Teen Mom 2: Revelations From Leah Messer’s Book “Hope, Grace & Faith”Published on April 24, 2020.
Teen Mom 2‘s Leah Messer is one of the most private of the Teen Mom franchise stars. Despite having shared her incredible life with MTV fans for over 10 years now, she isn’t the one often found in the headlines. Now, Messer is following in the footsteps of several other Teen Mom cast members including Kailyn Lowry, Farrah Abraham, Jenelle Evans, and Maci Bookout who have shared their side of their story through books. It goes without saying that not everything seen on Teen Mom 2 is the full story, and now Messer is holding nothing back in her new book Hope, Grace & Faith, which was titled after the middle names of her three daughters. From storylines fans thought they knew, to things the camera never showed, here are the most surprising revelations from the book:
Since fans started getting to know Leah from her pregnancy at 17 years old, not much is known about her childhood. In her book, Leah reveals a lot that fans didn’t know about her tumultuous and at times traumatic childhood. Among many sad revelations about her parents’ relationship, Leah opened up about how it impacted her and her siblings. Leah revealed that she and her siblings moved constantly with their mom throughout her childhood, and she missed quite a bit of school in the process. “Between sixth and seventh grade I went to three different schools and lived in four or five different homes in almost as many towns,” she shares. She also revealed that she began getting sick so often that she missed school for months at a time. “I started getting sick all the time. I don’t know if it was all the stress breaking down my immune system or if I was just prone, but I got strep throat so many times that I barely went to school the rest of the year. I’d come down with a sore throat and a fever and then be out for weeks at a time.” Eventually after fighting in school and developing anxiety, she ended up staying home for the rest of seventh grade and all of eighth grade. “I don’t remember reading a single book or filling out any work-sheets that year. At some point, I took a test that allowed me to technically pass eighth grade, but I didn’t step foot inside a classroom again until high school,” she revealed.
Relationship With Her Dad
Over her decade on TV, Leah has only rarely opened up about her biological father, and in her book she explains just why that relationship became so strained. After her parents’ constant fighting when Leah’s father became addicted to drugs, they broke up and made up several times before Leah’s mother Dawn finally kicked him out. Leah and her siblings saw their father sporadically throughout their childhood, but each visit only brought on more trauma. “He’d been in a couple of car wrecks and suffered a stroke a few years earlier, so one side of his face was drooping. His hair was all greasy and he was missing a bunch of his teeth. He had allowed me to bring my little wiener dog, Leo, for the weekend, and we knew he was out of it because he kept calling Leo a cat and made me keep him in the bathtub,” she said of one particular visit with her father before revealing he then beat her with a switch after she crossed the road unsupervised to look for cans to help her dad get money. Eventually, she reunited with her father later in life and he ended up aiding her when she became addicted to prescription pills following a botched epidural during her daughter Addie’s birth. After her mother helped get her clean, she went to her dad’s and erased everything she had just done. “I stopped in to check on my dad and he gave me Lortab—just to take the edge off,” Leah shares in the book.
Relationship With Her Mom
There is no doubt that Leah Messer’s book is more sad and surprising than any fan could have prepared for, but one of the most surprising revelations is Leah’s details about her relationship with her mother. Although they seem like the best of friends on-camera, Leah did not hold back at all in describing the physical and emotional abuse she suffered from her mother’s anger. Later her mother learned she had bipolar disorder, but refused to take her medications. Leah even describes being pressured by her mother into sleeping with a friend. “She’d either be so strict it was embarrassing or she’d want to hang out and act like she was the young cool mom—which was also embarrassing. There was no middle ground; it was always one extreme or the other,” Leah described of her mom “hanging out” with Leah, her sister Victoria and her friends. “We were all sitting around the living room, talking and hanging out, when my mom came into the room with an empty wine bottle and said we should play spin the bottle,” Leah writes of the night. After playing for a while, Leah’s friend Mike spun and it landed beside Leah in an empty space: “My mom leaned over and pushed the bottle so that it was pointing right at me. I shook my head and said, “No way,” but she started wrestling with me and telling me I had to do it. I was laughing, because I thought she was just teasing me, but then she started pushing both of us towards the bedroom I shared with Victoria. The next thing I knew I was in the room with Mike and my mom was holding the door shut from the other side so I couldn’t get out.” She adds, “I didn’t want to kiss Mike, much less have sex with him, but that’s exactly what happened. He didn’t force himself on me. I think he was actually as nervous and uncomfortable as I was […] It was easier to just let it happen than to think about why my mom had pushed me into that room in the first place […] I remember my mom laughing as we walked out. Then I think she just lost interest because she went to bed shortly after.”
