‘Teen Mom OG’ Dad Gary Shirley Breaks His Silence: Explains Why He Supported Amber Portwood After Her Domestic Violence Arrest & Gives Update on Her Parenting

“Allow me to explain myself!”

Gary Shirley has caught a lot of flak for supporting his baby mama, Amber Portwood, following her July 2019 arrest and through domestic violence court hearings. On Tuesday, the Teen Mom OG dad attempted to explain to the show’s fans why he has remained in Amber’s corner, despite her crimes and bad behavior.

In a comment posted to the official ‘Teen Mom’ Instagram page, Gary— who shares 11-year-old daughter Leah with Amber— gave a detailed statement regarding his own feelings about what Amber did, and why he and his wife Kristina continue to support Amber and have tried to help her to become a better person for herself, Leah and James, her son with Andrew Glennon.

In his statement, Gary wrote about the status of the relationship between his family and Amber, noting that Amber is very much a part of both of her kids’ lives. 

“In support of Leah, having both her parents is very important,” Gary wrote. “Amber’s happiness is a huge key to her children’s happiness. Amber comes over regularly with James for visits to see Leah and our family. When James sees Leah his eyes get big and he runs to her…Amber is always saying, ‘Are you sure you don’t mind? I don’t want to intrude.’ However, we encourage her to visit and this also gives us a chance to see little man (baby James.)”

“Thanks, Gar-Bear!”

Gary then went into the reasons he continues to support Amber, writing that Amber has finally come to realize the severity of her past actions.

“Amber made some heller mistakes and is PAYING for them and getting the help she needs, and for that I’m thankful,” Gary wrote. “She knows this CAN’T happen again.”

He also made it clear that, just because he is there for Amber, he does not agree with what she did. (As ‘Teen Mom’ fans know, Gary was also suffered domestic violence at the hand of Amber during their relationship.) 

“My support doesn’t mean I condone her actions towards Andrew. Domestic violence is NEVER OK,” he wrote, adding that his support for Amber is more for her kids’ sake than hers.

“In the end I want to know I did everything I could to help my daughter & James. Supporting their mother HAS to be part of that. I’m proud of the steps Amber has taken for herself and for her kids. She has come a long way.” 

This marks the first time Gary has really spoken out in detail since Amber was arrested last year following an attack on her other baby daddy, Andrew Glennon, at their home in Indiana. Amber was arrested after assaulting and allegedly pulling a machete on Andrew. She eventually took a plea deal and was sentenced on October 31, 2019, with Gary, Kristina and an MTV film crew at the courthouse that day. (Click here to read what she was sentenced to.)

On recent episodes of ‘Teen Mom OG,’ Amber has been seen going to a psychiatrist and therapist, and working on her anger management.

Over the weekend, Amber’s brother Shawn “Bubby” Portwood also defended her on Twitter.

“She has taken responsibility for what she did,” Shawn tweeted. “She said two episodes ago that she was disgusted and basically embarrassed by the way she acted. But yet people keep saying she’s not owning up to it and she’s not doing what she supposed to.”

RELATED STORY: ‘Teen Mom OG’ Star Amber Portwood Donates 1,000 Masks to Indiana Hospital: “It’s Just a Nice Gesture”

(Photos: MTV; Instagram, Twitter) 


  1. Gary stays around for the money and the camera. Amber at one time was very sick little girl. You exploited that to further your own
    Agenda. I love You Amber you rock.

  2. I’ve been watching old episodes of Teen Mom OG on Amazon Prime and Gary needs to revisit season 3 episode 3 when Amber is yelling at him that he provoked her to hit him and Gary says “nothing I ever said to you should provoke you to hit me” all while two episodes ago he was telling Kristina that Andrew provoked Amber. I forgot how brutal those scenes were with her assaulting Gary…this woman hasn’t changed one single bit.

