Prison can be a lonely place, especially for troubled “Teen Mom” star Amber Portwood.
During a candid sit-down with Dr. Drew Pinsky on the MTV special “Amber Behind Bars,” the reality star, serving a five-year sentence on a drug-related parole violations, says she’s frequently a target of bullying by her fellow inmates.
“My story’s out there and a lot of people know about it — that’s my downfall here,” she tells the MTV host. “A lot of inmates have a lot to say, [like] ‘You’re a bad mom’ [or] just cussing me out. Cussing me with filth actually.”
Amber herself has a well-documented history of angry outbursts, including the physical attack on her baby daddy that launched her many legal woes. Showing remarkable composure, she tells Dr. Drew, “They don’t know who I really am — I brush it off.”
She denies rumors that she has a protective prison girlfriend. “[According to the tabloids], there’s a girl in here named Sugarfoots who has my name tattooed on her neck, and she takes care of me,” Amber laughs. “It’s not true at all. There are no Sugarfoots in here. I’m sure there’s one in here somewhere. Believe me, there’s somebody.” But so far at least, Amber hasn’t experienced any “lesbian obsessions.”
Not that Amber has much room for romance with her busy prison schedule. She’s in a “therapeutic community” — “kind of like a rehab in prison” — focusing on her drug addiction recovery. She regular attends NA meetings, cleans bathrooms (earning a whopping 60 cents an hour) and taking GED and anger management classes.
Not only is Amber “more humble” on the inside, but she’s undergone a radical prison make-under. With no access to tanning salons offering the Oompa-Loompa special, caterpillar eyelashes or glitter-bombed hoodies, Amber is almost unrecognizable in her Mohawk-style French braid, pale makeup-free face and T-shirt and khakis.
Even Amber now laughs about her “spray tans and eyelashes”: “I looked fake,” she tells Dr. Drew.
Amber’s most important transformation, however, is her new dedication to sobriety. Acknowledging the celebrity rehabber’s “clinical diagnosis” that prison saved her life, Amber says, “I knew I was gonna die, [but] nothing mattered to me” — even her 3-year-old daughter, Leah.
“It’s not that you don’t love your child,” she explains. “You’re a very selfish person when you’re an addict. All I wanted was to find drugs so I wouldn’t have to withdraw.”
In prison, however, Amber says, “I’ve learned more self-control [and] self-worth, [and to] be calm, be true, be quiet.”
“I feel like I have a lot to give…I can give more. And I have a lot to learn.”
When she’s released, probably in two years, Amber promises she “will be there” for her daughter and her family.
“I know I can be better than I was. I haven’t been there for [Leah] and that’s terrible enough. She needs more, she deserves more…I’ll be home soon. I’ll actually be there for her this time. I’ll be the mom she wants.”