Pumpkin sounds off on her mom’s expensive drug habit and how it’s really been for her and Alana since Mama June completed rehab.
Mama June Shannon shocked everyone when she recently revealed she and Geno threw away nearly $1 million in one year on drugs — a statistic even her own daughter, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, was surprised to hear.
“When I hear that price and I hear it from the media outlets where she tells her story … it is very hard to hear that because I didn’t know how bad things had really gotten,” she told TooFab ahead of Friday’s new episode of “Mama June: Road to Redemption,” which finds her and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson deciding whether they want to sit down with June for the first time since completing rehab.
“After I moved Alana out, I really tried to work on ourselves as a family, really tried to help mama and then we kind of stepped back for a little while, so I didn’t see her, I didn’t put the kids around her,” she explained. “When we meet this time on the show, it had be a year since we had physically seen her. So that’s hard to hear. I mean it really is, knowing that — not trying to sound mean and not trying to sound money hungry — but to know that me and Josh were struggling trying to do everything we could to keep a roof over Alana’s and Ella’s head. It’s just like, but you were out here blowing a million dollars and you couldn’t help me?'”
While June was struggling with addiction and went MIA on her family amid a string of arrests with boyfriend Geno Doak, Lauryn became Alana’s guardian. It’s something June has said she’s very appreciative of on numerous occasions, but Lauryn isn’t sure her mother really comprehends just how big an effect her drug use had on their family.
“I don’t think that she still fully understands the problems she left behind for me, because having to take care of Alana, I feel like she’s appreciative of it, but I feel like the way that she says she’s appreciative of it … I want it to be a little more sincere than that,” said Pumpkin. “It’s very tough because somebody who was supposed to be there and supposed to be supportive, it just doesn’t seem that way. I’ve done all these things and I’ve matured as a woman and now I gotta take the consequences and I wasn’t even the addict.”
“It’s not like, okay I just take care of Alana. Like, I have to go through my marriage problems, that caused problems there,” she added. “It basically caused a whole uproar in everybody’s lives, and it’s just like, she sees it, but she doesn’t see it.”
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Last week on their reality show, June reached out to Pumpkin to see if they could start working on their relationship. At the time, it had been about seven months since June and Geno finished rehab and she was hoping her daughters would be ready to give her another chance. Lauryn was hesitant, however, and worried that jumping back into anything would only lead to more heartbreak, especially for Alana.
“She’s gotta prove a lot of things. She has to prove to me that she is truly sober. She has to prove to me that she’s not the person that even she was before the addiction, the one who lied about the little things,” Lauryn told TooFab. “For me too, she’s gonna have to let it take time. For so long we were on her time. We were on Geno’s addiction clock and things like that. Now, I want you guys to be on my time. I feel like it should be at my own pace.”
“We do need our space. We do need our time because her addiction didn’t happen overnight. Her falling into the drug habit didn’t happen overnight or her ruining the family, it didn’t happen overnight,” she continued. “These things take time and that’s just kind of what I need her to see. It’s very frustrating for me when she’s pushy, pushy, pushy, and it’s like, we were pushy, pushy, pushy when we wanted you to go to the first couple of rehabs and you didn’t go.”
Lauryn admitted it was “hard” to watch the last season, which documented June and Geno hitting rock bottom before finally deciding to get help.
“I’m an adult, I’m mature, but that is a rough sight to see, especially with it being your mom. It does not make it any easier, you know?” said Lauryn. “I didn’t want her to be in that place. I wanted her to get clean before then. We had come to the realization, when it got to that point, that we were just going to see her in a body bag. Honestly, that’s how bad it had gotten.”
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Those fears of June dying will be brought up during an upcoming sit-down between her, Lauryn and Alana, in an episode airing next week. Some of their conversation has been teased already in promos for the show and, by all accounts, it looks like it will be a very emotional moment for all three of them.
“Seeing Alana cry in general over the Mama situation is very hard because I don’t want her to feel that pain. I don’t want her to have to beg for her mom or dad’s attention. So, I think it’s good that Mama will be able to hear what we have to say and she has no choice. She can’t run this time. She has to sit down and she has to listen.”
Though the three women will sit down together to start and hash out their issues, it appears Geno is not part of the conversation. Lauryn has been pretty vocal that she doesn’t want June’s other half to be part of their lives, even though their mom has claimed she was the bad influence on him, and not the other way around. For now, Lauryn said she’ll be civil around him, but don’t expect more at this point.
“I feel like he’s always going to be a part of Mama’s life and we’re just gonna have to face that until she is finally able to get rid … like, she got rid of the addiction part, as far as the drugs, but I do feel like Geno is also an addiction of hers,” said Pumpkin. “I’ve always felt like that, even before they were using because my mama just turned into a completely different person. She just went from the highest woman on the pedestal to just, like, dirt. That’s what it felt like, the way he was treating her and things like that, but I’ll fix things or act cool because that is who my mama chooses to be with and I don’t want to cause any problems between me and her. But, in the same respect, he’s just a temporary person and I’m more focused on wanting to fix things with her than him.”
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June and Geno aren’t the only ones trying to get back into Lauryn’s good graces, either. This week’s episode also sees Alana’s father, Sugar Bear, attempt to reconnect with his daughter following a health scare. That relationship is one Pumpkin is even less optimistic about.
“I have to deal with it at the end of the day. When [Alana] goes and they do a scene together, when she comes back home to me, I have to deal with her. I have to deal with the person who always asks me questions like, ‘Why didn’t my daddy want something to do with me years ago? Why now?'” she explained. “Just because you had a health scare doesn’t mean that Alana’s supposed to just run back to you with open arms, if he couldn’t be there at her lowest times.”
“I think the Sugar Bear thing is a lost cause,” she added. “I think that maybe she should just kind of leave it alone, but, obviously, we want to work on the relationship with our mama.”
Lauryn said that she “truly” does hope her mother can stay sober, not only for Alana’s sake, but so she can be a present grandmother to Ella. “I don’t want Ella to see that side of things that me, Alana and Jessica grew up having to see with my mama,” she explained, “Yeah, she did leave us in a dark time, but we’ve always kind of worked through it. It may take some time, but everything’s not perfect.”
At this point, Lauryn believes Alana will be staying with her until she’s an adult — but told TooFab that if the teenager did decide she wanted to go live with her mom again, it’s a conversation she’d be open to having. “I don’t ever want to make her choose, because her and Mama have been very close,” she added, “there would obviously have to be some talking.”
“Mama June: Road to Redemption” airs Fridays on WE tv.
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