Stepping Into MTV
After a tumultuous childhood, Leah ended up meeting Corey Simms through her then-boyfriend Will. Fans are well-aware that Leah and Corey ended up getting pregnant on the night of her Junior Prom only two months into dating. After getting over the shock of not only being pregnant, but being pregnant with twins, it was actually Leah’s mom who initiated her audition for MTV’s 16 & Pregnant. “We didn’t really take it seriously, but we figured “why not?” It seems like a million years ago now, but I just remember the two of us sitting on the couch, cracking up the whole time because it felt so silly. My mom told me to look into the camera and say, “Hi, my name is Leah Messer. I’m from Elkview, West Virginia, and I’m having twins,” but I could barely get through the line without busting out laughing. Eventually, Corey and I pulled it together. We talked about how we met and the things we liked to do. Finally, she got a usable take out of us. Then she sent off the tape and I honestly forgot all about it,” she shares in the book. A couple of weeks later, Leah got the call that would change her life forever: “At the end of the call, she said that they had never had a set of twins on 16 and Pregnant and that she wanted me to be the focus of an episode in the next season. My life would never be the same again.”
The Twins’ Arrival
Much of Leah’s storyline in Teen Mom 2 has been around her daughter Ali’s life living with muscular dystrophy, but they had no indication anything was wrong until the girls were born. “She unwrapped the blanket, and that’s when I saw that her legs were stuck up over her head and her hands were hyperextended back towards her elbows. They had swaddled her twisted up like that because they didn’t want to force her limbs down before they were ready. The photos we took of her in the hospital are hard for me to look at even now.” Leah went on to describe that they were told it was “fairly common” and they could not get an answer on what was happening with Ali until the twins were almost three years old. “For the first three years of Ali’s life, I felt like I was holding my breath. We took her to children’s hospitals as close as Charleston, West Virginia, and as far as Lexington, Kentucky, where she was tested for everything from a spinal injury to skeletal and neuromuscular disorders. We met with so many different specialists it made our heads spin—geneticists, neurologists, orthopedists, and neuromuscular specialists. They took X-rays of her legs, did blood work and genetic testing, and put her through multiple MRIs—and because she was so little she had to be sedated, which was traumatic for all of us. My mater-nal instinct was screaming that there was more going on with her than just a developmental delay, but none of the doctors we took her to seemed to be able to tell me why she wasn’t reaching those early milestones.”
One of the biggest surprises that Leah shares in her book is what really caused her split from Corey. Fans of Teen Mom 2 were shocked when the pair split after six months of marriage when Leah admitted that she had cheated with her ex Robbie Kidd only one week before her wedding to Corey. In the book Leah reveals that she had actually told Corey about the cheating early on and they had worked through it, and the entire break-up over the cheating was fabricated on-screen. “We talked and cried for hours. It was one of those relationship-defining conversations where you both admit to the doubts you’ve had and the mistakes you’ve made and then come to the realization that what really matters is what happens next […] For the next six months, we were in a really good place.” She then reveals that after she had thought they put it behind them, they began fighting over her wanting to move and Corey wanting a new truck, and when filming began for season two, producers wanted the story and Corey brought up the cheating. “I got a call from one of the producers who said she had talked to Corey and he had told her that we were splitting up because I cheated on him. I was taken aback that this was coming up now, even though we had agreed six months earlier to put it behind us, but she said it was still an important part of our story and Corey had already agreed to film about it.” She adds, “What bothers me about how it all played out isn’t that I got called out on the show for cheating on Corey, it’s that I felt like I had been manipulated into a situation where it looked like I had been lying to him about it and that’s why our marriage fell apart [..] I still believe that we might have been able to work through our problems, but once he put it out there that I had cheated he start-ed getting pressure from everyone around him. We had parents involved, we had producers involved, we had an entire show involved, and the next thing I knew he hired an attorney and we were filing for a divorce.”
The Main Issue
After her marriage to Corey ended, Leah moved on with Jeremy Calvert and fans watched as their relationship grew, they married, welcomed a daughter together, and eventually also split and divorced. Despite all the issues fans did see play out on-screen leading up to their split, it turns out one major component was hidden from the cameras: Leah’s dad. Leah’s dad came back into her life when Jeremy and her sister Victoria surprised her by buying him a plane ticket for her birthday. “He stayed with us for a week or so and he seemed to be doing well. Then Jeremy offered him a job working on the pipeline as his assistant so he could move back to West Virginia and be closer to his grandchildren,” she reveals. “Throughout our marriage, Jeremy and I were constantly fighting about money, but one of our biggest issues was how much I was giving to my dad (which ended up adding up to almost $40,000). Meanwhile, Jeremy was stressed out at work because he said my dad was out of his mind half the time and never let the pill bottle leave his side, but he felt obligated to cover for him.”
