah explained in a March episode of Teen Mom OG. “12 years and she hasn’t really done anything. That’s kind of been, like, Kristina’s spot … All she did was give birth to me.”
Teen Mom OG airs on MTV Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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