Teen Mom: 15 Shocking Revelations From Maci Bookout’s ‘Bulletproof’
Fans of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant have been following the story of Maci Bookout for the past eight years since she was 16-years-old! She’s come a long way since then both as a mom and reality star. She began starring on the spin-off series Teen Mom and now Teen Mom OG. We’ve watched her go from a scared pregnant teenager to a loving mother with a post-secondary education, successful job and a great relationship with her soon-to-be husband Taylor McKinney. Maci’s been on a reality show for just under 10 years, so no doubt she’s shared a lot with the world and viewers probably feel like they know a lot about her, but when she released her autobiography Bulletproof, we realized we really didn’t. There’s a lot that the cameras didn’t pick up, like how she found out she was pregnant, her relationship with Ryan before Bentley, her private and personal thoughts, the backlash of becoming a reality star and the break down of all her relationships. If you haven’t read her book, don’t fret! We’ve created a list of 15 most shocking revelations from Bulletproof:
15. The Early Days with Ryan
Maci met Ryan through the social network of motorcross. She’s been riding dirt bikes and hanging out at local race tracks since she was little, and it was through this community that she met all of her boyfriends. One day her friend Abby called her and said there was am older guy named Ryan who had seen her around and was interested in meeting her. They connected through MySpace and, although Maci writes that she was adamant she didn’t want a boyfriend, she was definitely interested in Ryan. After a few months of Ryan courting Maci, she caved and allowed him to be her boyfriend. Despite their tumultuous relationship on television, Maci wrote in her book that things between her and Ryan were actually really good before she got pregnant. There was no fighting, no mind games, no conflicts, no trust issues, things seemed perfect. She also said that she never felt pressured by Ryan to take their relationship further. In fact, according to her, it was the other way around. She waited three or four months into their relationship until she couldn’t hold off any longer and they finally slept together.
14. How She Found Out
Maci wrote about the day she found out she was pregnant and said it happened on a Saturday while she was in the shower. The second she stepped into the shower she was hit with a wave of nausea. It was so bad she had to get out of the shower and sit by the toilet. When she was feeling better and got back in the shower she then realized the spray of water was hurting her breasts. The wheels started turning in her head and she knew what the symptoms meant. She didn’t tell anyone for the next few days and tried to ignore it while secretly freaking out in her own head. When Monday rolled around and she was back at school, she knew she had to take a test or she’d drive herself crazy. She found some tests under the sink at home and took one, only to reaffirm what she already suspected. What might be surprising to learn is the next person she told, other than Ryan, was her brother Matt. It was late at night when she texted him to meet her downstairs. After a few moments of silence, she told him. He went with her to the pharmacy to get more tests which were once again positive. He helped set her up with a doctor for her initial check ups until she was ready to confront their parents.
13. It Runs in the Family
Maci’s mom and dad were also teen parents. They’ve been together since they were 15 and at 16 her mom got pregnant with Matt, Maci’s older brother. But their story wasn’t a cautionary tale. They stuck together through it, got married and have now been married for 30 years. “When my mom and dad were teenagers, they were pretty wild. They ran with a rough crowd and partied hard. Not that they were total delinquents. Both of them had great parents and good morals. But my grandparents worked a lot, so there was plenty of time for a couple of fun-loving teenagers to get up to no good,” wrote Maci. They had a fairly laid back parenting style which allowed for a close relationship between them all and an open line of communication, but they had never had the “sex talk.” After a doctor visit and several pregnancy tests she finally told her parents. She texted her mom when she was ready and said she needed to talk to her. After school her parents were both waiting for her and she told them. Their first response wasn’t to get angry, but rather said, “You’re going to keep it, right?” They didn’t lecture her, scream or yell, they just made sure she knew the responsibility. Her dad said: “This is your responsibility. We’ll be here to help you and support you in any way that we can, but this is your child, and this is your job. You’re going to be okay. You’ll be fine. You’ll be able to do this. But it’s going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, and the hardest thing you ever will do in your life.”
