Mama June’s Journey from ‘Honey Boo Boo’ to ‘Road to Redemption’
For reality TV fans, there have been some wild shows out there, but the mold was broken in 2012 when “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” arrived on the scene as a spinoff from “Toddlers & Tiaras” on TLC. The show featured Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, but it was Alana’s mother, “Mama June” Shannon, who later became a focal point of the show.
She’s gone on to star in several additional reality TV shows, including “Mama June: Road to Redemption,” whose sixth season aired on May 13, 2022, on WeTV. So, where is Mama June now, and why exactly can’t people seem to get enough of her? Read on, and you’ll see why.
Starring in ‘Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo’
The show began with Alana at 6 years old, and the cast included Mama June, Alana’s father Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson and her three sisters — Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon and Anna “Chickadee” Shannon. To put this show in perspective, The A.V. Club called the first episode a “horror story posing as a reality television program.”
Meanwhile, Mama June somehow soared into stardom thanks to this show, but she also was the center of criticism. That’s not surprising since she was raising her children in a not-so-great environment. But what Mama June soon realized was the start of many drawbacks of being a reality TV star.
Her Turbulent Relationships With Men
After splitting up with Mike Thompson (pictured) in 2014, Mama June developed a knack for going out with sex offenders. For instance, her daughters, Jessica and Lauryn, were fathered by Michael Anthony Ford who was later found guilty of trying to exploit oral sex from a minor female online.
Later, Mama June briefly dated Mark McDaniel, who was convicted of abusing Anna, and Lauryn believed McDaniel was her biological father.
In fact, when June’s relationship with McDaniel surfaced, TLC announced the cancellation of the show in 2014. We’re sensing a theme with some of these reality TV shows.
June’s Substance Abuse Issues
It’s been well-documented that Mama June was having problems with drugs. The story first came out in early 2019 when she was arrested on suspicion of possessing crack cocaine. That was only the tip of the iceberg, as Mama June and her then-boyfriend Geno Doak spent nearly $1 million on drugs in just one year. Of note, Doak has a criminal record that includes burglary, theft and drug possession.
In an interview with “Access Hollywood,” Mama June said she would send her dealer $80,000 on just one transaction. Mama June revealed that she used meth off and on until 2015. Two years later, she began to use cocaine.
Finally, she was at a crossroads between getting high or going to rehab. It boiled down to the fact that she was waiting on $15,000 to get her “last high.” However, the payment was late so, instead, she decided to check into rehab.
Dealing With Weight Issues, Too
Mama June’s issues with weight were evident when “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” first aired. The heaviest she weighed was 460 pounds. She finally had enough of her weight issues, and she underwent bariatric surgery to have part of her stomach removed in 2016.
In fact, Mama June wound up losing more than 300 pounds thanks to the surgery and working with a personal trainer. She also underwent cosmetic surgery that cost her $75,000 to improve her appearance. Furthermore, her weight loss issues sparked a new reality show called “Mama June: From Not to Hot.”
With her weight issues combined with drug abuse, she finally admitted that she suffers from addiction, saying “addiction does run in my family.” She has put back on about 70 pounds, but she is focused on being sober, and she is helping people in recovery.
Still Remaining Relevant (Kind Of)
With all of her baggage in tow, Mama June has gone on her own to star in reality TV shows and other productions. As previously mentioned, her weight issues actually paid off with, so far, five seasons of “Mama June: From Not to Hot,” in which her weight went down to 160 pounds at one point.
Her drug issues also became the focal point of another reality TV series called “Mama June: Road to Redemption,” in which she is not only battling her issues and recovery, but she also desperately attempts to redeem herself with her kids.
Further, she's had other appearances on “The Doctors,” in which obesity was the main topic, and “The Masked Singer,” as Mama June and Alana competed as the wild card contestant “Beach Ball.” That performance was special for both mother and daughter, with the latter saying it was an “emotional experience. Mama June added, “I was actually doing something with her for the first time outside of everyday life, our show — a huge project in California — sober.”