Jenelle Evans gained notoriety for her multiple arrests, heroin addiction, custody battle with her mom, and tumultuous relationships. The public had been privy to her complicated life from her unplanned pregnancy up to the present, via the reality television shows she had been part of, her book entitled “Read Between the Lines: From the Diary of a Teenage Mom,” and her social media posts. Considering that every move she made drummed up interest in “Teen Mom 2,” her exit from the hit series had people speculating on the reasons why.
- 1 Get to know Jenelle
- 2 “16 and Pregnant”
- 3 “Teen Mom 2”
- 4 Fired from the TV show
Get to know Jenelle
Jenelle Evans was born on 19 December 1991, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She was only three when her mom, Barbara, kicked her dad Robert out of their house. He was a musician, and his work at a recording studio wasn’t enough to pay their bills. His family, it seemed, was not his priority, and he would rather hang out with his friends than be with his wife and kids during his free time. They were married in 1984, and went their separate ways after a decade with the divorce finalized by October 1994; they shared custody of the kids. Her mom had to work twice as hard to earn more money to provide for the family.
The last time Jenelle saw her father was when he was supposed to pick her and her siblings, Ashleigh and Colin, up one weekend, but he just drove away after seeing them waiting on the porch with her mom’s boyfriend; she was 11 at that time. She never knew why he stopped coming after that. Jenelle hated living in Scranton, not that it wasn’t a nice town, but she never really had any friends, and didn’t fit in at school. The family moved to North Carolina in 2004 for a fresh start.
Her relationship with her mother was volatile too, as they argued all the time. Jenelle claimed to love Barbara, but they didn’t have a close bond. She considered herself a daddy’s girl even if he had been part of her life for only a short time. Some said that she romanticized her memories with her dad, and only remembered him as a cool and fun-loving guy.
Broken relationship with siblings
Her family was dysfunctional – she opened up about how every gathering they had ended in a shouting match, and in the rare moments they tolerated each other, it didn’t last long and they would go back to feeling either hatred or indifference. With what most people knew about Jenelle now, nobody would have guessed that her mom once said that out of her three children, she was the normal kid, as she didn’t need medication or therapy. Her siblings had their own demons, and Jenelle described her relationship with them as broken.
Growing up, they only got along when they were doing something that would get them into trouble. Ashleigh, the eldest, was a brat who had no time for her; they would fight over every little thing, and it often turned physical. In 2006, her sister was arrested for assaulting her and their mom – Barbara said that Ashleigh at that time was off the medication she was taking for her mental health problems.
Jenelle gravitated toward her older brother, who didn’t mind her tagging along with him and his friends. However, Colin had what she called ‘outbursts of rage’, and would lash out at others and even at his family. Usually, she could calm him down, but there were times when he was too out of control that she became frightened of him. He accidentally set their house on fire, and so their mother sent him to a ‘special group home’ that was better equipped to handle him, as he was reportedly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 2007, Colin was charged with injury to personal and real property, as he kicked and punched the truck of his mom’s boyfriend, as well as the front door during an altercation.
“16 and Pregnant”
As it appeared that unplanned pregnancies among teens were prevalent in the US, MTV launched the reality TV show, “16 and Pregnant” on 11 June 2009, to feature their stories. Jenelle was introduced in its second season aired in February 2010. At 17, she had given birth to her son, Jace, with her boyfriend Andrew Lewis the father.
Andrew, her first baby daddy
They met online and went on their first date when she was 16. Andrew was several years older than her and had the propensity to drink, which she found really cool. Her fascination with him had got to a point in which she let him dictate what they would do, and basically became a doormat for him. She said, ‘He came and got what he wanted from me, when he wanted it…We had to talk when he wanted to talk, no matter the odd hours.’
In December 2007, her mom called the cops when she ran away after they had a confrontation, only to find her at Andrew’s house. Months later, Jenelle was arrested after Andrew’s mom reported her to the police, saying that she’d broken into their home and refused to leave. She wasn’t charged on condition that she wouldn’t come uninvited or stay past a reasonable hour.
