When “Teen Mom” star Amber Portwood volunteered to serve a five-year jail sentence, she said it was in the hopes that she would get off drugs and become a better mother to her 3-year-old daughter Leah. But in her first interview since she was locked up on June 5, the 22-year-old reveals she has yet to see the child because her ex-boyfriend Gary Shirley has not filed the necessary paperwork – even though she has sent it to him twice. “I try to give him excuses,” Portwood tells Dr. Drew Pinsky in an MTV special, “Amber Behind Bars,” which airs October 9. “In my head I say, ‘Maybe he just can’t handle it’ or ‘Maybe he doesn’t want Leah to cry.’”
According to Shirley, the little girl doesn’t even know where her mother really is. “I haven’t been able to say to her, that her ‘Mommy’s in jail,’” he tells In Touch Weekly. “When I tried to tell her, ‘Mommy’s in trouble,’ she got upset. So, I’ve said, ‘Mommy’s at work,’ or ‘Mommy’s on vacation.’”
But although Portwood hasn’t seen her daughter, she has talked to her on the phone – which has been just as heartbreaking for the reality star. Shirley, 25, says that Leah will tell her mom, “‘I miss you. When can I see you?’ She actually said, ‘Can I come over to your house?’ I don’t really think Leah understands at all.”
Shirley, who is unemployed, also opened up to the magazine about his struggle to be both mom and dad to Leah as Portwood serves her sentence at Indiana’s Rockville Correctional Facility. “I’m doing the best I can,” he says. “The last time I cried was two weeks ago. It’s so important to have help with Leah, and people aren’t always there. It’s very frustrating.”
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