Amber Portwood made her first star appearance in the first showing of 16 and Pregnant, when it aired in 2009. The show chronicled the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school who were dealing with the hardships of pregnancy. Amber gave birth to a little girl named Leah, with her then boyfriend, Gary Shirley.
As Leah got older and the complications of having a child at a young age got in the way of Amber and Gary being parents, the state of Indiana stepped in with Child Protective Services to investigate whether Amber was fit to have her daughter or not. This occurred after a lot of taped physical abuse she inflicted on Gary when they’d argue, as well as verbal. It’s now however, a bittersweet time for Amber as Child Protective Services has closed its long-gestating investigation prohibiting Amber from seeing her now 3-year-old daughter and Shirley.
According to E! News, Portwood stated, “Gary and I have joint custody and Leah only lives with him because they felt she wasn’t safe with me when my house got vandalized.”
According to court records, Child Protective Services recommended back in May that Leah move in with Shirley full-time after Portwood’s home and car were vandalized but allowed her visitation rights.
It’s unclear to date whether Portwood has joint custody, as she says one story while Shirley states another. Shirley, shortly after Child Protective Services stated their decision tweeted about having full custody of Leah, but the post has since been deleted. Portwood stated that she had been struggling with bipolar disorder and while she was in rehab, she had been diagnosed with dissociative disorder. She has then stated that her and Shirley are getting along very well and not fighting, that “everything is finally good.”
The Porter/Shirley custody debate is still on the table, but at least for now it seems that Leah is safe.