For the better part of the last decade, the stars of Teen Mom OG have decided to live their life in front of a camera — thanks to not only their long-lasting reality show, but also social media. Still, many of the stars have been able to keep some aspects of their privates lives actually (for lack of a better word), private. Of course, most of these stars have learned (the hard way) that they can only keep their secrets secret for so long.
Just ask Ryan Edwards. For years, fans of the show watched as Maci Bookout’s baby daddy seemed to be off. No one knew exactly what was wrong; he got increasingly distant from his son, Bentley; he had an off-camera fight with her parents (who he was particularly close with, and still lived with well into his late 20s) that escalated so much, his dad opted to kick him out of the house. With each passing episodes, it seemed as if the lovable, goofy Ryan that fans fell in love with on 16 and Pregnant seemed more and more like a distant memory.
Eventually, the show did address Ryan’s issue: He was struggling with substance abuse. Of course, the network didn’t reveal what was truly wrong with Ryan until something major happened; towards the end of TM:OG’s last season, fans watched in horror as the father-of-one got behind the wheel while under the influence, seemingly struggling to stay awake as he put not only his own life in danger, but also posed a swift and very real risk to his wife, Mackenzie, and all other motorists.
In true MTV fashion, the show took the danger as seriously as it possibly could, while still using the footage for drama. Not only did the horrifying scene broadcast along with a warning about how the scene could be disturbing to some, but almost as soon as it hit airwaves, the network released a statement that Ryan was in treatment (for good measure, they also reassured fans that they don’t condone driving under the influence, while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that it was captured by a GoPro — meaning their producers’ hands were clean, despite some people falsely insisting production saw the footage in real time and let cameras roll, rather than intervening).
While Ryan returned to the spotlight after almost a month in rehab, insisting everything is better than ever, fans are still worried the 29-year-old, as they wonder what he was struggling with in the first place. Understandably, no one has addressed what he was on outright — though some fans are already fearing the worst for Ryan.
On last night’s season premiere of Teen Mom OG, his new wife Mackenzie visited him in rehab and she shared details with her producer about Ryan’s drug habits. “He said that he was using three times a day,” the mother-of-one said. “Ten thousand dollars a week.” She previously provided another hint to fans, during the infamous scene when he nearly fell asleep at the wheel, Mackenzie accused her beau of “[taking] Xanax again.” However, fans have suspected that he could be using illegal drugs such as heroin, after fans spotted what they believed to be track marks on Ryan’s arm.
While Ryan is under no obligation to share his story, MTV has long celebrated the Teen Mom franchise as an opportunity to educate viewers. And with so many different sides to addiction seen on the show, we hope that he uses his platform to teach about the many different faces of substance abuse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free and confidential hotline at 1-800-662-HELP.