  3. Hold on Back-tracking Gary, didn’t you on film accuse Andrew of instigating the situation and causing Amber to do what she did. And she is only getting help because she is once again forced to do so, if not she would be doing the same crap as always, laying in bed or on the couch. I have no sympathy for this lazy, good for nothing piece of crap. She belongs in jail.

  4. I seem to have a different reaction to this than most people do on this thread.. Yes Gary is supporting Amber but I also see him holding her accountable. We saw it a couple of episodes ago after the tapes leaked. He showed up at her house and told her she needed anger management, and you could just tell Amber had zero intentions on ever doing that, so he called up the place himself, made an appointment for her that day, and drove her there himself while she was practically kicking and screaming. THAT’S how be a supportive friend while also holding the other person accountable. Not that it is his job to fix her, but he’s thinking of his daughter. I don’t buy that Amber is a changed person, given how she thinks attending court-ordered parenting classes ridiculous and thinks she doesn’t need them. I have lost all sympathy for her.

    What I don’t get is Gary supporting her new relationship. Who flies someone that you haven’t even met yet for three months??!!!??

  5. 1st Gary is not doing this for Leah his doing this for MONEY. He gets paid to be on TV and show support for a abuser. I know he’s a good dad and all but enough is enough with how bad Andrew is. It still makes me mad that no one is supporting him on the show like I wonder how he’s doing or a DM to ask how’s it going not one cast member has done that their all doing it for the money and it’s just ridiculous. And how in the hell does having a new man every ten minutes gonna make her a better mom when she gets one she stops seeing her children man alive they all need to grow up before the mtv money goes by by

  6. Yeah, I thought it’s just for Leah’s sake. But if you don’t agree with what she did, you should have told her or loud and clear on camera. Because it comes across (from reading The Ashley) that you are defending her and making it seem like he isn’t a victim of her actions. And that’s where I have a problem, GarBear.

    1. Part of being a parent is doing right by your kids regardless of what anyone else thinks of you. That’s exactly what he’s doing.

      He bites his tongue because he knows Amber will stop seeing Leah if he doesn’t. His daughter (and probably Amber’s son he’s not even related to, quite frankly) will grow up knowing her father did everything he could to encourage her relationship with her mother. That’s the right thing to do, and he’s doing it for the right reasons.

      And, to be real, how many of us wouldn’t pretend we didn’t hate Amber for a $500k/year+ job where you don’t even have to do that much? Which, I might add, provides opportunities and a huge leg up in life to your children that they’d never have without it.

    2. I’ve been watching old episodes of Teen Mom OG on Amazon Prime and Gary needs to revisit season 3 episode 3 when Amber is yelling at him that he provoked her to hit him and Gary says “nothing I ever said to you should provoke you to hit me” all while two episodes ago he was telling Kristina that Andrew provoked Amber. I forgot how brutal those scenes were with her assaulting Gary…this woman hasn’t changed one single bit.

  7. So Amber drops off James at Gary’s to be babysat by them?!?! They are just enabling her. Gary is just in it for the mtv money. Really too bad Andrew can’t escape back to Cali as that would be better for James. But he chose to move out to Indiana so there ya go.

  8. It looks like Gary supports Amber, but doesn’t support Andrew. They are both her victims. Makes you wonder is Gary so scared of Amber or is Mtv’s paycheck the reason. Why not reach out to Andrew? Siblings can’t meet up without Amber? 🤔

  9. Booby, STFU!!!! Your sister is a felon and she belongs in JAIL!!!! And Gary thinks he’s doing the noble thing by supporting her, but all it’s saying to the kids is that domestic violence is ok. What a waste of life.

  10. I have tried to give Amber the benefit of the doubt because she was just a teenager when this all started and sharing your entire life on TV has got to mess with your psyche. However, it’s been 11 years since this started and other than having more money she hasn’t changed. I cannot believe that she’s going through a custody battle with her son and doesn’t have custody of her daughter and is even thinking about having a relationship, let alone flying some rando in from wherever. Your kids are only kids for a short time. Leah has less then 7 years until she’s an adult and your gonna waste time with another dude, and then most likely cry about it. I just can’t with her anymore. It’s a broken record.