Andrew wasn’t interested in becoming a dad, and he was gone soon after Jace was born in 2009. It seemed that over the years, there had been attempts to reconnect with his son, but he never really followed through.
“Teen Mom 2”
Since “16 and Pregnant” only covered stories of pregnant teens until their babies were a few months old, fans wanted to know how life had changed for these girls, as they became young mothers and struggled with the responsibilities that came with it. There was a time when people were ashamed to talk about such things in public for fear of being judged and ostracized. However, it seemed that many no longer shied away from delving into a highly sensitive topic, and had come to accept this as and often sad reality of life. The spin-off series attracted millions of viewers – some found it horrible, and criticized the show for turning these teens into celebrities and glamorizing their situation. Others said that it was a docuseries that served as a cautionary tale for young people.
— Jenelle Evans (@PBandJenelley_1) July 23, 2022
“Teen Mom” premiered in December 2009, and featured four girls from the first season of the original show. Jenelle and three others from the second season were the focus of “Teen Mom 2,” which started airing in January 2011. People had been witness to how Jenelle had evolved as a person and as a mother. Her life wasn’t easy, as she continued making bad choices. Being a mom didn’t stop her from doing whatever she wanted, and fans couldn’t decide whether trouble always followed her, or she was the one looking for trouble, as she ended up with bad guys, a substance abuse problem, and numerous arrests.
Almost overdosed on heroin
Much of her trouble began when she took heroin – it was Kieffer Delp who introduced her to this highly addictive drug. At that time, Jenelle was reportedly assaulted by her boyfriend Gary Head, and sought comfort and support from Kieffer. It turned out that his way of doing it was by having her take drugs. She said, ‘Before I knew it, I was shooting up four or five times a day. I was hooked.’ Within one month, she was hospitalized thrice, and came close to dying, as she once blacked out and woke up on the bathroom floor without remembering what happened. She called her mom to ask for help, then quit cold turkey, and struggled through withdrawal symptoms.
Nude photos of Janelle leaked online
Tired of having small breasts, Jenelle had her breast augmented to a full “C” cup in 2012. She was quite happy with her enhanced curves, as she said that it was a big boost to her confidence. When she was devastated when she learned that her topless photos, before and after the surgery, circulated online for the entire world to see, and couldn’t stop crying about it. She accused Kieffer as the one responsible for the leak, saying that he took those photos while she was still under the effects of anesthesia. Kieffer admitted on Twitter that he never would have done it if she didn’t break his heart, and then ‘talk shit’ about him. The two had a huge fight after her ex-boyfriend Gary sent her flowers while she was recovering from her surgery – after kicking Kieffer out of the house, Gary kept her company and they talked about getting back together. Of note, Jenelle had an on-off relationship with the two guys.
Jenelle had an abortion
It was not surprising that her relationship with her first husband, Courtland Rogers, ended considering that she married him on a whim in December 2012, after her split from Kieffer. She moved back to her mother’s house in an attempt to wean herself off heroin addiction, and get her life back on track. When she learned that she was pregnant with Courtland’s baby, she thought it best to have an abortion. Having another baby was unfair to her son, Jace, when she didn’t have custody of him. Her mother was supportive of her decision, accompanied her to the clinic, and even paid for the procedure.
Over a dozen arrests
Jenelle was often in the news for being on the wrong side of the law. Her history of arrests dated back to October 2010 when she was dating Kieffer Delp; the two were arrested for breaking and entering the home of a friend’s mother in Oak Island. She was also charged with drug possession and was sentenced to one-year probation, but violated its terms by testing positive for THC. Over the years, she was arrested for several reasons, which included cyberstalking her former boss, beating up a girl in a fit of jealousy, violating a domestic violence protective order, and possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
Custody battle over her son, Jace
Barbara Evans had been granted full custody of her grandson, Jace, since 2010, but Jenelle had visitation rights. At that time, it was quite evident that Jenelle was not ready to become a mother, as she lived without a care in the world. However, it didn’t stop her from trying to get her son back, and she and her mom often ended up in court. Her relationship with Barbara was never good, but there were times when it was her mother whom she turned to when she needed help. When Jace seemed to be acting up and Barbara couldn’t handle him anymore, she and Janelle agreed to co-parenting.
