Gary Shirley Testifies in Favor of Amber Portwood in Custody Case of Son James: 'I am Very Proud of Her'

Gary Shirley Testifies in Favor of Amber Portwood in Custody Case of Son James: 'I am Very Proud of Her'

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Apr. 27 2022, Published 1:30 p.m. ET

It's been a turbulent ride for Teen Mom's Amber Portwood and ex Gary Shirley. Domestic violence, substance abuse, co-parenting and heartache; they've been through a lot both together and apart.

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Now, Portwood finds herself battling over a custody issue for her son James - and Shirley is showing up to support her. Shirley took the stand in the custody case, in support of Portwood. According to him she has changed, and he's proud of the person she's become.

Gary Supports Amber in Custody Case

teen mom gary shirley testify amber portwood custody son james
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Portwood is currently in court battling with ex Andrew Glennon, father of and custodial parent for their three-year-old son James.

Glennon has filed with the court to move to California with James, to live in his mom's Malibu mansion. In addition, Glennon wants $125K in back child support. Currently, Glennon has custody of their son and lives in an Indiana home near Portwood that she owns.

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Glennon has said that there are no career opportunities for him in Indiana, and by moving to Malibu it provides the best future for their child. But it would make it increasingly difficult for Portwood to remain in the child's life, which raises the burden of proof significantly for the court.

Shirley took the stand to testify on Portwood's behalf, hoping that his words will convince the court to give her more time with her son and prevent the move - because she's not the person she was when Glennon received custody.

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The Ashley's Reality Roundup reports, "'Amber is a different person now than she was with me, and she is a different person than she was even a year and a half ago,' Gary told the court in March, according to The Sun.

As ‘Teen Mom’ fans know, Gary and Amber had a tumultuous relationship, consisting of multiple breakups, physical fights, arrests and more. However, according to Gary, he is proud of the person Amber is today at nearly 31 years old.

'I do notice more positive things. Actually, I am very proud of her. It’s a great responsibility that she has,' he said."

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There could be few voices as compelling in favor of Portwood as is Gary's. If anyone has seen her at her worst and is best able to judge improvements, it's Shirley. The court will have a good idea of what kind of mom she can be now - thanks to Shirley's honesty.

Gary and Amber's Relationship

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Here's a look back at how we got to the Amber and Gary we know today:

"When we first met Portwood and Shirley, they were still basically kids. Portwood was in high school, pregnant with their daughter Leah, and Shirley was working as a CNA after graduation. From the start, it was clear that they were both focused on the future – but struggling to contend with the present. Early in their relationship, Shirley proposed, looking to solidify their future together with baby Leah on the way.

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In 2009, a year after Leah was born, the couple split after tensions reached a boiling point. The following year – they were back together and engaged again. Viewers cringed as Shirley re-proposed and Portwood scolded him on his method and wording. Continuing on that theme, it was clear that all was not better in Amber/Gary land and they separated again soon after. It was revealed that Portwood was struggling with addiction and she was arrested for domestic violence.

By 2011, they were back together, and Shirley visited Portwood in rehab to work on their relationship together. However, Portwood did not complete a rehab stint and ended up serving 17 months behind bars for drug possession and domestic violence. During her prison sentence, they split and Shirley began dating someone new, Kristina – also receiving custody of Leah.

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In 2015, Shirley shared with Portwood that he and girlfriend Kristina were expecting a baby together. Portwood later had another baby with her new boyfriend.

And where did that leave Shirley? Well – he took Portwood’s on-screen advice and married girlfriend Kristina, and they’ve been together ever since. That same year, Shirley decided to give entrepreneurship a go and released a line of condoms – yes, really. Then, he pursued a life’s dream and became a police officer.

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On Instagram, the Teen Mom favorite often shares recipes and sweet moments from his life with wife Kristina and daughters Leah and Emilee. Throughout the on and off relationship with Portwood, fans felt that Shirley got the raw end of the deal; he seemed to genuinely try to make their relationship work, as Portwood spiraled.

Luckily, he’s made his dreams come true and now has the family and career he always longed for. And there’s extra good news – Portwood and Shirley co-parent well together now."

Seeing Shirley stand up for Portwood after everything really speaks volumes about how much progress she's made. His voice may be the best one in her corner right now - and may make her case the strongest for why she should still be more readily involved in James' life.

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