'Teen Mom OG' : Amber Portwood Reveals She Called Ex Gary Shirley While Battling Suicidal Thoughts

"The last time I tried to do something I called him and he saved me," Amber Portwood said about ex Gary Shirley

Amber Portwood, gary Shirley
Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley. Photo: Splash

Amber Portwood opened up about her struggle with suicidal thoughts amid her custody battle with ex Andrew Glennon during Tuesday night’s Teen Mom OG.

On the episode, Portwood revealed she’d emotionally spiraled when she found out Glennon had filed a motion in court to take their 1-year-old son, James, to California from Portwood’s home base in Indiana.

During a conversation with MTV producer David, Portwood, 29, said the news had taken “a huge toll on my mental health.”

“I’m sick to my stomach because of this stuff,” the mom of two said. “When I found out that he was trying to take James away to California, it just killed me. It feels like a train hit you.”

Portwood said she’d begun to do weigh-ins with her psychiatrist, and revealed she’d lost 9 lbs. in a week due to the stress.

“[My psychiatrist] is worried about a lot of things and he does ask me, ‘Do you feel like you need to be put in a mental hospital? Do you feel like you’re going to kill yourself?’ ” Portwood said. “And I tell him the truth: ‘No.’ ”

Despite what she told her psychiatrist, Portwood admitted she had struggled with suicidal thoughts and turned to someone she could trust for help in managing them.

“I had a night that was bad when I found out Andrew was trying to take James to California. I called [ex-boyfriend] Gary [Shirley] because the last time I tried to do something I called him and he saved me,” Portwood said, crying. “I will always be grateful for that.”

Portwood and Shirley share 11-year-old daughter Leah. When David asked what it would be like for her to see Glennon take James to California, the MTV star said, “I’m not going to let that happen.”

Andrew Glennon and Amber Portwood
Andrew Glennon and Amber Portwood. Rob Latour/Shutterstock

“I just have to keep fighting. My lawyers will keep fighting,” she said.

On July 5, 2019, Portwood was arrested after allegedly attacking ex-boyfriend Glennon while he was holding James. The day after the incident, she was charged with domestic battery, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old.

Shirley was also seen speaking about Portwood’s mental health on Tuesday’s episode with his wife, Kristina.

“I think this whole entire thing has taken a toll on her. The phone call was reaching out to help. She came out and mentioned she’d had some suicidal thoughts,” Shirley said. “I told her, ‘Look no matter what, Leah needs you. Imagine what she would go through if something happened. Let’s say you did something to yourself, what’s Leah going to do if you’re gone? It’s going to mess her up.’ ”

He continued, “Obviously, I care about Amber. I would hate for something to happen to Amber and it could have been prevented.”

Kristina grew emotional, wiping her eyes as she said, “My heart breaks for the kids. Leah loves her mom and she wants her to be happy and people make mistakes. You can’t turn your back on somebody that needs help. It’s tough.”

In October, Portwood reportedly signed a plea deal and was sentenced to 2.5 years of probation, as well as court-ordered parenting classes.

While Portwood has yet to discuss the incident in detail, she denied the allegations during the Teen Mom OG reunion in September.

“I literally opted out of drug court a long time ago to put myself in prison to help myself,” she said. “Why would I jeopardize … you haven’t heard s— from me since then, haven’t gotten in trouble one time. But all of a sudden I’m running after him with a machete? You’re insane.”

Teen Mom OG airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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