'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood: Is Her Salary Too High?

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If there's one lesson all young viewers viewers should learn from watching Teen Mom, it's that parenting is incredibly challenging and probably not the sort of lifestyle you're ready for when you're still in high school.

Unless you can get a reality deal out of it, that is. Because if you can make that happen, you'll be earning the kind of salary most adults can only dream about.

Amber Portwood, the 20-year-old who got pregnant at 16, got snapped up by MTV, and was recently jailed for allegedly abusing her babydaddy, makes—are you ready for this?—$280,000 per year.

Portwood's legal troubles are the reason her salary has been made public. While shooting Teen Mom, MTV cameras recorded Portwood hitting Gary Shirley, her ex-fiancee and father of her child. She was booked on two felony counts and a misdemeanor for domestic battery on December 27, and upon being released from jail on a $5,000 bond, she appeared before a Madison County magistrate who ordered her to reveal her earnings.

Portwood stated her occupation was being a "television personality." When asked to reveal her salary, her lawyer initially objected, but was overruled. Portwood was forced to disclose that she makes $140,000 with a six-month MTV contract, for a $280,000 annual paycheck.

So many questions. Is that a typical Teen Mom salary, and if so, why do they always seem so broke? Or did Amber get a special deal for being a man-smacking trainwreck? Finally: is that money going to her kid's eventual counseling needs? Or for stilettos and more ill-advised tattoos?

The really sick thing is that as inflated as that salary sounds, it's probably nothing compared to what MTV is pulling in for Teen Mom. I can't decide if I should be disgusted that Amber is earning this kind of money, or outraged that MTV is paying her such a small percentage of their pregnant-teen-fueled profits.

Actually, I think I'm just depressed that these shows are so insanely popular.

What's your take on Amber Portwood's $280K salary?



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reality tv, television

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kelli... kelli0585

It's a little odd. 


This also makes me wonder how much the other girl got for going through with the abortion on the spin-off show.


Puts a whole new spin on things, doesn't it?

Jennifer McBroom Yantz

I've wondered about their salary, and why the Teen Mom's still seem broke.  But if they weren't broke it wouldn't be nearly as interesting.  I don't watch Kate + 8 anymore because I no longer relate to them now that they are wealthy.  Maybe MTV has figured out some way to defer the salary so that they receive it in the future.  I hope some of it is being saved for the future of the children.

angev... angevil53

the sad thing is, no one can tell her she has to put that toward her kid at all. she is earning it, and as long as her child is cared for the state will not step in. though it would be smart for gary to get custody of the child for child support since he rarely wants to work as it is.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

She need to put that money in a saving account for her daughter's college instead of using it on herslef. It's ok to your self once in a while but not all of the time espcailly when you her daughters things.

Shanin22 Shanin22

I've only watched the show a few times, but wasn't there an episode where her daughter didn't even have crib sheets? She makes that much money and her daughter doesn't even have sheets on her bed? I understand MTV wanting it to look real since most teen moms really are broke and going through many hardships. But she couldn't even provide the basics to her kid?

Annie Schultz Singler

Im wondering how many girls are going to run out and get knocked up so they can send in their interview tapes to Teen Mom...

nonmember avatar nonmember

Interesting because I remember when she left Gary one of those many times she ran out and got on assistance. I wonder how much the rest of them are making and why they keep whining that they are broke.

nonmember avatar sooboo

This seems pretty unbelievable especially since Mtv has a reputation for underpaying their uh.... talent or performers or whatever it is we call the Ambers of the world.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran

I'm not an Amber fan, but I do know a bit more about reality shows and contracts than your average person, and it always seems soooo much more lucrative than it actually is.  A 6-month 140,000 contract does not equate to 280,000 per year, unless she has TWO contracts, which as far as I can tell she does not.  We did a Discovery Health show and made X amount of dollars for a 3-day shoot - but you can't take that information and infer that we make X amount of dollars for an entire year full of 3-day shoots unless we're actually under contract for them, which we were not.


For our show, they spent 40+ HOURS fimling us to get 15 MINUTES of footage.  Considering the INCREDIBLE amount of time and energy that goes into taping, I can almost guarantee you that whatever money she's made off the show is NOT worth it. It probably doesn't even add up to minimum wage at the end of the day considering how many hours she has probably had to give them to get her face on TV for a few minutes.  Let's not forget she's paying taxes on that, and probably fees to management/agents/whoever else has their hands in the pot.


It's just not all it's cracked up to be.  But MTV SHOULD be paying these girls something.  Doing any television, even reality television, is a HUGE amount of work and stress.

Emily Chappell-Root

This is ridiculous. Assuming the contract is as stated, she should have at least 10% of that no matter what actual cash in hand or whatnot. I'm sorry, but if my family of about to be 5 can make it on 25K, she should be able to pay all her bills and be comfortable on 28K.

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