Amber Portwood has been open through the years about her mental health issues, but she does not discuss them with her 9-year-old daughter, Leah.
“Leah doesn’t really know much about my mental health,” the Teen Mom OG star, 28, tells Us Weekly exclusively. “She just knows about [how] Mommy had, like, trouble in the past for drugs, and that’s kind of where we’re going to keep that until we get to a place where she really understands.”
Portwood battled a pill addiction as a teenager. She was charged with three counts of domestic violence in 2010 after abusing her then-boyfriend and Leah’s father, Gary Shirley, on camera. She later served 16 months in prison after violating her probation requirements stemming from a felony drug charge.
The MTV personality tells Us that she plans to talk to Leah “a little bit more” in the future about her battle with borderline personality and bipolar disorder.
“She’s starting to be older,” Portwood notes. “She pretty much is acting like a teenager. You know, it’s like 9 going on 14, so if she starts feeling a certain way, that’s my time to open up to her, to make her feel better, to understand that she’s not alone and that I went through this too.”
For the time being, she tries to spend as much time as possible with her daughter, who lives with Shirley, 31.
“She literally wants to do her own thing, so if that means she doesn’t come over on a weekend I’m supposed to have her, I go over there [to Shirley’s house] and visit her then,” she tells Us. “That’s what we’ve been doing. … We spend, I think, a lot more time together now than we did before, which is so amazing.”
The reality star also enjoys seeing Leah bond with her 4-month-old son, James, with boyfriend Andrew Glennon.
“The way that we are when we spend time together is just, like, the best moments, I swear, of my life, especially seeing her with James,” she gushes. “It’s amazing.”
Teen Mom OG returns on MTV on Monday, October 1, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Sarah Hearon
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!