When fans watch the drama unfold on their favorite reality shows, it is hard not wonder what the networks pay people to air their dirty laundry on television. Thanks to non-disclosure agreements, confirming a reality star’s salary can be tricky. But, there is enough information out there to get an idea of what MTV is paying the stars of Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2, and it seems the ladies and their baby daddies have come a long way since being on 16 & Pregnant.
According to Radar Online, the original teen moms – Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, Amber Portwood, and Catelynn Lowell – currently make $25,000 per episode. But, this is a level they had to work up to. Starting out, many of the moms earned around $20,000 for an entire season, and they also get $1,000 bonuses for reunions and special episodes.
The salaries vary from mom to mom, and per In Touch Weekly, being a reality star mama can be lucrative. However, it doesn’t mean the money is necessarily life-changing. In Bookout’s 2015 book Bulletproof, she wrote that being on reality TV can make you famous, but you can get the bad end of the deal.
“Everyone knows your name and talks about you, but there’s no red-carpet prestige or glamorous piles of money. Once you become a so-called reality TV star, people immediately think you’re a high-end celebrity, and you travel the world and have a mansion and so much money and all these other things they associate with having your face on television. The fact is, my real life isn’t that much different from what it would have been without MTV. I still live in Chattanooga and go to Wal-Mart and buy bread and milk,” wrote Bookout.
When it comes to the original baby daddies – Ryan Edwards, Gary Shirley, and Tyler Baltierra – they each earn $25,000 a season. But, Portwood’s ex-fiancé, Matt Baier, earned $5,000-$10,000 an episode.
According to Chelsea Houska’s baby daddy, Adam Lind, she earned $250,000 in season six, and Ashley’s Reality Roundup backed up his claim.
Teen Mom 2 News: Chelsea Houska Set To Face Adam Lind In Court To Change Daughter's Surname https://t.co/aWevAFRDeg Chelsea Houska will start the new year with another legal battle against her ex-boyfriend Adam Lind.
— To Live Like Jesus (@ToLiveLikeJesus) December 11, 2017
The newest cast member of Teen Mom 2, Briana DeJesus reportedly earned just $20,000 for her debut season, but Jenelle Evans, Leah Messer, and Kailyn Lowry all brought in $300,000.
Staying on the show long-term can end up being financially beneficial. Abraham has amassed a $3.6 million fortune thanks to Teen Mom, Couples Therapy, and Single AF. Of course, she also makes money from marketing deals and appearances on the adult website CamSoda. She has built herself into a brand more than any other mom on either show.
Lowell and Baltierra have made enough money to buy cars for their mothers and a boob job for his sister. They also reportedly raked in $100,000 for appearing on Couples Therapy.
PopCulture reports that when Portwood faced charges of domestic violence and neglect in 2011, the court forced her to reveal her salary, which ended up being $140,000 per six-month contract. Considering the annual raises MTV seems to give out, who knows how much she is making six years later?
Teen Mom airs Monday nights on MTV.