Fired from the TV show
Jenelle’s wild and crazy antics made her one of the most controversial stars in “Teen Mom 2.” The production didn’t need to create drama or intrigue, as the story of her life was perhaps better than anything that a writer could have come up with.
In May 2019, it was reported that Jenelle was fired from the show because her husband, David Eason, whom she married in September 2017, killed their French bulldog named Nugget. David admitted to shooting Nugget after it bit their two-year-old daughter, Ensley, on the face. ‘You can hate me all you want, but this isn’t the first time the dog bit Ensley aggressively,’ he said as he defended his action. ‘The only person that can judge whether or not an animal is a danger to MY CHILD is ME.’ He uploaded a video of his daughter moving her face closer to Nugget and the dog snapped at her; a close-up photo of Ensley revealed a red mark on her cheek, but there was no clear indication that the skin was broken. Meanwhile, a heartbroken Jenelle shared a photo of her with Nugget on social media, and wrote about how much she loved her dog.
As a result of this scandal, the couple temporarily lost custody of four-year-old Kaiser, and Ensley. Several people testified against David and Jenelle about issues at home that put their kids at risk, and the Child Protective Services ordered that Ensley and nine-year-old Jace were to stay with their grandmother, Barbara, while Kaiser would stay with her father, Nathan Griffith. The parents could only visit the kids for an hour once a week, with supervision. The couple parted ways for a while, but reconciled and regained custody of Ensley and Kaiser after five weeks.
David has no longer been part of the show since February 2018, due to his homophobic statements on social media, while Jenelle continued to film for MTV. In April 2019, the network finally cut ties with Jenelle after a decade of working with her, and although she was shocked, she respected their decision. In a statement issued by her management team, Jenelle was said to be moving forward, and would focus on her family and business endeavors.
Later on, she said in interviews that she believed that the reason she was no longer part of the show was not entirely because their family dog was killed. It was hard for her to comprehend why she was let go over something that happened off-camera, but not when she was doing illegal things, buying and taking drugs that were even caught on film. Also, she claimed that she was told over the phone that she was ‘let go for this season’, but not ‘fired’, although MTV didn’t clarify matters regarding this issue.
One theory she had about parting ways with the network was that she was butting heads with the production over how she was portrayed on the TV series. At times, she felt like a puppet that did whatever they wanted her to do; she wanted to have a say in what was being aired about her. She also had something to say about the money she earned from filming. Admittedly, she said that they were paid well to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars each season, but felt that she should have been given more. When negotiating for renewal of contracts, she was given a five percent increase whenever she asked for a raise. With each new season, the rate was supposed to go higher, so to avoid that, new episodes were added to the previous season, instead of making them part of a new one.
Despite her discontent, she was grateful for the opportunities that came her way because of the reality series. She hoped to be back on TV even if it was just one season, for a chance to show that her life was not as horrible as the production made it to be. Jenelle wanted a redemption story, one that would show her in a positive light.
There were rumors going around that she would be part of the spin-off series, “Teen Mom: The Next Chapter,” but she was quick to deny it in a video she posted in September 2022 on her YouTube channel. She was invited to a reunion special, but declined for reasons that she didn’t want to share. Jenelle said that she would rather create her own show and do her own thing, rather than go back to “Teen Mom 2” and be part of a clique. For fans who wanted to know about what her life was like after the reality show, she said that they just had to watch her vlogs online, at least for now, as she hinted that she was filming something.