After a months-long legal fight, June “Mama June” Shannon‘s custody battle with daughter Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird (née Shannon) over Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson came to an end when a judge awarded Efird sole custody of her younger sister. But why did Shannon lose custody of her youngest daughter? Keep scrolling below for everything we know.
Thompson, 16, initially rose to fame on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras in 2012. Following her popularity on the series, she and her family went on to star in their own spinoff, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which aired on the network between 2012 and 2017. After a brief break from reality TV, the Shannon family returned to the spotlight with We TV’s Mama June: From Not to Hot in 2017. The show was later rebranded to Mama June: Family Crisis and Mama June: Road to Redemption.
Shannon, 42, documented her struggles with addiction on the series. In March 2019, she was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. At the time, her then-boyfriend Eugene “Geno” Doak was also arrested and charged with third-degree domestic violence, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Thompson moved in with older sister Efird, 22, and Efird’s husband, Josh Efird.
That September, Shannon and Doak faced felony charges stemming from the March arrest and their attorney entered a not guilty plea on their behalf. In April 2020, their criminal trial was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. That same year, Shannon and Doak entered the Banyan Treatment Facility in Florida where they sought treatment for substance abuse and began their sobriety journeys.
Shannon and Doak were sentenced in August 2021. As part of a plea agreement, Shannon was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, court supervision and other conditions that included random drug screenings, according to E! News. Doak was sentenced to 16 months in the community corrections program. Shannon and Doak later split the following month.
Shannon opened up about her family’s new dynamic as Efird took on a guardian role for her younger sister amid their mother’s legal and addiction struggles. “[Lauryn] is doing really, really good,” she exclusively told In Touch in March 2021. “Even though she didn’t have to step up [as a mother figure], she did, and you know, in our family … we’ve always stuck together.”
After caring for her sister as a guardian for nearly two years, Efird filed for custody in December 2021, according to court documents obtained by In Touch. On April 11, a judge awarded sole custody of Thompson to Efird. Along with the new custody arrangement, Shannon was ordered to pay Efird $800 in child support per month for Thompson.
In May, Shannon celebrated 29 months sober.
Shannon opened up about the custody battle while speaking to Page Six on Monday, June 13. “People don’t understand the custody thing,” she said. “It’s not that somebody ‘lost custody.’ In the state of Georgia, you do temporary guardianship every year, and [Alana] had been living with Pumpkin [since] my addiction.”
“At the age of 12, you’re able to make your choice, so Alana made that choice to stay in that environment,” Shannon said of her youngest daughter. “It’s not like I don’t see Alana, it’s not that I don’t talk to her because I do see her, I do talk to her, we do communicate.”
“The only difference is that she’s not sitting here right beside me in my home every day,” the reality star added.
Shannon added that she’s “proud” of Efird for stepping in to help with taking care of Thompson. “I’m very thankful for her because the situation could’ve been a lot different because Alana doesn’t have that relationship with her father,” she said.
“Pumpkin stepping up, I’m very grateful because it could’ve turned into a bad situation,” Shannon continued. “At the time Alana went to go live with Pumpkin at the beginning, I couldn’t even take care of my own self, more less take care of anybody else.”
During a preview clip shared by TooFab from the July 15 episode of their WeTV series, Lauryn is seen handing June custody papers for Alana during a girls’ trip to Las Vegas.
“Some of the things that you do, like the spending money, the guys, like, Alana’s custody stuff needs to be redone and I want basically to just put Alana with me permanently,” Lauryn said to her mother. “It’s an affidavit of custody.”
“I mean, look, this being served with papers after an amazing time here in Vegas kind of slapped me in the face,” Mama June responded. “This was supposed to be a fun girls trip and now it’s like, what the f–k.”
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