Teen Mom is an MTV television series that pulls four girls from the most popular stories featured on its predecessor 16 and Pregnant. Since its debut in 2009, both shows have polarized public opinion on the tastefulness of airing the realities and hardships that come with young motherhood. This is a comprehensive overview of popular Teen Mom stars’ 2015 net worth.
Though MTV has a flair for lavishness and over-the-top productions (think Lady Gaga “bleeding” on the VMA awards stage), there is nothing glamorous about what the viewers see of the Teen Mom lifestyle. Throughout the course of the three Teen Mom seasons, we see the rotation of young moms struggle with routine expenses to provide for their families as the majority of them seek out ways to find their career paths through higher education.
We all know about the tricks of “reality television,” and we all know that MTV has to take a certain stance in order to make the Teen Mom series work. As America sees a growing trend in the increase of young pregnancies, MTV knows better than to glorify the lifestyle of 16-year-old mothers. Does the moral undertone warning against unplanned pregnancies for high-school aged women undermine what Teen Mom stars actually earn? Or are Teen Mom stars really as underpaid as they appear to be? The Squander takes a look.
Jenelle Evans, Teen Mom 2 Net Worth: $30,000
Jenelle Evans is a particularly infamous Teen Mom star thanks to her Bonnie-and-Clyde type relationships that have resulted in a relatively extensive arrest record.
After being arrested over ten times, it’s reasonable to assume she has a lot of legal expenses. And given the fact she’s gone on the record about her past drug habit, it’s also pretty reasonable to assume that she’s spent a considerable amount of her income on this.
Add in the fact that her contract with MTV prevents her from doing any endorsement deals not approved or set-up by MTV (probably due to her criminal record), and we can see why her net worth is only an estimated $30,000 despite allegedly being paid $75,000 per season and being a cast member in five seasons.
Though one source alleged that Jenelle made as much as $100,000 per season, she shot those rumors down after playfully re-posting the article with a question mark and laughing emoticon.
Although she likely did not make as much during the first season of Teen Mom 2, her legal hardships came and went as her pay increased, and we think she’s just starting to financially recover, which can be the cause of her low net worth.
Leah Messer, Teen Mom 2 Net Worth: $50,000
West Virginia native Leah Messer is the mother of twin girls, one who is special needs. Leah’s first Teen Mom debut was what initially sparked a firestorm of questions pertaining to the moms’ salaries after viewers took notice to the small trailer she lived in which was unequipped with even a proper bathtub for the twins.
Now, despite an apparently much more spacious new home four seasons later, financial woes are still the subject of Messer’s story as she frequently fights with her now ex-husband, Jeremy Calvert, over spending habits in the latest and purportedly final season.
Messer took to Twitter after she faced backlash from viewers who watched her and Calvert get into it last season after she bought Mary Kay products. She responded to the criticism by tweeting “You guys do seem to forget that this is reality TV and many things are edited to fit timing… This would seem to back up the theory that MTV creates a different lifestyle for its Teen Mom stars for the cameras.
Either way, she reportedly earns the exact same amount per season as Jenelle Evans at $75,000 a season according to OK! Magazine, but has done a better job saving thanks to being arrested ten less times.
Chelsea Houska, Teen Mom 2 Net Worth: $60,000
Fan-favorite Chelsea Houska, though she averages the same per episode as her cast mates, is reportedly worth $60,000 according to multiple media reports.
Ok! Magazine reported that Houska had a savings of $40,000 back in 2013, and since then she has acquired her “dream job” at a spa using the esthetics license viewers watched her earn.
Many reports discuss Houska’s already well-off upbringing living under established dentist and show regular, father Randy Houska, but he has repeatedly insisted that public reports on his income are wrong.
Amber Portwood, Teen Mom Net Worth: $10,000
CelebrityNetWorth.com claims season one and original cast member Amber Portwood is only worth $10,000 and that’s because she blew through a lot of money. The most conclusive facts about Teen Mom salaries stems from her own legal troubles that forced her to reveal her earnings for her participation in two seasons: $280,000.
At $140,000 a season, the difference in pay between her and the earnings of moms in the later seasons is hefty and we really can’t find an explanation for this.
And though she told Dr. Phil that she was “high on drugs the entire time I filmed Teen Mom,” also incredible is that she only has $10 thousand to show for it. Amber Portwood’s story raises a lot of questions about the Teen Mom legacy.
Farrah Abraham, Teen Mom Net Worth: $1 million
Perhaps the only Teen Mom alum with a net worth to brag about is mom-turned adult entertainer Farrah Abraham.
The single mom has an estimated worth of over $1 million as a result of the release of multiple sex tapes, a stint on VH1’s Couples Therapy, and a residency at Austin Palazio’s Gentlemen’s Club.
She claims the contract with the Gentleman’s Club is worth $544,000 alone. The $100,000 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan she bought in August 2014 is certainly a testament to this.
It seems like Abraham made the wise choice to pursue further endeavors and not sweat not being invited back for consequent seasons of Teen Mom. We don’t know about you, but we might reconsider rolling our eyes with the rest of the world when another one of her bikini photo shoots makes news.
2015 Update: This year Abraham significantly increased her net worth by creating her own line of sex toys made from molds of her body parts.
“It’s the realest feeling thing on the market. I think it’s better for the world because men can control themselves. It’s safe sex,” she enthused in her HollywoodLife.com podcast interview.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about exactly how much the Teen Mom cast is paid and how much each woman is worth. Judging solely on the number of successful Teen Mom seasons, it’s surprising that some of these ladies have such low net worth despite their long tenure. One thing is for sure, MTV absolutely does not want the information to be made public.
It could possibly be attributed to the network’s desire to create the appearance of impoverished and struggling young mothers in order to fall in line with a moral storyline, or it could genuinely be because these women are underpaid and MTV is capitalizing on profit margins. Either way, it’s not good.