    1. But…Amber was 18 when she had Leah. She was an adult. She wasn’t a teenager anymore (even though barely). If she had her later, she would act the same, trust me.

      1. Eight-teen…see the word teen?? That is STILL a T E E N A G E R! Just because you are legally considered an adult at that age does not mean she is no longer an immature teenager. 🙄🙄

    1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
      I don’t understand the logic at MTV. Lurch killed a dog and was threatening to the crew, he got fired – correct move. Amber beats Gary, comes back from JAIL like she was at prom – incorrect move 1. She beats Andrew with the child present, he has proof it happened, and she’s still there – incorrect move 2. Is the only reason she’s not fired is because she moves from the ugly couch at the rate of a fat sloth so she’s not a threat to the crew? I’m positive that Andrew and Gary aren’t the only people she’s laid hands on, she just got caught – twice. Between Amber and Caitlin’s whining I gave up on that teen mom. I gave up the other because I just can’t stand King Kong. Now I rot my brain with 90 Day Fiancé. End of rant!

  11. My DVR taped the first 5 minutes of Teen mom and I’m cringing! Amber has moved on to a new boy toy. Gary is awkwardly coming to the airport with Amber to pick him up. Even more ridiculous is that Gary and Kristina realize that Amber is such a juvenile at 30 years old-Gary plans to discuss birth control with Amber and suggests using his Gary condoms..remember those? Then new boy toy and Gary comes around the corner and Gary says to Amber, “I’ve got a package for you” Amber kisses boy toy and his name Dmitri with “Ambers boyfriend” pops up on the screen..than thank the stars above my DVR stopped recording!

  12. I think Gary knows that amber is on thin ice. He knows she is one slip up away from a complete meltdown. I respect that he has the utmost maturity and is allowing amber to be a parent to Leah & allow James and Leah to spend time together under his supervision. Of course, seeing all of these people getting along is what’s best for Leah. I don’t know if I could do the same, with an abusive ex. I probably couldn’t. But I do see where Gary is coming from, and I give him credit for putting up with ambers nonsense just to try & create normalcy for Leah.

  13. So what’s Gary going to do when he walks in to domestic violence scene with children involved , not arrest anyone for the sake of the kids? Children aren’t safe around an abuser that can pop at any second, OFFICER!!
    All this anger management and parenting classes is a joke! Amber knew it was going to be court ordered, that’s the only reason she attends. Gary or her attorney told her to start the classes so it looks good for court that she started on her own…ah, no it doesn’t .
    Amber hasn’t gotten away with no jail time YET, her sentence was suspended, she’s facing at least 906 upon a slip up. Two and a half years is a long time to walk the line when your not trying to better yourself on your own.

  14. All joking aside, Gary’s obesity is a serious issue that never once been talked about on the show. Being that fat is just as dangerous as abusing alcohol and/or drugs.

  15. I think Gary has been extremely mature in this whole situation. He knows Leah is very aware of what is going on with her train wreck of a “Mom” and probably gets a lot of crap at school for it. He’s trying to maintain a good relationship with Amber for the sake of his daughter. Also humongous eye-roll at Amber for cruising the internet for another dude while in the middle of a legal s**tstorm. This is what happens when you have no goals, nothing to do all day, no responsibilities, no self-esteem and extreme co-dependency. Finding a dude wouldn’t even be close to a priority to a normal person. Also, I think her crisis response team tells her to make sure to mention she has mental “challenges” at least five times per episode. So sick of her.
    Another one is Caitlin, she mentions wanting to be a vet tech for like 20 minutes before she’s like nah, too hard. THese people are going to be completely lost without Mtv money, their families too.

  16. One, where will Gary draw the line to protect Amber’s happiness? In a clip, he is driving her to meet yet another guy she met over the internet from another country. That revolving door of strangers can’t be good for Leah and it can get much worse. Would he allow honestly allow Leah to be exposed to every guy Amber met just to keep her happy?