12. 16 And Pregnant
A few months into Maci’s pregnancy, she didn’t have a job or any way to save up money, so her mom started looking for maternity modeling opportunities. While browsing different listings, she stumbled across a casting call for a new teen pregnancy documentary on MTV. Maci’s first response was “absolutely not,” but her mom pointed out that it’s an easy way to make money and that it might lead to other opportunities. “Eventually I came around to the idea, enough to write in just a short introduction message. Just a week later, a woman from the casting department called me. I started wading in. Before I knew it, I’d had three different phone calls with this girl that lasted about three hours each. She wanted to know everything, from how many times per year I went to church to what my favorite car was. And when she’d had enough of that, she told me she’d be mailing me a flip cam and a sheet of questions for me to answer. Once that was done, it was off to the races,” she wrote. Like most of the other girls, Maci had no idea what 16 and Pregnant would turn into. At the time she signed up, the show hadn’t even been approved. She thought it would be a one-hour documentary, not a reality television show. When the show aired, she watched it, but it never occurred to her that the whole world was also watching. It wasn’t until she went to the mall afterwards that it hit her — people began asking for her picture and calling her out by name.
11. Her One Regret with MTV
Maci talks a lot about her experience with MTV in her memoir because it was and still is a huge part of her life. Unlike some of the other girls, she doesn’t have any beef with MTV about how she’s been portrayed over the years or the representation of her character. She feels like she’s been fairly portrayed, but she does have one regret that doesn’t sit well with her. She wishes she had been more open on camera about how scared she was and how much she really struggled. In the past two seasons of Teen Mom we’ve seen this side of Maci where she isn’t afraid to admit when things are overwhelming, but in the early days she said she was extremely closed off. “Watching the show, I saw the calm, collected Maci everyone else did. The difference was that I remembered what was really going on inside my head at the time. Eventually, I started to understand how my introverted character became a double-edged sword on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom,” she wrote. She felt like she made it look too easy and like she wasn’t struggling at all. “I wish I’d broken down my walls a little more and shared my emotions on camera. I wished I could have shown people, especially younger girls, how much harder on me it was than it looked.”
10. She Suffered Through Dark Times
After the hustle and bustle of the first few days of motherhood wore off and her parents left her to fend for herself, Maci quickly realized she was alone. She had a fiance whom she lived with and a new baby, but she was emotionally alone. We never saw this side of Maci on camera, but she talks about feeling extremely lonely and depressed. She went from hanging out with friends, playing sports, going to the race track on weekends, to sitting at home by herself day and night. “Whatever Bentley was doing, I was doing. I’d wake up and feed him, watch TV, and we’d just sit around. Babies sleep a lot. So it was just days full of feeding him and watching TV. I tried not to let myself get really depressed about it, but it was very, very lonely. Even when I did manage to see my friends once in awhile and hang out and do things, I just felt lonely. I had no one to share my experience with. I had someone I was supposed to share it with, but he was always somewhere else. There were times when I just sat there at night and thought to myself, ‘How did you get here? Why is this happening?,” she wrote.
9. Her Fault in the Break Up with Ryan
When Maci and Ryan called it quits a few months after Bentley’s first birthday, no one was that surprised. It was obvious that Ryan wasn’t interested in being a father or nurturing a relationship with Maci, but it wasn’t all Ryan’s fault. Maci admits that her personality played a part in their break up. Her communication skills back then were sub par. She was never the type of person to ask for help or open up about what was bothering her because she was scared of sounding “needy or weak.” A few months after Bentley was born, they both knew things weren’t working out, but they decided to push through. But it became clear there was no foundation of love or mutual respect to build on and fix things down the line. She never spoke up about wanting him around until it was too late and neither of them had the desire to work for it. “I could have said it outright. But I didn’t. And maybe that was why he seemed to think it didn’t matter if he was around or not,” she wrote. After all of the what ifs Maci came to terms that it never would have worked with Ryan because there was “no love left to back it up. We had grown too far apart, and we didn’t like each other anymore. I did miss the person I knew before everything changed, and it was hard for me to understand how we went from being so in love and obsessed with each other to literally hating each other.” For a short period of time she thought the break up would cause Ryan to realize what he had lost and snap out of it, but that never happened and he quickly moved on with other girls.
