Levi Johnston: "I Don't Feel Like a Dad" to Son Tripp, 3

Levi Johnston with Sunny Oglesby Credit: TMZ.com/Splash News Online

Bristol Palin's ex swears his deadbeat dad reputation is undeserved.

In an interview with The Insider Thursday, Levi Johnston and his girlfriend Sunny Oglesby--currently expecting the couple's first child--defend Johnson's much-maligned parenting skills. (Johnson's ex-fiancee Palin gave birth to son Tripp in 2008).

"I'm tired of people thinking that my boyfriend's a bad father, especially now that I'm having his baby," Oglesby, 20, explains. "He's an awesome dad."

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Johnston, 21, has accused the Palin family of keeping his son from him, and says it's tough to feel connected to his first-born when his time with the three-year-old is so restricted.

"I love Tripp more than anything and he is my son, but I don't feel like a dad to him," the Alaskan native shares. "But it is what it is, and maybe one day I can be." (Johnston adds that he and Oglesby would "love" for Tripp to play a role in their new baby's life.)

When asked if Johnston blames Palin's mother Sarah for keeping him from his son, Johnston says he's convinced the former Alaskan governor "plays a big role" in daughter Bristol's decision-making.

"That's a family," Johnston tells host Brook Anderson. "I know I listen to my family, so I'm sure [Sarah] does have some part in [keeping Tripp away]."

Earlier this month, Sarah and Todd Palin denied that they've ever tried to keep their grandson from his dad in an impassioned statement to TMZ. "We have never hidden Tripp from Levi or discouraged Levi from spending time with him," the pair wrote. "Any suggestion that we have is false and contrary to our core beliefs."