Teen Mom fans have been watching the show for 12 years. Though the cast may have changed numerous times, fans have stayed loyal to the show.
The original cast starred Farrah Abraham, Catelynn Lowell, Amber Portwood, and Maci Bookout.
Back then, the show was called 16 and Pregnant.
Now the cast of Teen Mom OG includes Mackenzie McKee, Amber Portwood, Cheyenne Floyd, Catelynn Baltierra and Maci Bookout.
There was also the addition of Teen Mom 2, which now stars Kailyn Lowry, Chelsea Houska, Briana DeJesus, Leah Messer and Jade Cline. Ashley Jones is reportedly joining the cast and of course, Jenelle Evans used to be a part of it too.
While all of these parents have done their best, there are a few parenting moments that stand out above the rest.
Both moms and dads alike, here are 10 times the stars of the show were great parents.
1. Kailyn Lowry stayed in school and worked two jobs while raising baby Isaac
Fans first met Kailyn Lowry when she was a 17-year-old living in Delaware expecting her first baby with then-boyfriend Jo Rivera. Kailyn had an unsteady home life with an absent mom so she moved in with Jo and his family when she found out she was pregnant. Kail and Jo welcomed their son, Isaac in 2010.
The couple had a rocky relationship and Kail wanted to test the waters after she gave birth and began dating a guy from work named Jordan. At the same time, Kail was juggling going to college and working two jobs. Somehow, Kailyn managed to make sure Isaac was cared for while she furthered her education and earned a steady income.
She even took it upon herself to enlist the help of government aid, despite her initial doubts, and got herself and Isaac their own apartment. Things didn’t work out with Jordan or with Jo, but Kailyn didn’t let that stand in the way of making sure her son Isaac had the best possible upbringing he could.
2. Cory Wharton owned up to finding out he was Ryder’s father
Cory Wharton was first introduced to MTV viewers in 2014 when he appeared on Real World: Ex-Plosion. He made a name for himself when he went on to compete in nine of the franchise’s The Challenge series. On his second Challenge excursion, Rivals III, he met castmate Cheyenne Floyd.
The two had what Cheyenne called a “show-mance” and at the show’s reunion, they had a one-night stand. Cheyenne became pregnant, but at the time was unsure who the father was because she was also casually dating another guy around the same time.
Cheyenne let Cory know that it was possible he could be the father of her baby, but neither of them thought it was likely after just a one-night stand. After having a DNA test performed, Cory was made aware that he was in fact Ryder’s father when she was six months old.
Cory had a reputation on The Challenge seasons as being a ladies’ man, so many were surprised when he welcomed fatherhood with open arms. Cory said of finding out, “We weren’t really a thing at the time. We were just having fun, hooking up. We hooked up and after that, she started seeing someone,” he said.
“That hookup turned into a baby. We didn’t think it was mine because it was only one time but it ended up being mine. Crazy, right? That sperm knew what they wanted! My sperm went right up and created a baby and now I’m here.”
Since 2017, Cory has stepped up to the plate with maturity and commitment as Ryder’s dad and Cheyenne’s co-parent. He often shares pics and videos of his time with Ryder and never misses an opportunity to be with his daughter.
3. Chelsea (finally!) gave up on Adam and married Cole
Fans of Teen Mom will remember Chelsea’s early days on the show when she was a spoiled Daddy’s girl who couldn’t let go of her horrible boyfriend/baby daddy, Adam Lind. On her first day of her senior year of high school, Chelsea gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Aubree.
Chelsea and Adam had a rocky relationship from the start that involved cheating and verbal abuse. Chelsea was fortunate to have a father, Randy, who took care of her and Aubree financially while Adam hung out with friends, went to car shows, and cheated on Chelsea.
Adam didn’t want any part in raising Aubree and his absence and inconsistency in her life continue to this day. But for some reason, Adam had a hold over Chelsea and she just couldn’t let him go, despite friends and family urging her to leave him.
It’s hard to watch early episodes of Adam’s mistreatment towards Chelsea and Aubree. The young parents appeared together on reunion shows for Teen Mom, often admitting to still hooking up with each other, despite their broken relationship.
Eventually, Chelsea came to her senses and cut ties with Adam for good and enjoyed the single life for a few years. In 2014, Chelsea met a traffic control specialist at a gas station in South Dakota named Cole DeBoer.
Of meeting Cole at the pumps, Chelsea said, “He was across at the other pump. And I looked, and he was staring at me. We didn’t even talk. We just kept looking at each other because we’re both shy. And then we were passing each other when we left because we lived out towards the same way.”
The two married in 2016 and soon got to work expanding their family. They welcomed son Watson in 2017, daughter Layne in 2018 and daughter Walker in 2021. In addition, Chelsea legally changed her daughter Aubree’s last name to Lind-DeBoer, taking on step-dad Cole’s surname.
Cole has openly expressed that if Aubree’s biological father Adam would give up his parental rights, he would gladly adopt Aubree. Cole has filled in as Dad all the times Adam has missed out.
Cole has taken Aubree to several father-daughter dances, making fans’ hearts swell. Chelsea was a great mom for getting out of a horrible relationship and doing better for herself and Aubree.
4.Maci gave Bentley the choice to go to therapy
When viewers first met Maci on 16 and Pregnant in 2008, she was pregnant with her and then-boyfriend Ryan Edward’s son, Bentley. The two had a tumultuous relationship and things didn’t last long, despite Maci’s efforts.
Ryan was too interested in partying and wasn’t present in son Bentley’s life, and the couple called it quits in 2010. Fast forward to the present day and fans of the show have seen Ryan struggle to get his life together. He has been in and out of prison and rehab, battling narcotic addiction.