8. Signs of an Absent Father
For a long time Maci chalked up Ryan’s bad parenting to being young and fearful of doing something wrong. But as time went on it was clear he just wasn’t interested. She talks about the first time she realized something was off. She had just been in labor for 37 hours and was delirious from exhaustion and lack of sleep. Bentley started crying, Maci woke up and watched Ryan not even flinch. In that first year of living together, Maci describes Ryan as completely absent. He was at work all day, then after work he’d go to the gym or out for dinner with friends, and by the time he would come home it was straight to bed. When they broke up, it got even worse. Not only was he not being a parent and had passed along his duties to his parents, Jen and Larry. Maci became extremely scared that she would be a single parent with no help along the way, not to mention the damage it would do to Bentley. “The only comfort was that he was too young to realize it. But it drove me crazy to see the days going by, Bentley getting older and growing up, and no progress being made in his relationship with his father. I couldn’t understand what I was witnessing,” she said. It wasn’t long before Bentley would reach the age where he knew his father was making a conscious choice not to spend time with him and she was afraid of what the effects of that might be.
7. Her Beef with Jen and Larry
Unlike some of the other MTV moms, Maci has a really great relationship with Jen and Larry. But it hasn’t always been that way and there have definitely been times in the past when Maci felt like they were enabling Ryan to be an absent father. She was incredibly grateful that Bentley had these loving grandparents to take care of him, but they were allowing Ryan to pass off his responsibilities as a parent. When Bentley’s weekend with his father came, Bentley knew he was going to hang out with his grandparents, not his dad. Her parents would have never allowed that to happen. She felt like they weren’t willing to stick up for her or Bentley when Ryan treated them badly. On top of all that, Jen and Larry were Bentley’s grandparents, not his parents so they didn’t discipline him they way he needed to be. He was spoiled by them and Maci often caught him talking back to Jen. This was the same mistake they’d made with Ryan. It all came to a head one night when Ryan called Maci a b-tch right in front of them. Maci snapped at Jen and said, “He’s like this because you let him be. The only reason he acts like this is because you let him get away with it. You let him talk to you like this, You never make him do anything. You never tell him to be an adult.” Jen broke down crying and Maci left and they never talked about it again. She realized Jen and Larry were in a tough position — they couldn’t discipline Ryan because he was a grown man. But she always wondered what would have happened if they hadn’t stepped in…would Ryan have stepped up to the plate and been the father he was supposed to be?
6. How She Met Kyle
Some fans of Maci might not know this, but she actually had a relationship with Kyle before she met Ryan. She first met Kyle when she was 9 or 10 at the race track. He was her brother’s friend and to him she was just “Matt’s little sister.” When she was in high school they started talking over MySpace and formed a strong friendship. He lived in Nashville so things never went past texting or talking online, but she described their friendship as being very close and flirtatious. It was clear they both had feelings for one another, but neither of them acted on it. When she started dating Ryan, she remained friends with Kyle, but that was it. Their paths crossed again at the Supercross race track a few months after Bentley was born and things with Ryan were headed South. After seeing him she started talking to him regularly again, even if it was just to complain about her relationship with Ryan. When she broke up with Ryan and moved back home, Kyle was there for them to pick up where they left off before Ryan was ever in the picture.
5. The Other Side of Kyle
When Maci moved to Nashville to pursue a relationship with Kyle, he started filming for Teen Mom. When fans saw how great he was with Bentley, he quickly became a fan favorite. What we didn’t see on camera was the tension growing between Maci and Kyle. Despite him committing to a relationship with a woman who had a child, he had serious commitment issues. When they moved from Nashville to Chattanooga things began falling apart. Maci describes a few red flags that we didn’t see on camera, like his lack of ambition and the fact that he hated conflict so he never fought for anything in their relationship. They coasted along comfortably, but not happily until one night when she came home late from a speaking engagement. She went on his laptop (which was left open) to check her emails and saw inappropriate messages with another girl he’d been with before Maci. She left that night. When she came back to pack up all of her stuff, Kyle didn’t even ask about what was wrong. Maci told him her and Bentley were moving out and all he said was, “Okay.” He was totally disengaged. What made matters worse was that the house they were living in was bought by Maci and funded entirely by her, but it was in Kyle’s name because he was older and had better credit. He moved back to Nashville and rented out “her” house out for the next two years. This was a huge lesson learned for Maci.