    Two, Amber may sound contrite but, she could easily be taking advantage of Gary and Kristina’a kindness. That uncertainty can be a manipulation tactic. This is also strike two for Amber. She seemingly came a long way last time. If anything, the only thing that she has learned is how to hide her violent side better. I’m skeptical that she will ever change with everyone coddling her as they do.

  17. How about if Gary and Christine stop the derogatory victim blaming directed at Andrew.

  18. First of all Blubby needs to STFU. No one cares what he has to say. Second, Amber knows this can’t happen again. That statement is bullshit!! It can and will happen again. She just knows that next time she can’t get caught. Big difference. Third, the only remorse Amber suffers from is the fact that all of her bad behavior was made public. She didn’t feel remorse until her hundreds or thousands of dollars was in jeopardy. Getting help doesn’t mean shit. It’s just for show. And I get that Gary is doing it for his daughter’s sake but the fact that he supports her whether he agrees with what she does or not is going to eventually affect him and his family. It’s a very noble act, but dangerous and it’s obvious Gary is too naive to know this. He and his family should greatly distance themselves. Unfortunately she us not going to change. Mark my words And one day it’s going to be bad.

  19. Yeah, Amber feels awful. Ya know what? She needs to apologize for her behavior over and over again. I don’t believe that she’s learned her lesson. She’s a narcissistic abuser, and her excuse of mental illness is a load of crap. She’s a manipulator and I bet Gary’s support of her is just so she gets to see Leah. He’s a good guy, but if my husband wanted to drive his abusive ex-girlfriend to the airport to meet a man who she’s never met in person (and he left his children behind!), there would be a HUGE shit storm!

  20. I can’t excuse Ambers reprehensible behavior. Period. I feel like the people that are closest to her give her excuses for her behavior. Just as she excuses herself over and over. It’s always someone else’s fault. Always. I can’t come down on Gary too hard though because I feel like he has always looked out for the best interests of Leah. I think that Kristina has helped Leah have a stable life. Amber seems to be worried about who is laying next to her in bed rather than visiting her children. She is using James as a weapon against Andrew to exert her control. She never cared about James when she was with Andrew referring to James as an “It”. Chasing Andrew AND James with a machete, hitting Andrew with James in his arms on multiple occasions. Sorry, no excuses for Amber. Satan himself could come straight from hell and I would go toe to toe to protect my kids. (As would any mom who puts their kids before themselves and loves them unconditionally) I can’t say the same for Amber.

  21. You know what I think, you can watch Amber for the last 10 years on TV and I don’t see any change. I hear about the change, but I don’t see the change.


    by the way, happy Cinco De Mayo young ladies

    stay lit, your boy Nibs

  22. Gary comes across very well. It is obvious that he can’t stand her, and her actions but knows it is best for his daughter that he supports her mother and to do that they need to get on. I think also that he and his wife, as decent people are trying to make sure that her son is not being affected. I will not be watching this season, or any other season Amber is in, I find it deplorable that the other mothers kicked up a fuss when Farah-who is much more entertaining and active, as well as an equally awful mother than Amber the sloth, with Macy refusing to film because Farah participated in the adult film industry-it might not be the best thing to do but it is legal, and an actual job-something these people have no clue about. MTV is a disgrace keeping Amber on. If anyone has access to Teen Mom UK give that a watch instead, they are poorly paid by MTV and as a result are much more entertaining and likeable.

    1. Yes, exactly, you can’t do porn and be on TMOG but you can be a two time DV perpetrator, no prob! Ridiculous.

    2. If I heard ass shat amber say one more time that people who have bi polar and boderline flip out and physically assault others on a regular basis because they have no self control. I will sue her for false and misleading information . Amber is a violent thug because her mother is one and amber watched her beat the crap out of her dad on the regular. Amber is too lazy and selfish to break the cycle. She truly I’d a disgusting human shit bag.

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