Maci was more than generous when it came to offering Ryan opportunities to be involved in son Bentley’s life, but Ryan ruined his chances over and over again. Recently on the show, viewers saw Bentley confronted with the option to attend a birthday party where his dad Ryan would be present.
Maci has always been open and honest with Bentley and left the choice up to him. Bentley voiced that he was open to counseling sessions with Ryan after Maci mentioned them.
It seems that the preteen is as mature as his mom. Maci’s husband, Taylor is Bentley’s step-father and has filled in during many of Ryan’s absences over the years.
5. Tyler held down the fort while Catelynn went to treatment
Catelynn and Tyler both grew up in traumatic households, experiencing addiction, incarceration, and frequent moves for most of their early lives. Catelynn struggled more in adulthood from her past trauma and after the birth of their daughter Nova, her struggles with mental health exacerbated.
In 2016 Catelynn suffered from long bout with severe postpartum depression, and checked herself into a mental health facility in Arizona. Just two weeks after checking out, she returned for suicidal thoughts. In 2018, Catelynn checked herself into another treatment facility, this time to address childhood trauma.
Cate’s husband, Tyler was the glue holding everything together while she sought help. He was left home to care for their daughter, Nova three times while Cate was away.
Parents know it’s no easy feat caring for children alone, but Ty stepped it up and solely cared for Nova so his wife could get the treatment she needed. Their story is one of resilience, having been through so much together from a young age, and staying by each other’s side through it all.
6. Cheyenne Floyd handling Ryder’s disease with poise
Cheyenne Floyd and Cory Wharton’s daughter Ryder was born with a rare genetic condition called VLCAD. She was diagnosed soon after her birth in 2017.
Ryder’s condition doesn’t allow her body to digest fatty foods and if not treated properly, she could go into shock or a coma. In one particular instance when Ryder was showing symptoms of the disease, Cheyenne rushed her to the hospital.
At the time, Ryder’s dad Cory was away filming for The Challenge, so Cheyenne had to handle the ordeal alone.
Cheyenne has used her platform to bring awareness to Ryder’s disease. Cheyenne has since formed the foundation, Rage Regardless Ry, which is dedicated to bringing awareness and assistance to families affected by metabolic conditions like Ryder’s.
7. Gary Shirley fought for what’s best for Leah when Amber didn’t
Gary Shirley and Amber Portwood of Teen Mom OG weren’t together long before calling it quits after a rocky and abusive relationship. The former couple welcomed a daughter, Leah in 2008.
It didn’t take Amber long to start getting in trouble with drugs and the law. She infamously attacked then-boyfriend Gary on air and was later charged with domestic violence and battery, multiple times. Amber’s struggles continue they eventually cost her custody of Leah.
Gary has stepped up and played the role of both mother and father at times in Amber’s absence. Gary was awarded full custody of Leah in 2011 after Amber’s repeated behaviors proved her an unfit mother. Gary has since married his wife Kristina and welcomed another daughter, Emilee.
Gary has ensured that Leah is well taken care of in every aspect and she seems to be a well-balanced preteen. Gary has also taken the high road and has afforded Amber opportunities to join the family on many occasions so she can spend time with Leah.
8. Jenelle gave up custody of Jace to her mom
Jenelle might be the last name fans of the show would expect to find on a great parents’ list. But there was at least one time she made a wise parenting choice: when she signed over custody of Jace to her mom, Barbara.
Jenelle has struggled with drugs and the law since viewers first met her on 16 and Pregnant. Her then-boyfriend Andrew vanished, leaving Jenelle to care for their son, Jace.
Jenelle obviously couldn’t handle motherhood and instead of caring for her son, she opted to party and get wasted. She was living with her mother Barbara at the time, who wasn’t having it.
Jenelle and Barbara argued incessantly and Jenelle’s actions made it quite clear she would rather party than be a mom, leaving the bulk of Jace’s care in Barbara’s hands. Barbara reached her last straw and filed for custody of Jace and won.
Barbara was eventually awarded custody. Jenelle and her mom have recently given conflicting reports about the issue, however, citing legal concerns.
9. Catelynn and Tyler taught Nova about protecting herself
In a recent episode of Teen Mom OG, viewers saw Catelynn and Tyler learn about a sexual predator who was employed at their daughter Nova’s previous daycare center.
This prompted the parents to have a talk with Nova about child endangerment, specifically inappropriate touching.
They took it upon themselves to enlist the help of an agency that specifically helps children navigate touchy abuse topics. After school one day, Ty and Cate called Nova into the kitchen to ask her about her “personal bubble.”
They explained to her that everyone has a bubble, and that it’s okay to tell someone if they’re too close to her bubble. Their tactic worked and was later proven when Nova told Catelynn and Tyler that she voiced her concerns to a boy in her class who had invaded her personal space.
10. Leah Messer and Corey Simms advocated for their daughter Ali
In 2010 Leah Messer and Corey Simms welcomed twin daughters, Aliannah (Ali) and Aleeah.
Although the couple struggled with infidelity and eventually called it quits after only six months of marriage, they remained committed parents to the girls. When the former couple noticed that daughter Ali wasn’t developing at the same rate as her sister Aleeah, they took action.
Leah and Corey took Ali to numerous doctor’s and specialist’s visits to be tested repeatedly. They persevered and finally got a diagnosis in 2014 that Ali was born with a rare condition of Titin muscular dystrophy.
Since the diagnosis, which was hard for the young, new parents to bear, they have both remained strong for their daughter. They have been seen on the show co-parenting like champs and doing whatever it takes to ensure Ali gets the accommodations she needs at school.
Leah and Corey may have struggled as newlywed teens trying to make it with twin daughters, but they’ve flourished as co-parenting adults, especially when it comes to their daughter with special needs.
Teen Mom OG airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on MTV.