There are a lot of things that Leah shares in Hope, Grace & Faith that will surprise and shock, but perhaps her biggest bombshell is about a pregnancy she had early on in her relationship with Jeremy. Although on the series it was presented as a miscarriage when she lost the baby at eight weeks, Messer emotionally reveals in her book that she actually chose to the end pregnancy. She also revealed it was a plan made to look like a miscarriage. “[My mom] got on the phone with Jessica, and together they came up with a plan to make it look like I was having a miscarriage.” In the end Jeremy, MTV, the media were all told that Leah had lost the baby. “I can look back now without regret, but for the longest time, I wasn’t okay with the choice I had made. It felt so dark because it was hidden. I wasn’t able to talk publicly or privately about it because I let the people who were closest to me at the time convince me that it was some-thing I needed to hide. It wasn’t until I was finally able to bring myself to tell Jeremy what had really happened that I started to realize that as long as I was living with the lie it would keep eating away at me.”
Despite ending the pregnancy, later that same year after Jeremy and Leah were married, Leah became pregnant again, but yet again it wasn’t what it seemed. Although Jeremy and Leah went on to have Addie, Leah revealed she was actually their “rainbow baby” because they didn’t intend to be pregnant at all. ” Jeremy and I were not thinking clearly when we made the decision not to use a condom on our wedding night. After what I had just gone through, I didn’t want to take any chances, so as soon as we got back home to West Virginia I took Plan B. Well, lit-tle miss Addie wasn’t letting anything—not emergency contraception and definitely not a snowstorm—stop her from coming into this world.”
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The Pill Problem
Although Leah ended up with another beautiful daughter in Addie Calvert, it turns out it was her traumatic birth that led Leah into her problem with prescription pills. “With Addie, they discharged me with refill prescriptions for Tylenol 3 (with codeine), Lortab (which is a combination of hydroco-done and acetaminophen) and Percocet (which is oxyco-done and acetaminophen). This time I took them all be-cause the spinal headaches were so bad. There were times during those first few months that Jeremy would have to carry me from the couch to the bed because I couldn’t stand up on my own. Eventually, I got to the point where I could function and get through the day if I was taking the pills, so I would take them just to help me get out of bed in the morning and keep going,” Leah revealed.
Eventually, Leah couldn’t function with the pills, and admits that “what really knocked me out was the Diazepam.” Fans of the series will remember that almost an entire season showed Leah nodding off on camera, and Corey confronting her about her pill use, all of which she denied, but it turns out it was all true. She even admits she didn’t even remember filming some things. “I start to realize something is really wrong with me when one of the executive producers tells me that I couldn’t keep my eyes open on camera. The crazy thing is, I didn’t even know I was that out of it when they were filming […] A lot of that period of my life is just a blackout to me. Even though people will tell me I did things. I don’t remember, or I’ll watch footage of myself on the show and have no memory of it.” Unfortunately, things got very dark for Leah in this time and in the book she writes about strongly considering taking her own life. “I press my foot down on the gas and watch as the needle on the speedometer goes from 80…to 90…to 110 mph. It’s dark and there’s no one else on road. I’ve driven down this stretch of Mink Shoals Hill a thousand times. There’s a steep cliff off the side of the road just up ahead. It would be so easy to drive my car over the edge. Then it would all be over. No more worries. No more failure. No more pain.Instead, I slow down and pull over to the side of the road. I turn off the engine and put my head down on the steering wheel. A lifetime of tears comes pouring out of the deepest part of my soul. I cry so hard I wonder if I’ll ever be able to stop. Then a thought cuts through the deafening static in my brain: My daughters need me.”
Despite so many ups and downs and eventually reaching the darkest part of her life, Leah also describes her journey to getting help. Once again, fans saw a different side of this on the show because at the time Leah insisted she was seeking treatment for mental health, not pill addiction, but she revealed she did that so she wouldn’t lose custody of her twins. ” I had met up with Corey before I left and told him I was going away for a little while to get the help I needed, but instead of feeling supported for taking that step towards recovery, it felt like the focus was getting me to admit that I was an addict on camera. It put me on the defense, so I felt like I couldn’t tell him where I was going or why. I was terrified he might use it against me in court,” she reveals. Even with some hurdles, Leah finished treatment and rebuilt her life with her three daughters. “I’m still working on myself, growing as a person, and striving to be the best mother I can be. It isn’t always easy. I am tested daily, but if I stumble, I pick myself up again and keep moving forward.