4. How She Met Taylor
Maci met her current fiance, Taylor, while visiting her friend Cassandra in Texas. Taylor was Cassandra’s best friend and Maci had actually met him once before at a Supercross race (go figure). She was instantly drawn to him because of his laid back attitude and the fact that he had no idea who “Maci from MTV” was. After spending the weekend with her friends and Taylor, she got his phone number and the two began talking. She went to visit him a few more times. He came to visit her and eventually after months of dating she introduced him to Bentley. She took her relationship with Taylor really slow and he was very respectful of her…too respectful! After spending a lot of time together, one night at a Halloween party she confronted on why he had never tried to do anything with her. He said, “I just respect you and what you wanna do so I’m not gonna push you to do anything.” They decided to wait to have sex until they were absolutely sure about each other. After a year and a half of traveling back and forth, they came to a fork in the road. They were either going to call it quits or he was going to move to Chattanooga, which is exactly what he did. Before he moved, they spent months discussing how he was going to fit into Bentley’s life.
3. Becoming a Father Figure
When Taylor moved to Chattanooga it was a big deal not only in terms of his relationship, but because he would have to go from being Bentley’s friend to a father figure. Maci and Taylor spent a lot of time discussing how they would do this before Taylor made the move. They knew there would be some challenges along the way, but Maci said Taylor absolutely mastered fatherhood. There were a few times when Bentley pulled the “You’re not my dad” card, but he handled it well. Eventually he had a conversation with Bentley and said, “I’m not your dad, and I’m not trying to replace your dad. But when you say things like that, it hurts my feelings. I am here for you, and even though you might not like what I’m saying, you still have to respect me as an adult and as someone who takes care of you.” It never happened again after that. Not only did Taylor and Bentley get along, Taylor became “T-Money” to him and he went on to coach Bentley’s Little League team. When Bentley started asking if he should call Taylor “dad” Maci was once again torn up about his absent biological father. She wrote: “Didn’t it bother him to see another man filling that role in Bentley’s life when he still couldn’t be counted on to spend some time with the kid over the weekend? And what about later? What if years down the line Ryan did decide he wanted to show up and be a dad? Would all Taylor’s work and sacrifice for Bentley go out the window?”
2. Negative Side Effects From Being a Reality Star
Maci has stated that she never intended on being a reality star so she wasn’t prepared for what came with it. Because she was a public figure, people felt like they knew her when they only saw what she calls “Maci from MTV.” She would never get used to total strangers coming up to her and asking personal questions about her life or offering up their advice. It caused a huge strain on her life, especially her personal relationships. Being on a television show allows for people to hear what is being said behind their backs and it can be hard to not let it affect the relationship. She quickly learned that making friends was going to be harder. She had to figure out who wanted to be friends with Maci from Teen Mom and who was interested in her as a person. She said there’s a huge misconception that because she’s on TV she has all this fame and fortune. But in reality, reality stars get the “shit end of the deal: Everyone knows your name and talks about you, but there’s no red-carpet prestige or glamorous piles of money…I still live in Chattanooga and go to Wal-Mart and buy bread and milk.” Also, because she was a “trashy reality star” people were condescending and the media would try to portray her in a bad light. She had to work really hard to get respect and she quickly became conscious of what she was saying, the topics she spoke about and to not let people talk down to her.
1. Getting Pregnant, Again
Once Maci was settled in with Taylor and marriage was on the table for both of them, Maci found out she had polycystic ovary syndrome. She was put on Depo Provera birth control injections to treat it. After a bit of online research she learned that PCOS was one of the leading causes of infertility. When she asked her doctor about it, she said that’s not an issue she should be worried about. She stayed on birth control for the next few years, but was worried she might be putting herself at risk. She saw a fertility specialist to ask about her chances of getting pregnant and the specialist told, “You might as well go off birth control because you’re not creating any eggs.” Her doctor eventually agreed. She talked it over with Taylor and they both decided she should go off birth control. A few months later she had her blood tested and despite going off birth control, her hormones were still completely out of whack and it became clear to her that her body was a “No Pregnancy Zone.” She didn’t want a baby at that moment, but she knew she eventually would. They were upset, but decided to go with the flow. One night while watching having a beer and watching football, Maci began feeling some weird symptoms. When the game was over they went out and bought a pregnancy test only to find out she was pregnant! She had come full circle, but this time things were different.