The Herald Bulletin

June 5, 2012

'Teen Mom' sentenced to 5 years in prison

Portwood: Reality TV show presented more drug temptations

By Sam Brattain
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Amber Portwood, star of MTV’s “Teen Mom,” had an opportunity to have felony charges dropped against her; instead she will be serving time in prison.

As a result of opting out of the Madison County Drug Court rehabilitation program May 24, Portwood, 22, was sentenced Tuesday in Madison Circuit Court 4 to five years in prison. Had she completed the program, her felony convictions for domestic battery and possession of medication without a valid prescription would have been dropped.

In an official statement through her attorney Evan Broderick, Portwood said she was prepared to go to prison, and do her time.

Portwood told Drug Court Judge David Happe upon opting out of the program, that she felt she would never be sober. However, when asked by Happe on Tuesday if she really felt that way, Portwood responded “no.”

She said she first used drugs when she was 12 or 13, and that her exposure on the reality TV show presented an increase in temptations.

Broderick said before the show began shooting, Portwood flew out to California to meet with producers. Drugs were readily available, and Portwood and other members of the show attended several parties together.

It was during her participation in drug court that Portwood said she achieved her longest period of sobriety, two and a half months.

She said she started to abuse drugs again after undergoing surgery to have gallstones removed. Portwood was prescribed hydrocodone, the same drug she was addicted to.

Broderick asked the court for leniency, calling Portwood “a unique case.”

“Many of the drug court participants have long histories of being in and out of jail. Amber has only been convicted of two felonies,” he said.

Prosecution attorney Andrew Hopper said Portwood, Broderick and Happe signed a plea agreement that was “very clear” about what would happen if Portwood failed the drug court program.

“There’s much to be gained, but a lot is on the line. It’s one of the motivating factors (of drug court),” Hopper said.

Broderick said five years was excessive, and asked the court to reconsider; however, Happe said there was nothing he could do, the plea agreement had already been agreed upon by all parties.

“You think the court has the discretion on whether to sentence her to prison for (five years)?” Happe asked.

Broderick responded, “I believe that the same as any violation, the court can do anything from nothing, all the way to the full sanction.”

In an earlier plea deal, Happe ordered Portwood to start a college fund for her 3-year-old daughter. Portwood, who has earned about $500,000 from her years in the reality show, said Tuesday she has created the fund.

“If there’s one good thing to come out of this, now your daughter has money set aside and a door open to her that wouldn’t have been otherwise. So thank you for doing that,” Happe said.

Happe said he will make a recommendation with the Department of Correction that Portwood be placed in a therapeutic community program at the prison, where she can continue to battle her drug addiction.

Portwood said the predicament she is in is a result of a decision she made when she was 16 years old to join the “16 and Pregnant” and later “Teen Mom” casts. Looking back as a 22-year-old, she said she wished she wouldn’t have.

Find Sam Brattain on Facebook and @SamBrattain on Twitter, or call 640-4883.